Joe Deraney drives off the gorgeous 18th tee at The Preserve
Facing the toughest field in recent tournament history, Joe Deraney posted 6-under 66 on Saturday to overtake first and second round leader Tug Maude, and claim his second Stocker Cup title.
Deraney, of Tupelo, Miss. was a man on a mission today, after his first two rounds of tournament play yielded many birdie putts inside of 10-feet, but not nearly as many birdies as the back-to-back Canadian Mid-Amateur champion was hoping for.
"I dropped a couple nice putts on the par threes on the front nine and wound up shooting 32," said the easy-going Mississippi State alum, whose shoes have 'Hail State' embroidered into the leather. "Then I birdied 12, and eagled 13 and it was game-on."
Playing behind Deraney, first and second round leader Tug Maude was giving up no ground through those same thirteen holes. Maude, the 2019 Travis Invitational champion, was encouraged by tournament committee member John Sawin to add the Stocker Cup to his schedule, and he was taking advantage of the course, and enjoying the camaraderie with partner Rich Tuohey.
At 11-under and still in the solo lead, Maude took bogeys on the par-3 14th and most difficult hole on the course, No. 15.
That hole may have been the turning point, as Deraney flighted his second shot, a tight draw, to tap-in distance to get to 7-under on the round and 11-under on the tournament -- in command and picking his spots carefully. After finishing par-par-bogey the course record dream was gone, but winning the tournament, or at least getting into a playoff was still in sight.
When Maude's attempt to turn on the heat on the reachable par-5 17th backfired into a double bogey, the title was all but Deraney's -- and he wound up winning by four shots at 10-under.
Deraney may not have been able to match David Nelson's competitive Preserve record of 65 (posted October 15, of 2004 in the second round of that year's Stocker Cup) but Philip Lee of Tennessee was able to do it -- testimony to the "best-ever" conditions universally reported by players.
Lee, partnering with another ranked Mid-Amateur golfer Dan Crockett, had two runs of three-straight birdies -- Nos. 2 through 4 and 15 through 18 -- en route to his blemish free card, and place in tournament history.
Rounding out the top-five, there was a tie for 4th at 5-under par between San Antonio golfer Colby Harwell (final round 71) and first time Stocker Cup player Scott Anderson of Columbus, Ohio (final round 73). Harwell, nursing a sore back all week and barely able to get the ball airborne in the first round, should be commended for his "hang in there" attitude. And look for Anderson to come back strong next year -- it's tough to figure out The Preserve on the first time around and he did a good job of it with rounds of 70-68-73.
Philip Lee and Dan Crockett of Nashville won the team gross title at 20-under-par, while Jack and Jason Anthony took home the traditional Stocker Cup for low net honors at 22-under after winning a card-off with Tug Maude and Rich Tuohey, and Colby Harwell and Phillip Pearson.
Bryan Hoops and Billy Mitchell
Longtime Stocker Cup participant Billy Mitchell of Atlanta fired a final round 69 to share the Tatum Cup title with Bryan Hoops of Chandler, AZ. Hoops, another consistent performer with double-digit Stocker Cup appearances, shot 71 to tie Mitchell at 1-over for the tournament, overall 10th place. The Tatum Cup, named for former USGA president and friend of Peter Stocker Sandy Tatum, is awarded to the low player aged 50 and over.
Defending champion John Sawin couldn’t improve on his first round 71, but in today’s final round he added a scorecard to his trophy collection (and some skins money to his and partner Andy Gross’ wallets) with an ace on the 2nd hole.
There were three father/son teams in the field this week – Wayne and Derek Meinhart (Illinois); Jack and Jason Anthony, and Kelly and Kyle Hudelson (Oklahoma). The Anthonys, of California, won the traditional Stocker Cup for being the low net team to take home the bragging rights among the three groups.
And speaking of father/son teams, Kelly and Kyle Hudelson experienced one of the strangest things in Stocker Cup history. Coming home from Carmel to their host lodging at The Preserve late Thursday night, their Uber driver realized he was low on gas and refused to take them any further up the long winding private road to The Preserve. That left the Hudelsons with a two hour walk in the pitch black of night on one of the scariest roads you could ever walk at 2:00am. After surviving the harrowing experience and getting just a few hours of sleep, the younger Hudelson fired a 5-under 31 on the front nine before running out of gas himself on the back. He finished T20 on the week, and will go home to Oklahoma having one of the most interesting tournament stories – ever.
ABOUT THE Stocker Cup
The Stocker Cup was founded in 1991 to honor
memory of Peter Stocker. Peter and his
Harlan and John Montgomery founded San
Pacific Union Company, a highly successful real
development company. The firm initiated the
development of The Santa Lucia Preserve, a
acre residential and golf community located
Carmel. Meandering through the winding road
Preserve's centerpiece -- the top-100 rated golf
course -- has been described as "driving
through a California postcard." The Stocker Cup
was played from 1991 to 1999 at Pebble Beach
surrounding golf courses, before moving to the
Fazio and Sandy Tatum designed Preserve G.C.
words of former USGA President Tatum: "Peter
Stocker was the quintessential amateur golfer.
loved golf with a passion. He would have loved
simultaneous best-ball event, similar to the
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Invited Mid-
players are either paired with a single digit
can propose their own partner to be introduced
invited by the Committee.
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