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Capel Wins California Mid Amateur

by Pete Wlodkowski, for amateurgolf.com

Stevinson, California (April 3, 2005) -- In the big professional golf tournaments, it’s almost impossible to be in contention and not be aware of what’s going on in the groups around you – even when you want to stay oblivious.

At the Masters, there are the famous roars at amen corner, like the one that Seve Ballesteros heard from Jack Nicklaus’ gallery ahead before dumping a four-iron into the water on No. 15 back in 1986. At other PGA Tour events, there are leader boards everywhere and word travels fast amongst the gallery. While most players seem to want to know their status, many work hard to stay calmly unaware and often credit their strategy with helping them win the event.

So it was interesting to observe Dave Capel on Sunday at the amateurgolf.com California Mid Amateur at Stevinson Ranch. As the low man in the final group on the last hole, he briefly eyed spectators and fellow competitors before approaching a delicate short-side pitch to the slick green.

”You don’t want to know, do you?” Rhetorically asked fellow competitor Mike Vera.

”Nope.” Calmly answered Capel, 39.

Up to that point, Capel had played steady golf, after opening with a 72 on Saturday, one stroke off the pace set by Jerry Ledzinski of Carmel, who fired 71. He avoided a near-disaster at No. 9, where a four iron approach he described as “a quick diver” buried itself into the lip of the cross bunker 20 yards in front of the narrow green.

”I had no idea where I was going to hit it, but I figured I could at least get it out,” explained Capel. “The ball then landed 10 feet left of the pin, and spun straight right to tap-in distance – it was the shot of my life.”

The unlikely par save helped Capel to an even-par front nine, and the ‘leader board-free’ environment of amateur golf kept him unaware that he was losing ground to a red-hot Rob Adolph, of Fresno’s San Joaquin Country Club – playing a group in front of him with Randy Haag, John Driver, and Gary Young.

Adolph’s charge started with a birdie at No. 9. He made par on No. 10, then eagled the par-5 11th and birdied the par-3 12th to get to 4-under on the day and 3-under for the tournament. A standout athlete at USC, playing Baseball and Football, Adolph knows how to conduct himself under pressure. But a lost drive to the right of the treacherous 17th took Adolph back to even par on the day, and his birdie try at the par-5 18th narrowly missed the cup. Young also found red numbers for the tournament on the back nine, but a double bogey on the 15th cost the defending champ dearly.

Stevinson Ranch’s stretch of holes from Nos. 15 to 18 make even multi-shot leads no guarantee in medal play events such as this one, which makes Capel’s finish even stronger.

On the par-3 16th, where Ocean Honda was sponsoring a hole-in-one competition, Capel wanted no part of the tucked right pin, just a bad bounce away from the hazard. He threaded a four-iron to the front of the green, then hit the back of the cup with a 20-footer that was moving at Arnold Palmer speed. On No. 17, Capel smartly avoided the water with his tee shot, missed the green right and made a solid 5-footer for par.

That set up the scenario at 18, where the blissfully unaware Capel crisply ran his pitch towards the hole, and gave it a good chance to go in. The come-backer (5 feet) was no cinch, and Capel drained it like a tour player for the victory.

TRUE WINS HIS FIRST NET TITLE
8-handicapper Jeff True is also a Senior, so he has to decide which division to play in before entering each event, Senior Scratch or Net. He made the right choice this week, and played some of his best golf ever on Saturday with an even par gross round of 72.

”The swing felt great, nothing like Shadow Lakes in March when I was trying to swing through a muscle-pull,” said True, who called the event his first tournament victory.

On Sunday, True did a great job handling the role of front-runner, as he extended his margin of victory to a whopping 12 strokes – an amateurgolf.com record.

YAVORSKY ENJOYING HIS SENIOR MOMENTS
Steve Yavorsky of Capistrano Beach has made the most of turning 55, which he did last summer. Yavorsky not only qualified for the US Senior Open in 2004 (minimum age in that one is 50) he later made it all the way to the round-of-16 in the US Senior Amateur (minimum age 55) at Los Angeles’ Bel Air Country Club. And that’s not to mention three straight Los Angeles City Senior titles.

