I (Andrew Nelsen) need to withdraw from the Cal Am Senior Qualifier at El Camino on 10/7/19 because of work obligations.
California Senior Amateur Championship
November 6 - 8, 2023, Red Hill CC
The California Senior Amateur Championship began in the fall of 1992, and is the state championship for players age 55 and over. The first two tournaments were played at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. In 1994, the event was moved to Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, and in 1995, a simultaneous NCGA vs. SCGA team portion of the championship was added. Starting in 2010, this 54-hole stroke play Championship rotated to selected courses throughout the state. Players must have an index of 7.4 or less and may attempt to qualify at any location in the state.
Craig Davis Wins First State Am in Three-Hole Playoff
A thrilling end to the 2023 California Senior Amateur Championship was all but certain when the top of the leaderboard featured two-time defending champion Randy Haag and 2022 SCGA Senior Player of the Year Tim Hogarth at the start of the final round on Wednesday.
And that was before Craig Davis, a four-time winner of the SCGA Senior Amateur Championship, got himself in the mix. The Chula Vista native started the day three shots back of the lead, caught fire on the back nine to thrust himself into contention then eventually brought home his first state amateur championship crown, defeating Paul Smith in a three-hole playoff at Red Hill CC.
“It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win and I’ve come close, but it was pretty nice to be able to do it this time,” said Davis. “It was a great field and I can’t say enough about the golf course here. I love this place.”
Red Hill CC is the same course where Davis made history in 2020, capturing his fourth consecutive SCGA Senior Am to become the first ever SCGA player to win four consecutive championships. He hadn’t returned to the facility in a championship setting since.
“I just have great feel for this place,” said Davis. “It’s really sweet to come back here and play well again. There’s a lot of great players [in the field] from Northern Cal, so to beat them is saying something.”
Starting the day at even-par, Davis rolled in his first birdie on hole 7, and remained at one-under as he made the turn. While Haag and Hogarth went back and forth at the top of the leaderboard at four-under, Smith had started to creep up as he made the turn at three-under, thanks to a birdie on No. 5. A three-horse race quickly became four when Davis rolled in three consecutive birdies from holes 10-12 to immediately give himself a share of the lead.
“It was a very nice stretch, I felt pretty confident at that point,” said Davis. “On 12 I hit a really nice wedge in there, the par-5 and that one was only about a four-footer, so that was an easy birdie. Then I got kind of lucky on 13. I missed the green short left but I had a straight uphill chip and I chipped in from there, so that was a bonus. Then the par-5 14th, I hit two really good shots and had about 30 feet for eagle and two-putted for birdie.”
Within that stretch from Davis, Smith rolled in a birdie of his own on No. 12 to get to four-under and create a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. Though Haag and Hogarth eventually fell out of contention, Davis and Smith parred the rest of their holes to stay at four-under and prompt a sudden death playoff.
“I was pretty relaxed going into the playoff,” said Davis. “I was nervous all week playing a tough course but in playoffs I always treat it like the worst you can do is [finish] second. So I never get as nervous, I don’t think, in a playoff. I stay pretty calm and focused.”
Starting on the first hole, Smith and Davis each parred their first two holes. Both of their tee shots landed in the fairway on the par-4 third hole. Smith’s approach shot was pin high, but leaked to the right and into the rough, leaving him with a downhill chip for birdie. Davis planted his approach shot behind the flag on the fringe, also looking at a downhill putt.
Smith’s chip left him a little over ten feet for par, while Davis putted from the fringe and landed a couple feet to the right of the hole. Smith couldn’t convert his par putt, while Davis tapped in to secure the victory.
“I like those holes that we had, Nos. 2 and 3,” said Davis. “You didn’t necessarily have to make a birdie to win, and I knew that…I just tried to play mistake free as much as I could, and I didn’t have a bogey on the card so I accomplished that goal. There’s not a lot of birdie holes here so I just tried to make a few if I could. That was the plan.”
|2023||Craig Davis||Southern California||Red Hill CC|
||Northern California||Pasatiempo GC|
||Northern California||Hillcrest CC|
||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
||Southern California||Wilshire CC|
||Northern California||The Preserve GC|
||Southern California||Pauma Valley Country Club|
||Northern California||Lake Merced Golf Club|
||Southern California||Mesa Verde Country Club|
||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
||Northern California||San Gabriel Country Club|
||Northern California||Del Rio Golf & Country Club|
|2011||Mark Nickeas||Northern California||Saticoy Country Club|
|2010||Jeff Burda||Northern California||Fort Washington G&CC|
|2009||Jeff Burda||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2008||Jeff Burda||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2007||Gary Vanier||Southern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2006||Steve Bogan||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2005||Robert Olds||Southern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2004||Rob Thompson||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2003||Joe Dudley||Southern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2002||Ted Lyford||Southern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2001||Roly LaMontagne||Southern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|2000||Mike Riley||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1999||Tom Eastlack||Southern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1998||Jim McMurtrey||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1997||Cliff Davis||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1996||Paul Spengler||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1995||Jim McMurtrey||Northern California||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1994||Jim McMurtrey||N/A||Poppy Hills Golf Course|
|1993||Paul Ladin||N/A||Ojai Valley Inn|
|1992||Chuck Weil||N/A||Ojai Valley Inn|