FINAL RESULTS PHOTOS
Mark Nickeas was a pretty popular guy at his home course of Saticoy CC this week. The Lake Sherwood, Ca. resident led after each round of the 20th California Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship, winning his first major amateur championship by four strokes on Wednesday.
“Especially being here at Saticoy in front of all the members, this has been a tremendous thrill,” said Nickeas when asked how the victory felt. “It really is a true honor.”
Nickeas, 55, was playing in one of his first senior events. He shot rounds of 69-74-78 for a three-day total of 221.
It was a two-man race for most of the tournament, with Nickeas battling three-time winner Jeff Burda of Modesto, Ca. Nickeas entered Wednesday’s final round with a six-stroke lead, but found himself up by only three with four holes to play. However, with bogeys by Burda on three of the last four holes, Nickeas was able to pull out the victory, with members of his home course applauding as his final putt sank into the 18th hole.
“To come out here today with a six-stroke lead, I felt a lot of pressure,” said Nickeas. “Everyone thought it would be a cakewalk for me, but as it turned out it wasn’t. Jeff [Burda] is a great player, a true champion, and he put a lot of pressure on me. It was a struggle out there today to be honest but I was glad I was able to finish it off.”
Burda, who finished at 10-over par 226 for the tournament, finished fourth after his late-round struggles. Gary Vanier and Casey Boyns finished T2, posting a three-day total of 225.
The Saticoy CC course posed a tough challenge for all participants, as there were only three under-par rounds in the three days.