Yavorsky made his trip from Southern California worthwhile this weekend, and he had to best a tough field of Northern California ‘regulars’ (including the always tough George Kelley of Stevinson Ranch, who just turned 55) to do it.

Kelley had opened with a 71, which gave him a 1 stroke lead over Yavorsky and 2 stroke lead over Carl Selkirk of Chico heading into the final round. But a balky putter on Sunday cost Kelley 6 three-putts and crucial strokes against the steady Yavorsky, who Kelley called a “great player” after the round. Yavorsky finished with a 73 for a total of 1-over-par 145 for the victory, while Kelley (76) and Selkirk (74) tied for second at 147.

TOURNAMENT NOTES:

- Karen Capel, Dave’s wife, and two children watched the final hole, tan from a recent trip to Jamaica. That trip was cut a day short so Capel could play in this important tournament at his home club. “What can I say, this meant a lot to me,” quipped Capel.

- Rob Adolph, who tied for 2nd in the overall competition, was low in the Master’s Division with his total of 145 edging Randy Haag of The Olympic Club. Haag started bogey-bogey on Sunday, then made an ace on the lets-get-the-water-carry-overwith par-3 4th where most players are hoping to escape with a par… it wasn't the Ocean Honda-sponsored 'Win a Honda Ridgeline' hole (Ken Helwig came within inches of acing that one by the way!) but Haag will still get a TaylorMade R7 Driver for his effort.

- Bob Olds eagled the toughest hole on the course on Saturday in the first round, knocking a Callaway 7-wood into the cup for a deuce.

- Special thanks to George Kelley and the entire staff at Stevinson Ranch for hosting us again this year and making everyone happy from the fine course conditions to the great food and hospitality all around.

- Our next tournament is at Bandon Dunes April 16-20 (hey, we could use one more team for an even 64 players…) and then it’s the Monterey Bay Championship at the end of May. Visit the Tour site at www.amateurgolf.com/tour to register now.


- Capel scored a special exemption to the Stocker Cup for his victory, but all other players with a 2.4 handicap or less can enter the open qualifier on September 19th at Harding Park, right before the Amex World Golf Championship event. We'll soon start accepting registrations. The top 5 players received exemptions into the Trans Miss Amateur, being played July 18-23 at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kansas. Thanks to George Kelley and Stocker Cup Committee, as well as the Trans Miss Golf Association, for providing these wonderfuly 'fringe benefits' to the top players.

-------------

Final Results from the California Mid Amateur, played at the 7060 yard, par-72 Stevinson Ranch Golf Club:

