Randy Haag wins 31st California Senior Amateur Championship

The legend grows: Randy Haag wins 31st California Senior Amateur Championship

Randy Haag (NCGA photo)
Randy Haag (NCGA photo)

When Orinda resident Randy Haag won the 2021 California Senior Amateur, it was like coming full circle. Prior to the win, the NCGA Hall of Famer had won just about everything but a state amateur.

Now the 63-year-old Olympic club member has two.

Haag carded a final round 3 of 73 and averted disaster on the treacherous par-3 18th to hold off Scott Almquist and Tim Hogarth and win the 31st California Senior Amateur at Pasatiempo Golf Club by one stroke. He is the first repeat winner since Jeff Burda in 2009-10 and joins Burda and fellow NCGA Hall of Famer Jim McMurtey as the only players to face each other.

“Last year’s win and this year’s win are so different. Last year was special because it was my first state title. To do it in a row, it’s hard for me to believe,” said Haag, who finished at 213 (72-68-73).

When Haag came to the 18th tee, he held a three-stroke lead over Hogarth, who was playing in the same group, and was two ahead of Almquist, who was already at the clubhouse at 214 after a 70. Haag’s tee shot landed to the left side of the green, leaving him a long birdie putt, while Hogarth hit his tee shot less than 5 feet from the flagstick.

With the title on the line, Haag’s birdie try flew over the cup and rolled into a collection area. He took a deep breath and remembered, hitting his next putt a few feet from the pin, and would end up bogey. It was critical, as Hogarth applied extra pressure by birdie.

“On the 18th I couldn’t figure out which club to hit. On this course there are so many times that you find yourself trying to make two 15-20 foot putts. That 18th green aged me three years at the end,” Haag said.

For Haag, the win capped a rollercoaster year. In the winter, he had two 6-inch screws inserted into a left ankle. At the time, his doctor told him he might be able to resume playing in April, but added “probably not very well”. Haag would go on to win his third NCGA Senior Player of the Year award.

“It hasn’t been easy. My left foot moves a lot when I swing. So to compensate, I time my arms,” ​​Haag said.

For Hogarth, it was deja vu again. At last year’s championship he also finished one stroke behind Haag.

Hogarth’s chances began to fade after back-to-back bogeys on holes 15 and 16, with 16 extremely painful after missing a short putt that would have tied Haag. On the 17th, Hogarth’s approach shot hit a mound on the right side of the green area and bounded further to the right. He would end up with a double bogey.

“I had a bad swing and then ripped my third off after the cut. Sooner or later the lack of knowing what you’re doing is going to catch up with you,” said Hogarth, who was making his competitive debut at Pasatiempo. “Looking back, I should have just played for a bogey.”

The day started with Haag holding a one shot lead over Hogarth and a two shot lead over Jeff Wilson. Hogarth has won over 20 SCGA titles and in 1996 he won the former US Amateur Public Links. Wilson, meanwhile, won the 2018 US Senior Amateur and was a nine-time USGA medallist. Wilson fell back to a tie for fourth after a 76.

“I look up to Tim and Jeff so much. They’re both national champions,” Haag said. “I’ve never seen so much talent around the greens. I was just trying not to make a mental mistake.”

ABOUT california senior amateur

The California Senior Amateur Championship began in the fall of 1992 and is the state championship for players 55 and older. The first two tournaments were played at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. In 1994 the event was moved to the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, and in 1995 a concurrent NCGA vs. SCGA team championship game was added. Beginning in 2010, this 54-hole stroke play championship will run on select courses throughout the state. Players must have a rating of 7.4 or lower and can attempt to qualify at any location in the state.

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