San Francisco City Senior: First round matches complete
Anything can happen in match play.

That old adage was on full display at Harding Park today, as 32 players who qualified for the bracket were whittled down to 16 at the San Francisco City Championship. There were a few blowouts, and a couple of matches that required extra holes. 

But the match of the day was definitely the one that featured Kevin Kobalter -- a Marin County doctor who has been playing in this tournament for decades -- versus George Renz, a realtor from Aromas, on the Monterey Peninsula.

Playing behind a group that fell seriously behind, Kobalter found his patience tried, and his golf game likely suffering from the slow pace. When Renz posted 37 on the front nine, Kobalter was 4-down; when Renz birdied the par-4 13th, the deficit increased to dormie five. At that point, like a football team down two touchdowns inside the two-minute warning, Kobalter had no choice but to execute golf shots. 

He won the tourgh 14th with a bogey, No. 15 with a par, and Collin Morikawa's favorite hole -- No. 16 -- with a birdie. A par on No 17 got Kobalter to where he needed to be on the 18th hole, 1-down with the momentum in his favor. He parred the dogleg left, breathing a sigh of relief towards Lake Merced as the match headed to sudden-death, where another par kept Kobalter's "City Dream" alive.

Jeff Knobel of Pacifica tested medalist and defending champ Randy Haag (Orinda). Knobel fired 36 on the front and took a 2-up lead, but Haag came back with an even par back nine and closed out the match on No. 18, 1-up.

Another match that required extra holes resulted in a 19th hole victory by Bob McCallister over Dan Ellis.

"Oh great," said Ellis while looking at the bracket. "I get to play Haag next. He usually gets me, but he's always nice about it."

Remember that opening line. Anything can happen in match play. The next round takes place Saturday at Harding Park.


Qualifying for match play in the San Francisco City Senior Championship was held today at TPC Harding Park, with 70 players vying for the 32 spots available in match play, which starts tomorrow. 

Defending champion Randy Haag (Orinda)  sent a message to the rest of the field, firing a 2-under 70 to earn medalist honors by a stroke over Larry Salk of Fairfax. Haag, the 13th-ranked player in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings, is taking time away from his busy national schedule to try and win a fourth San Francisco City.

Haag won the Men’s Championship title in 1999 and claimed the Senior Championship in 2016, 2018, and 2023.

You can’t win the tournament during qualifying, but you must get in under the cut line to have a shot. That number fell at 8-over 80, where 8 players were subject to the USGA tie-breaking procedure determining the final two positions in the bracket.

The players that advanced were Bryan Waters and Jeff Knobel.

The players that were “this close” shook their heads and talked about the putt they missed or the shot that got stuck in one of TPC Harding’s nest-like trees (seriously, you would have to be a bird to love them.)

One player, however, could drive home thinking of the bladed 7-iron on No. 13 that line-drove its way into the flagstick for an eagle two. That was John Rotteveel of Dixon, who shot 79 thanks to that hole-out. One of his playing partners described the shot this way.

“He was trying to pick the ball off a very muddy lie and got all ball.”

There are no pictures on the scorecard.

View results for San Francisco City Senior
ABOUT THE San Francisco City Senior


*An NCGA Points Tournament*

Open to the first 84 entries received. Participants must have an index of 9.4 or lower as of the date of entry and must be 55 or older as of the first day of the tournament. Qualifying will consist of one 18- hole stroke play round (Tue Mar 12) after which the Senior Men's Championship Flight will consist of 32 match-play contestants.

In case of ties, a card-off (see SF City Golf Championship Playoff Procedures) will determine the players who will advance to match play. Players’ scores will determine seeding for match play. All rounds will be played at TPC Harding Park Golf Course.

Match play starts Wed Mar 13, with matches scheduled for Sat-Sun Mar 16-17 and the semis and finals on Sat- Sun Mar 23-24.

A schedule of all dates of play can be found on the tournament website sfgolfchampionship.com.

Players needing to withdraw should do so by filling out the form at sfgolfchampionship.com/contact/ . Players withdrawing before the entry deadline of February 19 will receive a refund of their entry fee minus $50. There will be no refunds after the entry deadline.


SF City players get 50% off Strackaline Yardage Books! CLICK HERE for details

The oldest municipal tournament in the USA. Match play event with scratch men's, senior, women's, senior women's and open flight divisions. Past champions include Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward, Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg, George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin. Some of the 'non winners' include Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the 'history' tab for more about this wonderful event.

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