NCGA Golf

Winter 2019

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John Daly have been regular participants. This year's field included the likes of former U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson, Loren Roberts, Jason Gore, Ed Loar, Steve Pate, Kevin Stadler, Tom Hoge, Brandon Harkins and Conrad Shindler. Former U.S. Mid- Amateur champ Stewart Hagestad and Tim Mickelson, fresh off caddying for his brother in "The Match," enjoyed the festivities, too. "This is one of my favorite tournaments of the year," Gore said. "It has the feeling of a reunion." That's why PGA Professionals like Darrell Kestner make the cross-country trip from Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, New York every year, and CBS's Gary McCord flies in with buddies from Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, and serves as the master of ceremonies. Ed Loar, who played with his brother, Nick, recalled winning the title in 2002 with "Woody." That would be Don Woodward, a local businessman and long-time member at San Luis Obispo, who passed away in February 2010 at the age of 46 after a 17-month battle with ALS. The pro-am, known as The Woody, is a chance to honor his life and raise money in furthering the search for a cure for the disease. "The Straight Down guys are pillars of the com- munity and they've really turned this annual get together into a community affair," said Harkins, who played with Tony Verna of The Olympic Club. The two-day competition is free to attend and there's always enough "big names" to bring out thousands of spectators, who are allowed to walk inside the ropes and fall in behind the leaders as they approach the 18th green. It's all part of what makes it a low-key affair and gives it that throwback feel. "Year after year, this is one of the best events for PGA professionals," said Scott Heyn, the general manager of The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, who won for the third time in five attempts since 2012 with his amateur partner, Corby Segal. "I really enjoy how Straight Down brings together some of its PGA Tour staff with PGA professional partners. It's so unique and it makes for a great atmosphere. I look forward to it each year." NCGA.ORG | WINTER 2019 61 3 6 7 5 4

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