Stocker Cup: Sanders gets comeback victory

CARMEL, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2008) – John Pietro, the head pro at The Preserve Golf Club, warned golfers at the start of the Stocker Cup Invitational that he would be going “hog wild” with pin placements on Sunday, and he didn’t lie.

So it was fitting that as the final field of 20 golfers to make the cut struggled with the course’s lightning-quick greens, the only golfer to break par on the final day was rewarded with the Stocker Cup victory.

Joe Sanders, the winner of the 2007 Trans-Miss Four Ball (with Ryan Mitchell), birdied the final two holes to take a two-stroke victory over amateurgolf.com California Mid-Am winner Chris Marin and two-time U.S. Mid-Am champ Tim Jackson. Sanders, a resident of Incline Village, Nevada, finished at 1-under-par 287 after putting up rounds of 74-70-72-71.

Marin had a four-stroke lead with four holes to play, but ran into trouble on the vicious 15th hole when his approach shot settled above the hole. His birdie try careened past the cup and didn’t stop rolling until it was 25-yards away on the fairway. He ended up making triple bogey without hitting one real poor shot on the hole, giving Sanders the opening he would need.

“I made a good par on 15 with that really tough pin and my buddy who was out spectating told me that someone was 3-under and I was 1-over,” said Sanders. “I told my girlfriend, ‘Let’s birdie the last three and see if someone comes back.’”

Waiting to tee off on 16, he saw the difficulties golfers below him were having on the 15th green and realized that he was still well in the hunt.

Sanders nearly missed a birdie chance on 16, but responded by carding birdie on 17 after sticking his approach shot to within three feet, and on 18 with his longest putt of the day, an 18-footer.

“I didn’t make a putt longer than four feet all day, but it was nice to curl that one in,” said Sanders.

Marin finished in a tie for second with Jackson at 1-over 289, followed by 54-hole leader Steve White at 291.

The chase for the Elliott Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A-Players with a B-Player competing at their assigned handicap from the gold tees, began Saturday with a logjam atop the leaderboard But in the end, it was the team of Brady Exber and John Rodenburg taking a one- stroke victory.

Rodenburg noted that he made “a mile of putts” while Exber didn’t miss a single fairway all day as the pair finished at 22-under 194 (68-63-63).

Exber, a Nevada amateur stalwart who finished tied for 8th at 295, was comparing his B-Player partner to Ben Crenshaw by the end of the day because of his skill with the flatstick.

***** amateurgolf.com reporter's notes *****

- Steve White, who played his collegiate golf at Clemson, also got his round off to a hot start on Friday, acing the 189-yard second hole with a 7-iron. It was his fourth career hole-in-one.

- The blooper of the day came when Sanders bent down on the 11th hole to assess his lie, only to rip his pants. "My girlfriend an I were laughing so hard I didn't think I could make the two-footer," he said. "But I made it, maybe that helped lighten things up."

- The character of the tournament was B-Player Kitt Flood. The Irishman seemed to try to outdo himself each day with his outfits, which included a combover wig, mullet wig and bright pink shirt, purple pants combo on Saturday. Kitt's brother Ronan caddies for Padraig Harrington.

- Ryan Mitchell had the low round of the tournament, carding a 66 on Day 2 (one stroke off the course record.) "I made everything looked at today," he said after the round. "That was the first time I've had no bogeys and no fives."

- We're not exaggerating the speed of the greens, which was mentioned by every golfer we talked to throughout the week. On Sunday, one golfer faced an 18- footer that he failed to get over a ridge bisecting the green, only to see the putt roll back to him, then past him and 15 feet onto the fairway. "First time I've putted a ball that ended up behind me," he remarked.

- There were golfers from 17 states represented in the A-Player field, going as far west as Pennsylvania (Chip Lutz).

- Mary Craig got a nice ovation at the tournament dinner for her behind-the- scenes work bringing the tournament together.

The Stocker Cup, played in memory of Peter Stocker, is held each October at The Preserve Golf Club in Carmel. The field is comprised of 52 world-class mid-amateur invitees, who meet stringent eligibility requirements, and pay a minimal fee for their participation. Offering both NCGA and national Golfweek and amateurgolf.com - Bridgestone Player Rankings points, the Stocker Cup also holds a one-day qualifying tournament for regional players who were not among the original invites. On October 2, eighteen competitors with a handicap index of 2.4 or lower vied for the final two A-list spots in the main tournament. Hank McCusker and Stephen Molinelli joined the field after carding 68 and 71, respectively, at Harding Park in San Francisco.

Those final A-list golfers are complimented by a matching number of qualified B-list competitors, with invitations extended to friends, relatives and associates of the late Peter Stocker, as well as to various sponsors and other supporters of the event. Every A- player is teamed with a B-player in a handicapped best-ball competition held simultaneously with the individual stroke- championship.

