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Equipment Forum

What is your best equipment tip for amateurs?

Fuzzy Zoeller Make sure your irons are set for your swing in terms of the lie of the club. You want the club to lie flat at address—you don’t want the toe in the air.

Jim Thorpe Take the 60-degree wedge out of your bag. It’s the most difficult club to hit, and the average amateur comes up short every time.

Olin Browne Put fresh grips on. Worn out grips change your connection to the club and you spend all of your time worrying about the club coming out of your hands.

Mark Brooks People don’t play with enough loft in their irons. Everything is one club stronger today. Today’s 9 was yesterday’s 8. The ball change was the big thing. The ball goes significantly straighter today.

Brad Faxon Most amateurs play with a shaft that is too stiff. All golfers should be fitted.

Equipment Forum is presented by

Sutherland Reminisces on NCGA Days, Recalls Record 59


ack in the early 1980s, Champi- ons Tour rookie Kevin Sutherland thought the NCGA Amateur

Match Play Championship was the greatest tournament on the planet. “The way I remember it, you had

two days of stroke play qualifying, a cut, another round of qualifying and then match play. And it was all at Spyglass Hill,” said the Sacramento native, who dramatically won the title in 1986 on the 37th hole over John Childs. “I think at the time you don’t realize how great it was. You don’t re- ally appreciate it until you get older. ” In August, the now 50-year- old had his own personal moment of greatness at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open by becoming the first player on the Champions Tour to card a magical 59. He accomplished the feat by opening his round with seven birdies and an eagle to get to 9 under through his first eight holes. He had 12 birdies overall, and could’ve shot 58 with a par on the 18th. Instead his 7-foot par putt slid past the cup. “It was pretty surreal. I just hit

shots close to the hole and the next thing I knew I was rolling. After getting to 9-under it

was almost silly,” Sutherland said. “It felt like I was playing video game golf. They say you play your best when you don’t over control it. It actually seemed easy, and it’s not that way.” A fixture on the NCGA tourna- ment scene while in high school and later at Fresno State, Sutherland still points to his amateur days as a key to the player he would eventually become. Along with competing at Spyglass, he played Pebble Beach and Cypress Point Club during the annual California State Amateur. “I have so many great memories

of coming to the area to play amateur golf, and it was all because of the NCGA,” said Sutherland, who also went on to win the 2002 WGC-Ac- centure Match Play Championship. –Jerry Stewart

Sang-Moon Bae Ends Drought at Silverado S

ilverado hosted a PGA Tour event for the first time in 34 years. Open winner Sang-

Moon Bae also ended a prolonged drought. Bae picked up his first PGA Tour

win at the 2013 Byron Nelson, but then went 36 straight events without so much as a top 10. The 28-year-old South Korean snapped that skid emphati- cally, finishing

with a two-shot

win over Australian Steven Bowditch. The Open once again teed off the

16 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2014

PGA Tour season, but this time it was at Silverado’s North Course in Napa after spending the last four years at CordeValle in San Martin. Bae shot 66-69-65-73—273 to finish at 15 under, and join a list of winners at Silverado that includes Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and tour- nament host Johnny Miller, who is already excited about next year. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin

Rose, Webb Simpson and Charl Schwartzel are obligated to play at Silverado after skipping the 2012 Frys. “It’ll almost be like a different tour-

nament,” Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The crowds will get a lot bigger with Rory and Tiger next year.” –K.M.


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