- NCGA photo
Jason Melvin had admittedly been in a bit of a slump. Any bad mojo from that is now gone.
Melvin, who plays out of Bayonet/Black Horse GC, captured his first NCGA title, posting a final round 3-under 69 Tuesday at par-72 Oakdale Golf and Country Club to win the annual Valley Amateur Championship by three shots over a group of four players.
The 47-year-old Melvin, who was the only player to break 70, posted four birdies to go against just one bogey in the finale. He’d entered the day a stroke behind first round leader Jason Anthony.
“I fell into it,” said Melvin, who finished at 4-under 140. “I haven’t been playing particularly well lately, so I’m very excited.”
Melvin had played in NCGA events for years. He’d just never been able to get an elusive win.
“I’ve got a lot of the bag tags to prove that I’ve played a long time. So yeah, I’m excited,” Melvin said.
Finishing in a tie for second at 143 was the quartet of Grant Johnson, JJ West, Drake Mendenhall and Ryan Meyer. The four also were looking for their first NCGA victory.
Anthony, who opened with a 70, slid back into a T-10 finish after posting a 76. Despite the loss, Anthony increased his lead in the NCGA Player of the Year standings. The 2017 NCGA Player of the Year, Anthony moved to 1,556 points. Matt Cohn, who finished T-17, was in second at 1,101.
Serrano CC member Mark Morgan has joined Gary Vanier on top of the Senior Valley Am mountain.
Morgan, 59, shot a final round 4-under 68 to break away from the field and win the title by two shots over runner-up Randy Haag. The victory was Morgan’s record-tying third Senior Valley Am crown and he becomes only the second player to go back-to-back. Gary Vanier, who had been the lone three-time winner, went back-to-back in 2006-’07 and also won in 2013.
“I’ve been on a roll lately,” said Morgan, who finished with a two-day total of 5-under 139. “I made some putts.”
Having entered the final round tied with Haag, Morgan, who also won in 2018 and 2016, was solid when it counted the most. He’d open with three straight birdies en route to a front-nine 35 and followed that up with a bogey-free, three birdie 33 on the back.
Haag, whose lengthy NCGA resume is lacking a Valley Am title, birdied the 17th to tie Morgan but closed with a bogey on the 18th while Morgan made birdie.
The second place finish did push Haag into first place in the NCGA Senior Player of the Year standings at 1,254 points. Morgan jumped to second place, 151 points behind Haag.
Scott Anderson and Tony Padilla finished T-3 at 149 after final rounds of 75 and 74, respectively.
ABOUT THE NCGA Valley Amateur
Played for the first time in 2004 as a replacement
the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valley
championships, the NCGA Valley Amateur has
become a staple in the tournament season. The 36-
stroke play event is played at a venue in the San
Joaquin or Sacramento valley each year and
a top-level championship opportunity. Open to
players with a handicap index of 5.4 or less, and
with a 7.4 handicap index or less.
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