Final results from the Stocker Cup Invitational Golf Tournament, held at The Preserve Golf Club in Carmel, CA (6,974 yards, par 72). The final round (top 20 A players only) was played on Sunday, October 19th.

Pos. Name Hometown Rd.1 Rd.2 Rd.3 Rd.4 Tot.
1 Joe Sanders Montreux Country Club 74 70 72 71 287
T2 Chris Marin Del Monte Golf Club 74 70 72 73 289
T2 Tim Jackson Ridgeway Country Club 71 69 77 72 289
4 Steve White Teton Pines Country Club 73 69 70 79 291
5 Jon Lindstrom Legacy Ridge Golf Club 77 72 72 72 292
T6 Brad Wilder Triple Crown Country Club 73 71 70 80 294
T6 Jon Mathias La Cantera Golf Club 76 72 70 76 294
T8 Brady Exber TPC Summerlin 75 72 74 74 295
T8 Ron Ewing Merced Country Club 74 75 73 73 295
10 John Pate The Valley Club 76 72 76 73 297
T11 Robert Funk Canyon Lake Country Club 78 70 71 78 298
T11 TJ Brudzinski Worthington Hills Country Club 73 74 77 74 298
T13 Chris Carlson Highlands Ranch Golf Club 76 72 75 76 299
T13 Jason Pridmore Spanish Hills Country Club 81 72 72 76 299
15 Billy Mitchell River Pines Golf Club 70 74 76 82 302
16 Ryan Mitchell Montreux Golf & Country Club 79 66 76 82 303
17 Garrett Larson UC Golf Club 77 72 76 80 305
T18 Randy Haag Olympic Club 80 72 73 81 306
T18 Mark Mance The Preserve Golf Club 74 75 76 81 306
20 Billy Williamson Coldstream Country Club 76 75 73 84 308

Missed Cut
Pos Name Club Rd.1 Rd.2 Rd.3 Tot.
T21 Jim Lehman Windsong Farm Golf Club 71 77 78 226
T21 Dan Sullivan Brookside Golf Club 80 69 77 226
T23 Ed Cuff, Jr. The Farms Golf Club 78 78 71 227
T23 Bob Burton Estancia Club 73 77 77 227
T23 Stephen Nichols Walnut Hills Country Club 75 82 70 227
T26 Alex Stamey III Everett Golf and Country Club 77 71 80 228
T26 Tom Brandes Rainier Country Club 79 74 75 228
T26 Mike Kelley New Albany Country Club 73 79 76 228
29 Jerry Ledzinski Tehama Golf Club 79 77 73 229
T30 Chip Lutz Ledgerock Golf Club 78 74 78 230
T30 Michael Karlberg Old Greenwood Golf Club 76 75 79 230
32 Kent Wiese Brookside Golf Club 78 80 73 231
T33 David Nelson Montreux Golf and Country Club 75 81 76 232
T33 Mike Rowley San Luis Obispo Country Club 75 75 82 232
35 Keith Kinsel Los Angeles Country Club 78 78 77 233
T36 Andrew Gabelman Barrington Hills Country Club 82 71 83 236
T36 Tripp Davis Belmar Golf Club 77 79 80 236
T36 Brad Penfold Valley Hi Country Club 78 80 78 236
T36 Stephen Molinelli The Olympic Club 81 78 77 236
T40 Hank McCusker Little River Inn Golf Club 78 78 81 237
T40 Brock Palmer Trump National Golf Club 86 78 73 237
42 Todd Barsotti San Joaquin Country Club 79 77 83 239
43 Kevin Kobalter Meadow Club 79 81 80 240
44 Phillip Huff, IV The Olympic Club 78 82 81 241
45 Joe Hillman Wolf Run Golf Club 73 86 84 243
46 Garth Watrous Seascape Golf Club 85 86 77 248

ABOUT THE Stocker Cup

The Stocker Cup was founded in 1991 to honor the memory of Peter Stocker. Peter and his partners Bill Harlan and John Montgomery founded San Francisco's Pacific Union Company, a highly successful real estate development company. The firm initiated the development of The Santa Lucia Preserve, a 20,000 acre residential and golf community located above Carmel. Meandering through the winding road to The 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 and its surrounding golf courses, before moving to the Tom Fazio and Sandy Tatum designed Preserve G.C. In the words of former USGA President Tatum: "Peter Stocker was the quintessential amateur golfer. He loved golf with a passion. He would have loved this tournament."

54-hole individual competition with a simultaneous best-ball event, similar to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Invited Mid- Amateur players are either paired with a single digit amateur or can propose their own partner to be introduced and invited by the Committee. 

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