That’s right, Tyler Crawford’s clubs never made to the course, so he played his Wednesday practice round with a rental set. But after struggling to adjust to the stiff shafts, when he usually plays with “X100s” meant he was open to ideas at the end of the day. One of the players suggested he rifle through the closet of some of the local tournament entrants.
But another had a better idea. A local player named Jeff Britton, who in addition to being a Stocker Cup past player and Northern Cal senior amateur standout has his own home club fitting studio. He’s even got a launch monitor.
Crawford made the connection through mutual friend Jerry Ledzinski, and a couple hours later he had a set of custom clubs – albeit an unusual one with several manufacturers represented. The best part by far was the putter – a pink Scotty Cameron “My Gal” that was borrowed straight out of the golf bag of Britton’s wife.
Should Crawford’s clubs arrive, look out for him this week – he might go even lower.
Tied at the top is recent Texas Mid-Am winner Colby Harwell, who did just about everything right today.
“Just hit the driver well, hit my irons well, and putted ok too,” he said after the round.
Tied for third at 3-under are Jason Anthony of Fairfield, and highly ranked senior player Steve Hudson of Alabama. Anthony just advanced to match play at the U.S. Mid-Am where he took out the Pennsylvania legend Nathan Smith in the first round at Atlanta’s Capital City Club.
At the Stocker Cup, a huge part of the vibe is about the team event, held simultaneous with the individual Mid-Am tournament. And the field of so-called B players continues to improve, perhaps faster than the A field, which has always been strong.
In the lead in the gross competition is the Colby Harwell/Jason Goble team. Goble (a scratch golfer in his own right) made five birdies on his own ball, helping four shots. At 8-under 64, they are off to a fast start in front of Patrick Christovich and Andrew Rosenberg, who posted 65 gross. Rosenberg helped 7 strokes, pitching in three birdies. But both of those B player performances pale in comparison to the way Craig Kalinowski kept his team in the competition — he helped partner Brooks Price 17 strokes, keeping their gross at 2-under. (Price, in fairness suffered “planes, trains, and automobiles” issues getting here and arrived very late last night.)
The Net Team competition is always tight, especially early on. And that’s definitely the case this year. Harwell and Goble are the first of four teams at 64. Joining them is Stephen Sparolini of San Mateo, Calif. and Jon Hastings of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Bill Williamson of Cincinnati and Jerome Joondeph of Portola Valley, Calif.; rounding out the group at the top is Darren Johnson of Covina, Calif. and Andrew Gross of Kentfield. Gross, a 15-handicapper, shot one of the best competitive rounds of his life, an 83 that was capped off with a birdie on the 18th hole — with a stroke for a net eagle.
Players from 20 states will gather at the limited-field event that honors the man that devloped what became known as the Santa Lucia Preserve, where The Preserve Golf Club now sits.
In the Silver Anniversary of the tournament last year, Joe Deraney (Nashville, TN) captured his first Stocker Cup title, shooting 4-under 212 to win by a single shot over John Sawin (San Francisco, CA).
For Deraney, it was the capper to a year that also included wins in the Lupton Invitational, the Timuquana Cup and the Kentucky Mid-Amateur.
Former U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin Marsh and Randy Haag have won the most Stocker Cups with three: Marsh won his three in a four-year span from 2009-2012, while Haag’s first and last titles were 19 years apart (1992, 1997, 2011). Brady Exber of Las Vegas (2014, 2015) is the last repeat champion.
The tournament is played each year to honor the memory of real
Located in a stunning 20,000 acre nature preserve high above Carmel, The Preserve Golf Club is a par-72 layout designed by Tom Fazio and Sandy Tatum that plays at 7,067 yards from the back tees. The tournament features two simultaneous competitions: An individual championship with 50 of the country’s top Mid-Am golfers, and a gross and net team competition pairing those same golfers with 50 avid golfers in a format similar to the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The B players include friends of Peter Stocker and the Stocker family, invited friends of A players, as well as Preserve Golf Club members — many of whom graciously share their homes with their partners.
FRANK “SANDY” TATUM: 1920-2017
Ten Players to Watch:
Patrick Christovich (New Orleans, LA): Making his second appearance in the Stocker Cup, Christovich comes in as the 9th ranked player in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Amateur Rankings, the highest of any player in the field. Christovich won the 2017 Timuquana Cup, his first national mid-amateur win since he won the Coleman Invitational at Seminole in 2014. This season he also had high finishes at the George C. Thomas (runner-up) and the Birmingham National Invitational (8th). The highlight of his 2016 season was making a run to the semifinals of the USGA Four-Ball, where he and partner Garrett Rank (Canada) lost a nail-biter to the eventual winners in the semifinals. In 2014 and 2016 Christovich represented the USA at the Concession Cup.
Kenneth Cook (Noblesville, IN): Cook is a former U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up and Harvey Penick Invitational champion who has finished runner-up in the Lupton Invitational at the Honors Course in both 2014 and 2016. He made match play in four straight U.S. Mid-amateurs (and five of six), and represented Indiana in multiple U.S. State Team championships, where he finished 6th individually in 2016. A winner of several championships in his home state of Indiana, he was the Indiana player-of-the-year in 2012. Just this week, he and his partner qualified for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship.
Tyler Crawford (Indio, CA): Crawford comes into the Stocker Cup fresh off of a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Mid-Amateur in Atlanta, winning three matches before falling on the 19th hole to Mark Harrell. He also had a big win at the Kelly Cup at Lakeside earlier this year, prevailing by four shots over Robert Funk. He has played well in the Stocker Cup, finishing in the top 10 in each of the last three years. He is also a two-time runner-up at the Southern California Mid-Amateur.
