Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale made birdies on two of the last three holes to capture the 57th Northern California Golf Association Senior Championship by two strokes over Robert Funk of Canyon Lake at Poppy Hills Golf Course (https://poppyhillsgolf.com) in Pebble Beach.
The 66-year-old Knoll, who also won this tournament in 2011 and 2014, claimed his ninth NCGA title in senior events, tying Gary Vanier of Pleasant Hill and Jim McMurtrey of Fair Oaks for the most in section history.
“This one is pretty big,” said Knoll, who also won the California State Senior Amateur Championship. “Earlier this year my game was mediocre. I wasn’t playing much, and I wasn’t playing well. So I didn’t play much. But I get so much constant support from the guys, and that’s so encouraging.
“I know how hard this course can be. My focus was really good this week. The older I get, the harder it is for me to concentrate all 18 holes. I was able to do that.”
Knoll, a five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year, carded a score of 71-71-72—214, 1-over-par, while Funk was second at 71-72-73—216, followed by Scott Anderson of Bakersfield at 74-73-71—218, Jeff Britton of Carmel at 75-70-77—222, Rich Gleghorn of Santa Cruz at 74-70-79—223 and Mike Rowley of San Luis Obispo at 78-73-74—225.
Funk made an eagle on the last hole, but it wasn’t enough to catch Knoll.
“I was ill-prepared for the wind and fog,” said Funk, the 2013 Southern California Golf Association Mid-Amateur champion. “But Jim played great. It was neat to see.”
Frank Pieper of Carmel totaled 76-77-74—227 to tie for seventh with Doug Williams of Los Angeles, who finished at 74-76-77—227, while Herb Jensen of Carmichael wound up at 83-72-73—228 to tie for ninth with Rich Rowley of San Jose, who came in at 79-76-73—228.
Vanier, the 2009 and 2013 champion, tied for 11th at 74-77-78—229.
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