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Many NCGA employees and board members worked the U.S. Open in a variety of capacities. NCGA President Vaughn Kezirian and


WHILE IT’S NOT POSSIBLE to give the U.S. Open trophy to a golf course, perhaps in 2010 the host course earned it. Presenting fast and fi rm fairways with widths averaging 35 yards (though some were as narrow as 25), rough height averaging 2.5 to 3 inches just off the fairway and 4 to 5 inches 15 feet out and green speeds running at 11 to 11.5 feet, the course was truly a beauty and a beast. The course changes spearheaded by

owner Arnold Palmer that brought the ocean and bunkers more into play proved powerful. Woods hit his fi nal-round drive into the Pacifi c on No. 6 and many others found sand in areas not present in 2000. The three toughest holes were Nos.

17, 2 and 14, all averaging nearly half a stroke over par for the championship. The par-fi ve 14th has always been one of the toughest holes at Pebble, but considering most players were hitting a wedge into the green, it’s remarkable that only 42.7% hit the green in

regulation. The carnage 14 infl icted in the second round on the scorecards of Zach Johnson (quadruple bogey), Ian Poulter (triple bogey) and fi rst-round co-leader Paul Casey (triple bogey) effectively ending any championship hopes. In the fi nal round, 14 total triple bogeys were recorded on the front nine, a number equaled on the 14th hole alone. Pebble is known for its small greens;

the tiny target the 17th green presented would only yield a greens-in-regulation average of 18.6%, by far the lowest. Only seven of 83 players would hit the green from the tee during the fi nal round. The par-fi ve 6th was the easiest hole playing to an average score of 4.646. Overall, the course’s scoring average totaled 74.983 for the championship or nearly four strokes over par. Bomber Dustin Johnson led the fi eld

in driving distance at 314.9 yards with 14 players averaging more than 300 yards for the event, a testament to the fi rm conditions which promoted the ball running farther.


Three of four Northern Californians who qualifi ed for the Open made the cut. Sacramento’s Erick Justesen, fresh off medalist honors at


the Sacramento qualifying sectional, fi nished in 69th place at +17 for the event, powered by a two-over 73 in the fi nal round. The 2006 NCGA Amateur Stroke Play champion fi nished third in driving distance for the week at 311 yards.

Two-time NCGA Player of the Year Matt Bettencourt (2001-2002) was unable

to duplicate his T10 fi nish at Bethpage in 2009 (which qualifi ed him for the Open), posting a 302 total (+18). Fresno’s Nick Watney, who qualifi ed via his top-30 spot on the money list in 2009, fi nished at 305 (+21). Saratoga’s Joseph Bramlett had an interesting week. While the 22-year-old

missed the cut by fi ve strokes, the 2005 State Amateur fi nalist graduated Stanford on the Sunday preceding the Open and played a practice round with Tiger Woods on Tuesday. Four-time NCGA Player of the Year and longtime Pebble Beach caddie Casey

Boyns looped for Jason Allred who made the cut, tying for 47th place. It was safe to say that no other caddie at the Open had logged as many rounds on the course as the 54-year-old Boyns.

Woods group during the second round. Haskew assisted the Phil Mickelson-Padraig Harrington-Y.E. Yang group during the fi rst round. All four referees were invited based on past performance on the USGA rules test and experience. Former NCGA employee and Carmel Valley

resident Ron Read, one of the USGA’s direc- tors of regional affairs, again assumed his customary position as the “Voice of the Open,” functioning as U.S. Open starter on the fi rst tee. Read has been behind the micro- phone at the Open for more than 20 years. Director of Environmental and Water

Resources Mike McCullough volunteered with the grounds crew working under Superintendent Chris Dalhamer’s direction. McCullough took Stimpmeter readings all week, ensuring consistency in green speeds from hole to hole. Director of Communications and Marketing Hilary Heieck worked in the “fl ash” area immediately behind the 18th green’s grandstand. Heieck greeted players as they fi nished and set up interviews for the waiting media members.

CEO Lyn Nelson worked as observers, walking out front of each group assisting the referee. Director of Education Ryan Gregg, Junior Tour Manager John Vander Borght (pictured), Past- President Lon Haskew and NCGA member Shari Erskine served as referees, providing immediate on-course rulings for their assigned group. Vander Borght had the distinction of working the Ernie Els-Lee Westwood-Tiger

SUMMER 2010 / NCGA.ORG / 29

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