NCGA Golf

Spring 2019

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20 SPRING 2019 | NCGA.ORG S H A G B A G It's 'Lefty' Again Phil Mickelson is now a part of Pebble Beach Golf Links royalty. In early February, Mickelson shot a final round 7-under 65 to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, tying Mark 'The Prince of Pebble Beach' O'Meara's record of five titles at the event. Due to a heavy dose of 'Crosby Weather', which included hail, the tournament finished Monday morning, with Mickelson and runner- up Paul Casey completing their final rounds. "This (Pebble Beach) really is a special place for me," said Mickelson, who at age 48 also became the oldest winner of the AT&T. "It's been a lot of work, but days like this make it worthwhile." Mickelson played his last 26 holes at bogey-free in a collective 10-under par. The victory left even Tiger Woods raising his eyebrows. "He's making it look easy," said Woods, now a spry 43-year-old himself. "It's impres- sive to see because it's not easy to do." It all could bode well when 'Lefty' returns to Pebble Beach in June for the U.S. Open, and would prove to be quite a bookend. Pebble Beach is where Mickelson began his pro career (1992 U.S. Open) and where he will turn 49 should he make it to the final round. AP Right at Home C hico native Kurt Kitayama hasn't wasted any time making himself comfortable on the PGA European Tour. The 26-year-old former UNLV standout and NCGA competitor won the Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf on March 3 after carding a final-round 70 for a seven-under-par total of 281 to win by one over four players. It was Kitayama's second European Tour victory in just his 10th start since getting his card at last year's Qualifying School. "This one feels really good," said Kitayama, who won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in his third tour start. "When I won the first one I was playing really well and it just felt like it was coming. This week I came in off three missed cuts and not having good weekends in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It feels great to grind through all of that." It appeared Kitayama would again struggle on the weekend, especially after opening his third round with a quadruple-bogey eight. After a delay postponed the third round until Sunday, he returned to play the remaining 15 holes of his third round in 7 under. His hot play then rolled straight into the final round. "My comeback this morning helped set up this final round," Kitayama said. "I was back in contention and with it being continuous rounds it helped me cruise into the next one." Mulligan A photo in the Winter 2019 issue article "Passing the Time in Santa Cruz" (page 38) should have been credited to "Julian P. Graham/Loon Hill Studios." We regret the error. Palo Alto native Martin Trainer is a PGA Tour champion. T he 27-year-old former USC standout won the Puerto Rico Open (Feb. 21-24), finishing with a 5-under 67 at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club for a three-shot win over four players. "It's obviously incredible," said Trainer, who birdied four of his last 10 holes to come in at 15-under 273. "I never thought that I would be able to win on the PGA Tour. I managed to do it." A member of the Space Systems Loral Golf Club when he was a freshman at Gunn High in Palo Alto, Trainer earned his PGA Tour card after winning twice on the Web.com Tour in 2018 to finish fourth on the money list. He's now got a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and an exemption into the PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park in New York. It's been quite a journey for Trainer. Born in Paris to a French mother and American father, Trainer just a few years ago wasn't even sure of his future after pinballing around the mini-tours. He's received some huge assistance along the way from members of the California Golf Club in San Francisco (aka Cal Club). Trainer is a Venturi Member at the club, which allows him to play and practice there for a nominal fee. The club's Venturi Member program was initiated in 2011 as a means of supporting aspiring tour pros. The program's roots go back to NCGA Hall of Famer and San Francisco native Ken Venturi, who began playing and practicing at Cal Club in the 1950's after forging a relationship with amateur golf supporter/club member Eddie Lowery. AP NEVER Say Never AP

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