Haag takes early Stocker Cup lead
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See more photos from the Stocker Cup

by Scott Seward, for amateurgolf.com

CARMEL, Calif. (October 27, 2011) - Randy Haag of Burlingame, Calif. has a one-stroke lead after the first round of the 20th annual Stocker Cup at the Preserve GC. The 52- year-old carded six birdies in posting a 4- under 68, but still left the course frustrated after a bogey on the 18th hole.

"We're all looking for the perfect round," Haag said. "But you have to remind yourself that it's a 72-hole tournament. The patience aspect is important here - where to be aggressive and where not to be.

"But the course is in fantastic shape, and winning this would be a wonderful way to end the year."

Indeed, Haag won his sixth overall and third consecutive Northern California Golf Association Player-of-the-Year award and earned low amateur honors for the second straight year at the British Senior Open. Earlier this month, the Olympic Club member won his seventh club championship in a 13- and-12 blowout win. Haag, the '92 and '97 champion of this event, is seeking his first win in the championship at the Preserve, after finishing runner-up five times.

San Jose's Anthony Barrera is one shot behind Haag. The Ranch Club member has tasted success in the past two U.S. Mid- Amateurs, finishing in the quarterfinals and final 16. The 27-year-old is playing in his first Stocker Cup.

Jeff Wilson of Fairfield, a three-time U.S. Amateur medalist, is three back of the leader. The Green Valley member is tied for third place with Jason Pridmore of Ventura.

"These greens are tough," the 48-year-old Wilson said, echoing the feeling of many in the field. "You have to putt defensively. Sometimes you're happy with two putts from eight feet."

Two-time defending champion Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nev. posted an even-par 72, and is four back.

David Nelson of Reno and Doug Pool of Las Vegas are tied for the lead in the Tatum Cup, for "A" golfers aged 55 and older. Nelson and Pool carded even-par 72s. The shots of the day came from Russ Newman of Fargo, ND, who holed out twice from exactly 111 yards (both shots came on par fours) for two eagles in shooting 73 (one of a slew of players posting that mark).

The Preserve's Brad Stroh has the lead in the Elliott Cup, a 54-hole best-ball team competition that pits one of the scratch A- Players with a B-Player competing at 90 percent of his assigned handicap. Stroh and partner Jerry Ledzinski of Monterey carded a net best-ball 61.

The Elliot Trophy is presented after Saturday's third round. The top 16 "A" players and ties along with the top 4 senior players will advance to the final round on Sunday.

Notes: A frost delay, not uncommon for Carmel Valley this time of year, held up the start of play for an hour ... Straight Down and Titleist Fittingworks were on hand, allowing players to get custom fitted and custom-embroidered clothing for the competitors.The 108-player field (54 "A" and 54 "B" players) is the largest in tournament history.

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ABOUT THE Stocker Cup

This event is dedicated to the memory of Peter C. Stocker, a prominent west coast real estate developer and avid amateur golfer who died in a tragic helicopter accident in 1990. The premier mid-amateur tournament on the West Coast, this is a 72 hole stroke play Invitational with an open qualifier for players aged 25 and over with a 3.5 index or lower (number of qualifiers based on player count). A 54 hole team competition, including friends of Peter Stocker, runs concurrently.

-- Players with National golf resumes may request an invitation at: www.stockercup.com.
-- To register for the 5-spot qualifier, visit www.amateurgolf.com/tour.

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