Mid Amateur Division (age 25-39)
Rank Player Name
Rd 1
Rd 2
Total
1 Capel, David
72
72
144
2 Young, Gary
73
72
145
3 Vera, Michael
73
75
148
4 Johnson, Will
79
71
150
5 Furth, Ben
80
72
152
6 Ledzinski, Jerry
71
85
156
7 Martinez, Ted
82
76
158
7 Hamilton, Bryce
81
77
158
7 Coffey, Jeff
78
80
158
10 Hall, Howard
83
76
159
11 Renaud, Martin
80
81
161
11 Overton, Andrew
76
85
161
13 De Bellis, Dominic
85
77
162
13 Couch, Matt
77
85
162
15 Thorson, Eric
86
77
163
15 Tobin, Michael
82
81
163
17 Thielke, David
81
85
166
18 Connelly, Scott
80
90
170
18 Barstow, Sean
89
81
170
20 Brekhus, William
89
84
173
21 Flores, Armando
95
82
177
22 Ffrench, Marc
94
101
195
23 Ball, Charles
82
WD
WD
Master Division (age 40-54)
Rank Player Name
Rd 1
Rd 2
Total
1 Adolph, Rob
73
72
145
2 Haag, Randy
73
74
147
3 Donovan, Darryl
77
71
148
3 Taylor, Zack
72
76
148
5 Wilson, Steve
81
70
151
6 Foreman, Terry
77
75
152
7 Dunn, Philip
80
73
153
7 Driver, John
74
79
153
9 Miller, Mark
82
73
155
9 Hamm, John
82
73
155
9 McBroom, Tony
79
76
155
9 Justus, John
76
79
155
13 Nilmeier, Conrad
79
79
158
14 Matias, Robert
79
80
159
15 Helwig, Ken
85
75
160
15 West, Corey
79
81
160
17 O'Malley, Greg
79
83
162
17 Zanassi, Joe
78
84
162
17 Rathjen, Dave
77
85
162
20 Iulio, Iose
83
80
163
21 Duffy, Neil
87
77
164
21 Flood, Michael
82
82
164
23 Pence, Steve
86
79
165
23 McCusker, Hank
84
81
165
25 Wlodkowski, Pete
87
80
167
26 Lang, Scott
92
76
168
27 Garcia, Ramiro
86
84
170
28 Godsey, Dirk
87
84
171
28 Cayton, Bob
82
89
171
30 Miskin, Don
88
87
175
30 Donnelly, Steve
85
90
175
32 Davis, Mike
89
95
184
33 Newcomer, Joseph
NS
NS
NS
33 Maniery, Gary
96
WD
WD
33 Bass, Wayne
88
WD
WD
33 Green, Phillip
80
NC
NC
33 Burda, Jeff
76
WD
WD
33 Pircher, Steve
WD
WD
WD
33 Dachtler, Dennis
77
WD
WD
33 Maguire, Mike
87
WD
WD
33 Carter, Don
82
WD
WD
Senior Division (age 55 and over)
Rank Player Name
Rd 1
Rd 2
Total
1 Yavorsky, Steve
72
73
145
2 Selkirk, Carl
73
74
147
2 Kelley, George
71
76
147
4 Stewart, Earl
76
75
151
5 Olds, Bob
76
76
152
6 Washburn, Shelton
79
75
154
6 Ackerman, Terry
78
76
154
8 Shellenberg, Vic
79
76
155
9 Spellman, Mike
78
78
156
9 Parsons, Dave
78
78
156
11 Thompson, Rob
74
83
157
12 Baker, Doug
80
78
158
12 Carroll, Dave
77
81
158
14 Dusenbury, Doug
82
78
160
14 Butler, Mike
80
80
160
16 Saiki, Greg
87
76
163
17 Futch, Gregory
77
88
165
18 Welsh, Jim
81
89
170
19 Perez, Raul
90
81
171
19 Roark, Mike
85
86
171
19 Rauber, Patrick
87
84
171
22 Ackerman, Bob
89
83
172
23 Herndon, Steve
87
87
174
24 Wikse, Bob
100
79
179
25 Knapp, Art
100
93
193
26 Thomas, Ronald
103
92
195
NET Division (all ages, Net scores shown)
Rank Player Name
Rd 1
Rd 2
Total
1 True, Jeffrey
64
72
136
2 Knapp, Todd
76
72
148
3 Gunn, Mason
71
78
149
4 Traweek, Jeff
77
74
151
5 Byers, Chuck
78
76
154
6 Balisha, Charles
79
76
155
6 Kline, James
79
76
155
6 Rush, Noel
76
79
155
9 Richardson, Al
79
83
162
10 Murphy, Gary
81
84
165
11 Jordan, Don
75
92
167
12 Holt, Brian
83
85
168
13 Hanback, Larry
91
80
171
14 Kneisley, Frank
81
NS
NS


ABOUT THE amateurgolf.com 2005 California Mid Amateur + Master & Senior

-- 100 POINT NCGA EVENT, AND CHAMPION GETS EXEMPTION INTO 2005 STOCKER CUP IN CARMEL, CA ...PLUS, THE TOP FIVE ARE EXEMPT INTO THE 2005 TRANS MISS AMATEUR AT PRAIRIE DUNES IN KANSAS, A TOP 100 COURSE WITH A LONG HISTORY. The event: A 36-hole stroke play championship with three divisions. Players aged 25-39 play in the Mid-Amateur Division, Players aged 40 to 54 play in the Master Division (they may still compete for NCGA points and the overall mid-Amateur Championship with the 25+ year olds) Players age 55 and over may compete in the Senior Division. (not eligible for other competitions, as a different set of tees will be utilized) NCGA Points and Senior Points Event- part of the amateurgolf.com Tournament Series.

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