Matt Cohn (NCGA photo)
When Matt Cohn won the NCGA Public Links Championship in 2016, it marked his first NCGA victory. As his good friend and seven-time NCGA champ Nick Moore told him at the time, “Welcome to the club.”
Cohn’s climb up the club ladder has reached another rung.
On Tuesday at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, the 38-year-old San Francisco resident captured his third career NCGA title and second NCGA Public Links Championship crown after knocking off Adam Canepa on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff.
“I’m just trying to catch up with Nick,” quipped Cohn.
On the deciding playoff hole (the par-5 ninth), Cohn reached the green in two from 238 yards out using a hybrid. Canepa’s 218-yard attempt to get on in two, meanwhile, skipped through the green onto the cart path, eventually stopping just on the other side of the Sousa Bridge on hole No.10. Not wanting to take a drop, Canepa hit a beautiful shot off the path onto the fringe beyond the flagstick. But his 30-yard chip shot and birdie try didn’t fall in. Cohn, meanwhile, calmly putted from 35-feet for birdie to seal the deal.
“The last five times I’ve played that hole (No.9) I hit the green using a hybrid,” Cohn said. “The playoff was like the rest of the day. I hit it well. I just didn’t putt well.”
The two, who tied the first two playoff holes (No.10 and No.11) with pars, finished regulation with identical scores of 1-over 143.
Canepa, a 34-year-old caddie at Pebble Beach Golf Links, had shot the low round of the day, a 69 that included a birdie on No.9. Cohn shot a 73 that included a clutch par on the 18th to stay in contention.
“I played good. Leaving putts short in the heart doesn’t get it done,” Canepa said. “I’ve got to learn to get the ball to the cup.”
Coming into the event, Cohn had been in somewhat of a slump. In fact, he called his own game “terrible” until the NCGA Mid-Amateur in June. What did he do to get his game back? Nothing. He just kept playing.
“I knew I was going in the right direction,” Cohn said. “People had asked me, ‘What are you doing differently? What happened was that I just started hitting better shots. It wasn’t a great putting performance. That’s something I still need to work on. But in 20 years I won’t remember that. I’ll remember that I won the tournament.”
Third place went to Drake Mendenhall at 144 following a 73.
ABOUT THE NCGA PubLinks
The NCGA Public Links Championship began in 1966
at Spyglass Hill and is the premier event for the
player. The tournament has always included a
championship flight for players with handicap
indexes of 5.4 or less and
two handicap divisions for players with no handicap
must be bona fide public
who do not hold playing privileges in any course
from which the general public is excluded.
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