Today at The Preserve Golf Club Hudson, 58, proved that the golf ball doesn’t have any idea how old the person hitting it is. He fired the low round of the tournament so far, a 5-under 67 from a course tipped out to the maximum yardage it can play. He recorded 6 birdies against just a single bogey on the 471-yard par 4 15th hole, propelling him into a tie for the lead with first round leader Joe Deraney of Nashville at 4-under 140. Deraney got to that number by backing up his first round 68 with an even par 72 today.
,br> Giving chase at 141 (3-under) are Gene Elliott of Iowa (72 today) and Charles Waddell (72) and Nick Wood (70) who both stand at 2-under 142. 2013 champ John Sawin of San Francisco is lurking at 1-under 143, tied with the always dangerous Kevin Wolf of Lodi, Calif.
Steve Hudson’s partner Lawrence Field won the PGA National Junior title way back when, then hung up the golf clubs for 20 years. He’s into the game again, and along with Hudson has the gross lead at 12-under. They are chased down by Brian Harris (Indiana) and John Brellenthin (Dallas) who stand at 10-under. Three teams at 9-under include defending gross champs Jason and Jack Anthony. It’s going to be a battle on Saturday.
In the Net Team championship (the traditional Stocker Cup) the team of first-time contestant Patrick Christovich (New Orleans) and Mike “Big Cat” Machette have tied for the lead with first round leaders John Sawin and James Student, with a solid round of 65 today for a total of 13-under. Sawin and Student follwed their stellar 8-under start with a 5-under 67 today. With four teams tied at 12-under, it’s anyone’s to win.
For Joe Deraney a missed tee shot right on No. 10 resulted in a double-bogey. Silence followed, as neither Deraney (Nashville, TN) or his B player partner Drew Kitchen (San Francisco) wanted to break the ice.
“I knew what he was thinking,” said Deraney. “‘I just bogeyed my first hole and beat my partner.’”
Maybe that thought was motivation, as the seasoned mid-am golfer with two big titles under his belt in 2016 went 6-under from that point forward, posting one of the most unlikely rounds of 68 you’ll see, especially at a course that can challenge even the best Mid-Ams.
Deraney, ranked No. 7 in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Am rankings, will try to capture another big title, after winning both the Lupton Invitational (Tennessee) and the Timuquana Cup (Florida) earlier this season.
A total of seven players broke par on a beautiful California fall day that found the recently-remodeled course in top condition. Just a stroke back of Deraney at 69 is Gene Elliott, the Iowa standout who is also enjoying an excellent season. Elliott sparked his round with a holed third shot from 90 yards for eagle on the par-5 4th hole, and could have tied Deraney had he converted a short birdie try on the last hole.
2013 champion John Sawin is one of three players to have posted 2-under 70. Sawin is coming off a recent runner-up finish at another Mid-Am “major” – the Crump Cup at Pine Valley (yes, top Mid-Ams have it good). Andy McCabe of Dallas was the lowest of the first-timers; he is tied with Sawin and second year player Charles Waddell of Chicago.
Twice-defending champion Brady Exber posted 75, and after the round joked about the course setup today (with three new “back-back” tees). “I don’t think George [Kelley, the tournament chairman] wants to see an old guy win it again this year.”
Knowing Exber, he is bound to be in the thick of things come Saturday.
A player Steve Hudson of Alabama and his B partner Lawrence field of Oklahoma both played steady golf alone (they both shot par) and were really good as a team. Their 66 leaves them tied for the gross team best-ball lead with Brian Harris of Indiana and his partner John Brellenthin of Dallas. Brellenthin poured in 4 birdies on the front nine (three-straight on Nos. 6-8) and added another on the back nine to help his partner by three shots.
In the Net team competition, John Sawin and his B player partner James Student fired 8-under 64, but they are closely chased by three teams who fired 65, and an amazing six teams who are all tied at 66.
ANOTHER “SHOT OF THE DAY”
In addition to Elliott’s eagle on No. 4, Brad Wilder’s partner Nick Feczko holed his second shot on No. 7 for an eagle 2 and a net score of 1.
Located in a 20,000 acre nature preserve high above Carmel (while still holding a Carmel address) 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. Wednesday, October 19th is the official practice round day at The Preserve, as well as the day of the “Friends of Peter Stocker” outing played at Quail Lodge Golf Club.Ten Players to watch follow. Click on any of their names to view a detailed profile.
