NCGA Golf

FALL 2017

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The PEAKS of SUMMER 60 FALL 2017 | NCGA.ORG T O U R N A M E N T C E N T R A L July 7–9 | Poppy Hills GC S an Francisco resident Daniel Connolly had a commanding five-shot lead entering the final round, but that didn't prevent him from telling himself otherwise."I convinced myself that I was two back," Connolly said. "The most important thing was not to play defense, and to not second-guess myself." That thinking helped Connelly shoot a final round even-par 71—and become the only player to shoot par or better each day. It was good enough for the 20-year-old Southern Methodist University sophomore to claim his first NCGA title by six shots over runner-up Derek Ackerman. "It's great. I was looking at some of the names on the trophy—Ken Venturi, George Archer, Ernie Pieper, Jr.—it's phenomenal," Connolly said. Connolly's 54-hole total of 5-under 208 set a new championship low since the 2014 renovation of Poppy Hills, one better than Robby Salomon's winning score in 2015. Connolly jumped to a commanding lead in Friday and Saturday's first and second rounds with rounds of 68 and 69, respectively. On Friday, the field stroke average was 80.6. On Saturday, Connolly was 10 shots lower than the average score. "I love Poppy Hills. It suits my game well," Connolly said. "I love how it plays fast and firm." Each of the three days, Connolly was helped along by his father and caddie, Martin, the proprietor of the popular Irish bar and restaurant Johnny Foley's. "I really like having my dad on the bag. We work well together and he knows my game," Connolly said. "But more than that, he knows me as a person." Ackerman, who plays out of Half Moon Bay GC, had a final round 71 to finish at 1-over par 214. Third place went to fellow San Francisco resident Matt Cohn at 215. 37th NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship July 10 –11 | Contra Costa CC K ingsburg resident Brian Starkdelivered in the clutch, while Concord's Yealimi Noh was in cruise control. A junior at Central Valley Christian High in Visalia, Stark fired a final-round 4-under par 68 to hold off runner-up Ryan Grauman of Alamo by two strokes and win his first NCGA title. Stark, who finished with a 54-hole total of 8-under par 208, joined an illustrious list of champions including Johnny Miller (1963), Bobby Clampett (1976) and Matt Bettencourt (1991). His 208 aggregate was the lowest since former Cal standout Michael Weaver in 2009. Having entered the final round holding just a one-shot lead over Grauman, Stark birdied four holes on the opening nine en route to a sizzling 4-under par 32. On the back-nine, he posted a steady even-par 36. Grauman did his best to apply pressure. The Athenian School senior tied Stark with a birdie on the 12th, but Stark wouldn't be denied. He regained a one-stroke edge with a birdie of his own on the 15th. Grauman lost another stroke after a crucial bogey on the par-4 16th. Finishing in a tie for third at 213 were San Ramon's Ashkaan Hakim and Max Holm of Walnut Creek. Fifth place went to San Jose's Sebastian Iqbal, who won the Boys' 14-15 division, at even-par 214. San Jose's Gregory Lee took the title in the Boys' 10-13 division at 152. Noh, meanwhile, claimed her first NCGA title by five strokes, finishing with a 36-hole total of even-par 144. A day after taking a four shot lead with an opening 1-under par 71, Noh started slowly but eventually closed the door with a back-nine 1-under par 35. Co-runners-up Sabrina Iqbal and Quynn Duong of San Jose and Caris Kim of Los Altos all finished at 149. Iqbal, the four-time defending Junior Tour of Northern California Girls' Player of the Year, was aiming to become the first female to win the championship three times. 88th Junior Championship

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