Joseph Deraney (Nashville, TN): 2016 was a banner year for Deraney, with his win at the Stocker Cup capping a year where he also took the Timuquana Cup as well as the Lupton Invitational at The Honors Course. He also finished runner-up at the Tennessee Mid-Am and tied for fourth at the Canadian Mid-Am. This year, he successfully defended his Kentucky Mid-Amateur title, and played in his first U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. He also finished runner-up in the Carlton Woods Invitational, 4th in the Timuquana Cup, and 7th in the Birmingham National Invitational. He is currently the 13th ranked player in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Amateur Rankings.
Jeronimo Esteve (Windermere, FL): Originally from Puerto Rico, Esteve is the general manager of an auto dealership and a driving instructor for high-performance racing cars. Last week he competed in his fourth U.S. Mid-Amateur, making match play. Esteve has competed in all three Latin American Amateur Championships and two World Amateur Team Championships (2012, 2014). He was captain of the Dartmouth College golf team and earned All-New England recognition in 2003. Esteve finished fifth at the George C. Thomas Invitational earlier this year and was a quarterfinalist in last month’s Crump Cup.
Brady Exber (Las Vegas, NV): Nobody has had more recent success at the Stocker Cup then Exber. Since 2006 Exber has finished inside the top-20 every year and has won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. Exber had a great year in 2014: in addition to winning the Stocker Cup, he also captured the British Senior Amateur, the Senior Azalea (for the 4th straight year), and the Yeamans Hall Senior. He also won the 2015 Crane Cup and was the runner-up in last years British Senior while representing the USA at the Concession Cup. This year he he was inducted to the National Senior Hall of Fame, finishing 2nd in the tournament. He also finished 3rd at the Coleman Senior and made match play in the U.S. Senior Amateur.
Robert Funk (Canyon Lake, CA): A long-time Stocker Cup participant, Funk was the only amateur to make the cut at the 2017 U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club, a result that exempted him for the U.S. Amateur at Riviera. He was also the runner-up to Tyler Crawford at the Kelly Cup earlier this year, and finished 9th in the Southern California Mid-Amateur (a tournament he has won twice). Most recently, he made the championship match play bracket at the Crump Cup at Pine Valley. Funk is a past champion of the Trans-Mississippi Championship and the Crane Cup.
Colby Harwell (San Antonio, TX): Harwell won both the Texas Mid-Amateur and Texas Mid-Amateur Match play championships this year, and also qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Riviera. He also finished sixth at the Carlton Woods Invitational, a tournament he won in 2013 and 2016. Last year he finished 8th in the Stocker Cup and 7th in the Lupton Invitational, while winning a team event at The Devlin. The winner of the 2013 Crane Cup, Harwell has represented Texas in the USGA State Team Championship, finishing 4th individually in 2014.
Bill Williamson (Cincinnati, OH): Williamson comes into the Stocker Cup playing well, making the second round of match play at last week’s U.S. Mid-Amateur. Last month he was one up over Michael McDermott with two holes to go in the Crump Cup final, but had to settle for runner-up after McDermott won the last two holes, including a hole-out eagle on 17. Williamson has competed in 15 USGA championships, including six U.S. Mid-Amateurs. He is a three-time Greater Cincinnati Player of the Year, and finished 5th in last year’s Coleman Invitational and third in the 2015 Terra Cotta Invitational.
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Joe Deraney capped a tremendous 2016 with his fourth victory of the year in claiming the 25th Annual Stocker Cup.
Deraney, 33, seized control of the 54-hole championship with an opening-round 68. Two even-par rounds followed for a 212 total. The champion was the only player to equal or break par in all three rounds.
“I’ve been playing solid,” the champion said. “And winning brings confidence. But even more importantly, just getting into the mix teaches me how my game is going to respond, how my nerves will feel.”
Deraney’s win follows victories in the Lupton Invitational, the Timuquana Cup and the Kentucky Mid-Amateur. It is The Nashville resident’s second year competing as a mid-amateur and his second time competing in the Stocker Cup.
“I’ve been able to get of to good starts,” Deraney said, attesting to his opening 68, the second low round of the event. “My bad shots aren’t that bad.” Indeed, the champion would go 13-under over 54 holes against seven bogeys and one double bogey. He next heads to the Crane Cup in Florida brimming with confidence.
John Sawin of San Francisco finished one back. Sawin is a past champion (2013), and a consistent tournament, book-ending a one-over 73 with two-under rounds of 70 for a 213 total.
Andy McCabe of Dallas and second round co-leader Steve Hudson of Birmingham, Alabama finished in third, three strokes back. The 58-year-old Hudson won the Tatum Cup, award to the low senior player.
Two-time defending champion Brady Exber posted a hot 3-under 69 in the second round, but was unable to duplicate that efforts in rounds one and three, finishing eight shots behind the champion.
The Stocker Cup also has concurrent team gross and net events, and the low gross team champions are awarded the Elliot Cup. “A” player Brian Harris and partner John Brellenthin carded a final round 64 for a -18 total and a three-shot victory. Steve Hudson and Lawrence Field were second.
The team net event was won by Robert Funk and Craig Kalinowski, who posted a net 20-under 196.
The Preserve Golf Club has hosted the championship for most of its existence. Located in a 20,000-acre nature preserve high above Carmel, the course is a par-72 layout designed by Tom Fazio and Sandy Tatum that plays at 7,067 yards from the back tees. The tournament features two simultaneous competitions: An individual championship with 50 of the country’s top Mid-Am golfers, and a gross and net team competition pairing those same golfers with 50 avid golfers in a format similar to the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The B players include friends of Peter Stocker and the Stocker family, invited friends of A players, as well as Preserve GC members — many of whom graciously share their homes with their partners.