NCGA PLUS

MAR 2019

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What are your memories of your victory at the 1972 NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship? I'd lost in the finals a year before to Doug Nelson. The next year I played well and got him (Nelson), 3 and 2. Then I won the finals 7 and 6 (over Dallan Ragland). After that I win I turned professional and played in the Confidence Pro-Am (now TaylorMade Invitational) at Pebble Beach. A year later I won the NorCal Open and in 1974 I qualified for the Tour. That NCGA win was big. Who's the best Northern California male player ever? Best female? That's a tough one. You'd have to say Johnny Miller, but I think Tony Lema had a major. On the women's side, Mickey Wright went to Stanford and was a great player, but I think it has to be Juli Inkster. Who's your pick for this year's U.S. Open? There's still a lot of time between now and then. You have to wait and see who's hot. I think Justin Thomas could play well at Pebble, but that's just a gut call. What's so special about golf in Northern California? It's long been my opinion that all of the courses in Northern California are great, but they're not. But the great ones we have, they're really great. Our cup runneth over in that regard. We have such great topography. They don't have the coast like we do in Kansas. Who's the best player that never made it big? Eddie Pearce, who grew up with Gary Koch. I remember articles in Golf Digest on him when he was 15. There were stories that he had a money clip and alligator shoes. But it didn't work out. Forrest Fezler was a brilliant player, but injuries took him down. There was also Ray Leach. He was around when Johnny (Miller) was in his hey-days. Johnny used to say, 'I can't beat him.' Q & A: Continued FACES OF THE NCGA AP AP

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