Las Vegas native Matthew Manganello
returned to a place that he’s always been smitten with and walked away with his first NCGA title.
A 20-year-old sophomore at Fresno State, Manganello shot a final-round 2-over 73 and held off a number of challengers Tuesday at Poppy Hills to win the annual NCGA Public Links Championship by two strokes over co-runners-up Brett Viboch
, JJ West
and Nick Moore
. In 2019, Manganello saw Poppy Hills for the first time while competing in that year’s St. Mary’s Invitational. Suffice to say, it was love at first sight.
“It feels great to get a win here. I had a lot of fun,” said Manganello, who was followed by his mom, Laurie, and dad, Mark. “I just love this place. It really has a special place in my heart. I love coming over here to play.”
For Manganello, it was his first win since the 2019 Las Vegas High School Regionals. Helping him along was a solid first-round 66 that featured six birdies at nearby Pacific Grove Golf Links.
“At Pacific Grove, I really focused on just keeping the ball in play and tried to knock down as many putts as I could,” said Manganello, who finished with a two-day total of 2-under 139. “At Poppy Hills, I again just tried to make sure to keep it in play. There are some fairways here that you have to hit a good tee shot. Some of the greens, you have to be very careful as well.”
Moore, who entered the day just a shot behind and was looking for his 11th NCGA title, never got going at Hills, carding a second-round 74.Moore had a chance to tie Manganello if he’d chipped in for eagle on the 18th or Manganello made a mess of the hole, but Manganello, who’d earlier slipped with a bogey on the 15th, made par.
Moore early on got a surprise when on the third hole he went to grab an 8-iron out of his bag that wasn’t there.
“I was in the fairway on No.3 and went to get my 8-iron. Turned out, I’d left it on the first hole. It started a string od some funny stuff,” said Moore, who would proceed to card three consecutive bogeys on holes Nos. 3 through 5. “I’m proud I didn’t give up. For a bit, I didn’t know where my ball was going to go.”
West, who plays out of EClub Monterey Bay and placed third after a card-off, got to 141 thanks to a steady 69 that included three birdies. Viboch, who finished second in the card-off, also shot a second-round 69.
As for feeling any heat from his pursuers, including Moore, who just weeks before had won the NCGA Mid-Amateur at Poppy Hills, Manganello never flinched.
“I was just trying to do my own thing,” said Manganello, who began playing competitive golf at the age of 6. “Just stay in my lane.”
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.
View Complete Tournament Information