Patrick Christovich (New Orleans, LA): Making his first appearance in the Stocker Cup, Christovich comes in as the 21st ranked player in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Am Rankings. So far this year Christovich has finished inside the top-10 four-times in individual events. His best 2016 individual finish to date is a tie for fourth at the Lupton Invitational. The highlight of his 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. The match was nationally broadcasted on Fox Sports. In 2014 and 2016 Christovich represented the USA at the Concession Cup.
Joseph Deraney (Nashville, TN): It has been a banner year for Deraney, a wire-to wire winner at the prestigious Lupton Invitational at The Honors Course in Tennessee in May. Prior to winning that title, Deraney captured the Timuquana Cup title the first weekend of the same month. Deraney, the seventh ranked AmateurGolf.com Mid-Am player, has also won the Kentucky Mid-Amateur, finished runner-up at the Tennessee Mid-Am and tied for fourth at the Canadian Mid-Am — all in 2016. He’s got to be on anyone’s short list of favorites to contend for the 2016 Stocker Cup title.
Gene Elliott (West Des Moines, IA): The winner of the “Tatum Cup” for low senior in the 2015 Stocker Cup also seriously contended for the overall title, finishing T2 at 4-under. He’s had another great year in 2016, finishing T2 in the Coleman Invitational, and qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open. Elliott continues to dominate the tournament circuit in Iowa, where he won both the Senior Match Play and Stroke Play tournaments this year, as well as partnering with pal Mike McCoy to win the Iowa Four-Ball. Perhaps most impressive is Elliott’s ability to compete with the “kids” — he finished T33 against a mostly Division I collegiate field at the prestigious Porter Cup in July.
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 the last two years — at two different courses no less! Exber has yet to win a ranking event in 2016, but he has a few notable finishes, including a tie for second at the British Senior Amateur and a tie for third at the Canadian Senior Stroke Play. A member of the 2016 US Concession Cup team, Exber shares the seventh spot in the AmateurGolf.com Mid-Am Rankings with Deraney.
Chip Lutz (Reading, PA): Ranked fifth in the AmateurGolf.com Senior Rankings, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion proved he can compete on both sides of the pond, by capturing the 2016 British Senior Amateur. The way he did it was nothing short of spectacular. In a thrilling finale, Lutz, fellow American Brady Exber (our two-time defending champ) and Scotland’s Graham Bell (yes, that’s his name) were forced to sudden-death after finishing the 54-holes tied. Lutz ended things quickly, holing a 25-foot putt at Formby Golf Club to claim the title. Lutz last played the Stocker Cup in 2006, when he placed T11.
Bowen Osborn (Burbank, CA): There are many players in the Stocker Cup field who have won a state amateur title. But how many have done so in different states? Osborn won the 2002 State Amateur in his home state of Minnesota, then captured the 2011 Arizona Amateur, which he calls the highlight of his golf career (so far). In 2016, Osborn finished runner-up at the Timuquana Cup in Jacksonville, then qualified for the U.S. Amateur, firing 142 at the challenging Pauma Valley Golf Club in Southern California.
John Sawin (San Francisco, CA): The 2013 Stocker Cup winner is finding his form just in time for the 2016 edition, having recently finished runner-up at the prestigious Crump Cup, a tournament that draws the top Mid-Ams in the world to Pine Valley. Sawin also picked up top-15 finishes at the Coleman Invitational and George C. Thomas Invitational earlier this season. In 2015 he won the Walter J. Travis Invitational and in the last four years he has qualified for three USGA events. Sawin has won multiple club championships at both San Francisco Golf Club (3) and Merion Golf Club (5). Not bad!
(Chicago, IL) – A second-year player
who will look to build on the experience he gained at
the Preserve in 2015. Like Joseph Deraney, Waddell
has captured recent Lupton Invitational (2015) and
Timuquana Cup (2014) titles. He is also one of the
two players (Bowen Osborn is the other) in the field
that qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur, a feat in
itself. (Chip Lutz had an exemption, but was busy
playing the Monday final round at the U.S. Senior
Open and couldn’t play)
Brad Wilder (Fort Wright, KY) – Wilder, one of the most consistent performers at the Stocker Cup over the past 10 years, is still looking for his first title. He has finished inside the top-10 at the Stocker Cup six of the last seven years, and recorded two runner-up finishes, a T2 in 2015, and solo second in 2010. This year, his golf swing graced the USGA website for almost a full day after he shot 67 to pace early qualifiers at the U.S. Mid-Am, where he advanced to match play. In 2015, his “Masters dreams” stayed alive at the same event well through the week — he advanced all the way to the semifinals. His match play skills were again on display this year at the Walter J. Travis Invitational in New York, where he finished runner-up.
You can find a full list of A players on the Contestants page.