Davis Wins First SCGA Senior Amateur Title
The 2017 SCGA Senior Amateur Championship was a true test of golf. After three days of competition with the area’s best seniors, not a single player in the field finished under par, a testament to the difficulty of the course layout. After the smoke cleared, Craig Davis of Chula Vista held on for his first SCGA championship, earning a 1-shot victory over Mike Rowley of San Luis Obispo at Hacienda GC.
“It feels great to pull out a victory at an event like this,” said Davis. “It’s a very difficult golf course. It was very stressful out there. Almost any hole can be double bogey with a bad swing.”
The longtime SCGA competitor opened the championship by stringing together two impressive rounds, putting himself in a tie for the overnight lead heading into the final day of play with Hacienda member Rick Doebler.
Davis for the most part found a way to minimize errors around the small and tricky greens, keeping big numbers off the scorecard. The San Diego CC member started his opening round slowly, bogeying two of his first six holes. But Davis was able to right the ship on his second nine, birdieing No. 14, the longest par-4 on the back.
Davis’ second round was a bit more colorful. Three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey all the front nine led to a 1-over score at the turn. He turned the jets quickly though, birdieing No. 10 and 11 before dropping one shot at No. 15, carding an even par 71 for the day and 1-over overall.
On the final day of play, Davis jumped out to a blistering start birdieing two of his first three holes, giving himself a five-shot cushion. After a couple standard pars, Davis hit a wayward tee ball and two ensuing poor putts, leading to double-bogey and rattling the leader.
“The greens dried out a little bit and I had trouble with the speed,” said Davis. “Seemed like I was coming up short or going long on almost all of my first putts.”
Davis made the turn at even for the day, but his putter continued to betray him. Three bogeys in four holes saw his lead shrink to two. Another three-putt on the par-3 16th hole and things got tense for Davis.
After reaching a greenside bunker in two on No. 17, Davis blasted out and two putted to maintain a one-shot lead. Standing on the final tee box with a slim lead, Davis striped a drive and put his approach to 25 feet. The newly minted senior lagged his first putt to a few feet and kicked in his par for the victory.
“I was obviously a bit shaky down the stretch,” said Davis. “But I held on for the win and that’s all that matters, right?”
Known throughout SCGA lore for hosting the 1994 SCGA Amateur where a young Tiger Woods took home the title, Hacienda served as the championship host of this Senior event for the first time since 2007.