Brett Thawley sat roughly 30 feet from the pin at the par-3 17th nearing the end of Sunday’s final round of the Amateurgolf.com Pacific Grove City Championship. He conveniently had one of his playing partners just behind his marked ball, giving him a chance to grab a read before attempting his own birdie putt.
“I actually looked away from it,” Thawley admitted. “I did that a few times today where I watched and it messed me up. So I just went with my instincts and completely turned away, believe it or not.”
It worked for the former San Jose State golfer, who drained the long birdie putt and essentially won the tournament on that green beside Crespi Pond. He parred 18 to remain one stroke ahead of the clubhouse leader Jackson Koivun.
Brett Thawley rolling in the decisive putt on #17 (Conner Penfold photo)
Players battled wind during Saturday’s first round and a bit on Sunday, as well. Thawley says his recent play contributed to the success of Sunday’s win.
“I think the wind helped me out,” he said. “I played last week down in Stockton in a Two-Man event and it was blowing out there even at 8:30 in the morning. I kept it under the wind there and I think that helped me out here this week.”
Thawley’s final-round 68 was matched by the runner-up Koivun, as well as one of three third-place finishers Curtis Da Silva. Remarkably, two players went even lower than that in tough conditions as Wyatt McGovern and Cameron Keith both posted 67 on Sunday to jump inside the top ten.
McGovern had it 4-under through 13 and was making a run at the leaders but his 3 at the par-4 13th would be the last birdie he would make on the afternoon. Koivun, like McGovern, birdied 13 and failed to capitalize on any remaining chances.
Special win for Thawley
L-R: Low Mid-Am JJ West, champion Brett Thawley, runner-up Jackson Koivun
Thawley revealed after the round that there was a special familial meaning to Sunday’s win.
“Right off this first hole is a cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried,” Thawley said. “They had a vacation home here and when they passed they wanted to be buried as close to the golf course as possible. So that was kind of neat.”
Higgins birdies final hole to capture Senior Championship
L-R: Casey Boyns, Pete Higgins
Pete Higgins was one of two under-par players on Sunday in the Senior Championship flight, and his 69 backed up an impressive 73 in difficult conditions to culminate in a narrow one-stroke victory over Casey Boyns.
“Yesterday was pretty rugged,” Higgins said. “But today I think I got used to the greens a little bit more and hitting a little harder through the bounce. I made a lot of those little testy 4-8 footers and a couple longer putts that really saved my round.”
Higgins, who recently joined the nearby Monterey Peninsula Country Club, has been experiencing the microclimate that makes golf in this area so challenging.
“You do get some practice hitting the ball low through the wind and trying to control it,” Higgins said of playing MPCC.
Just missing a playoff was Boyns, a Pacific Grove native who hit a spectacular shot from underneath a tree on the 18th to give him a downhill look at birdie to tie Higgins. It would come up just short as Boyns would settle for a runner-up finish and low super senior prize after leading the entire field following a remarkable day-one 69.
Taking third place was Todd Barsotti of Fresno, followed by Chris Miller of Byron in fourth, and a trio of players tying for fifth at 8-over par 148.
In the Net Division, John Borrelli cruised to a seven-shot win on the strength of a 1-under 69 on Saturday when the winds were their strongest. That gave him a six-shot lead, and on Sunday he overcame a slow start to shoot 74. Back-to-back net birdies on 16 and 17 capped the victory.
Tom Silva had the low net final round, a 71, to climb into a second-place tie with Bart Goldie.
- With conditions a lot calmer on Sunday, a number of players made big improvements on their first round scores. While Casey Boyns was the only player to break par in round 1, eight players were in red figures on Sunday.
- 16-year old Ellie Bushnell was among the players posting lower scores in the final round. Playing from the same tees as the men, Bushnell scored 1-over 71 on Sunday, four shots off the low round of the day. The Granite Bay High School sophomore tied the NCGA CIF scoring record of 5-under 67 as a freshman, and last year she and a friend qualified for the USGA Women's Four-Ball but didn't get to play due to the tournament's cancellation. We suspect she will get other chances.
The top three and ties in the championship division all improved their scores and shot under par on Sunday. Wyatt McGovern -- who is also the quarterback of the Serra H.S. football team -- improved his score 8 shots going 75-67 to tie for third. And Cameron Keith of De La Salle H.S. made an even bigger move, going 78-67 to tie for 7th.
In the Senior Division, we had Steve Jones go 81-69 for a 12 shot improvement, putting him into a tie for 10th.
ABOUT THE AGC Pacific Grove City
Individual championship at the wonderful
Links, known to many as "The Poor Man's
Beach." That's because the back nine plays
the Pacific Ocean in an out-and-back links style
layout. If you haven't played this Monterey
Peninsula gem, entering this tournament with a
friend or relative is the perfect way to
it. Field limit 88; Championship, Senior, and
For players aged 16 and over who have a USGA or
equivalent index of less than 5.5
For players age 50 and over (as of the tournament
date) with a handicap index of less than 8.0. Note:
Must be 55 and over for NCGA Senior Points.
For players 16 and over with handicap between 5.5 and 18.0.
MID-AM (subdivision of Championship)
For players age
25-49. Compete alongside the younger players in the
Championship Division, (same tees, same prize
opportunities) and if there are at least six Mid-Ams, a
separate prize and trophy will be awarded.
SUPER SENIORS (subdivision of Senior)
For players age
65+. Compete alongside the younger senior players in
Senior Division, (same tees, same prize
opportunities) and if there are at least six players 65 or
separate prize and trophy will be awarded for low
WOMEN (subdivision of Championship)
Will play in the Championship
Division but from a shorter tee; if there are at least six women in
the field, a separate prize and trophy will be awarded. Net players will
play in the Net Division but from a shorter tee.
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