Winter 2018

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16 WINTER 2018 | NCGA.ORG S H A G B A G Player of the Year— Jason Anthony F a irfield resident Jason Anthony had one goal in mind after getting his a mateur status back in 2012— win NCGA Player of the Year. I n 2014, he was runner-up to Trevor Clayton. A year later, he finished fourth in the standings. Finally, Anthony can say mission accomplished. The 34-year-old, who competed as a professional on the Mackenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada) from 2008–11, won the 2016–17 title with a total of 2,020 points. Finishing in second place was Southern Methodist University sophomore Daniel Connolly at 1,663. Anthony started the season by claiming his first NCGA title with a win at the 2016 NCGA Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship with partner Randy Haag. Victory in an individual championship proved harder for Anthony to attain. In March, he lost in the quarterfinals of the San Francisco City. A month later, he finished third at the Alameda Commuters. Anthony threatened again at the NCGA Mid-Amateur Championship in June, losing in a playoff to Bobby Bucey. Finally, in August, Anthony broke through with a victory at the NCGA Valley Amateur, coming from three back in the final round to defeat Connolly. Anthony's 134 total was one stroke off the 36-hole championship scoring record, co-held by Clayton (2014) and Steven Chung (2009). "Before that Valley Am win, it was like the Rules and Competitions (team) believed in me more than I believed in myself," Anthony said. A week after the Valley Am, the Fresno State grad grabbed 280 more points by reaching the quarterfinals of the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship. He tacked on 100 points by reaching the Round of 32 at the U.S Mid-Amateur. "I've finally scratched Player of the Year off my list," Anthony said. "It validates a great year for me." Women's Player of the Year— Sabrina Iqbal S a n Jose resident Sabrina Iqbal has already left her mark on the Junior Tour o f Northern California. As of Jan. 1, the 16-year-old Pioneer High s enior had racked up 25 JTNC wins, shattering the previous record (18) held by Casie Cathrea. Now, Iqbal is leaving an impression in the NCGA ranks. She captured her second straight Women's Player of the Year title, finishing the 2016-17 season with 1,600 points. Coming in second place was Redwood City's Lucy Li at 635. "It makes me proud to not only win Player of the Year, but to also know that my name will be the first listed in history," Iqbal said. "Leaving my mark on records and history with the NCGA and JTNC are one of my goals before I leave for college." Headed to Texas Christian University in the fall, Iqbal started the year off by capturing her second straight San Francisco City Women's title. She's the first back-to- back winner since Cathrea. Later in June, Iqbal won her first NCGA women's title with a seven-shot victory at the annual NCGA Women's Amateur. With the win, she joined a group of players who have won both a NCGA title and a California Women's Amateur Championship title (she won the CWAC in 2016 on the hallowed turf of Pebble Beach Golf Links in her debut). A month later, Iqbal continued to rack up points. She qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur (150), finished tied for second at the NCGA Junior (155) and reached the quarterfinals of the California Women's Am (250). Iqbal picked up golf from her father, Shaheen, a PGA teaching professional at Los Lagos GC in San Jose. She also honed her skills as a Santa Teresa Youth on Course member. "My success has driven me to continue and finish this part of my golf career as best I can," Iqbal said. Senior Player of the Year— Randy Haag W i th a record six NCGA Player of the Year titles under his belt, Randy H aag has already set a high standard. Not surprisingly, Haag has again raised t he bar. In just his second full season as a senior (age 55-over), the now 58-year-old longtime Olympic Club member captured the 2016-17 Senior Player of the Year title by tallying 2,266 points in just nine senior starts. Finishing in second place at 1,976 was Jim Knoll, a five-time Senior Player of the Year. Haag is the first player in NCGA history to earn both Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year honors. "I'm proud of that. There's a lot of work and preparation involved, and it doesn't get any easier as you get older," said Haag, who also competed in six non-senior events. "The NCGA has set a format that's made it great for us to compete at different ages." Coming off a runner-up finish in last year's standings, Haag started his season with a win at the NCGA Mid-Amateur Four- Ball (with partner Jason Anthony) and a runner-up finish at the California Senior Amateur. In April, he earned 200 more points by going back-to-back at the NCGA Senior Four-Ball with partner Chip Lutz. Later in the season, Haag added another 725 points via a runner-up finish at the NCGA Senior Championship and a win at the NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play. Overall, in his 15 total starts, Haag finished in the Top 5 a dozen times. While Haag became eligible for senior play in 2014, he still spent the majority of his time competing in "regular" championships, sometimes against players half his age. Nonetheless, he had four Top 10 finishes in eight starts, including a T-6 at the Monterey City Amateur. Haag remains the only NCGA player to ever win three Player of the Year titles in a row.

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