Reno, Nev. (Sept. 23, 2016)–There are times when beating the field isn’t the only prerequisite to winning a golf title. There are times you’ve got to overcome severe weather conditions as well. And then, if you add in a playoff for good measure, players will tell you that it’s just not easy to win a golf tournament. Such was the case for Scot Orchard as he won the 2016 Nevada State Senior Amateur. FINAL RESULTS. –-By Bill Bowman.
The tournament was held Sept. 21-23, 2016 at Hidden Valley Country Club in Reno. And while the weather was a big factor (there were just two scores under par all tournament long in the scratch division, a pair of 1-under 71s), it was perseverance that paid off for Orchard in a three-hole playoff over Todd Roberts, representing Southern Highlands.
Orchard, representing the host course, Hidden Valley CC, overcame severe windy conditions the first day along with cold and breezy weather the second day to win the crown.
Orchard was quick to give credit for the victory where credit was due. “To be honest, my wife caddied for me and helped me keep it together,” Orchard said. “She’s my rock. I dug myself a little hole and had to fight back on the back nine.”
Orchard had rounds of 77-74-73—224 while Roberts posted rounds of 74-74-76—224. Rick Felling of Eagle Valley GC finished third, two shots back.
While Orchard came alive on the back nine with a two-under-par 34 (and finished par-birdie), Roberts struggled over the final two holes (finishing bogey-bogey) to record a two-over-38 on the back that set up the playoff.
“I gave away a golf tournament today,” Roberts said. “I knew I had a three-shot lead and just didn’t get it done. I had a bogey on 17 and then I had a gap wedge into 18 for my third. I hit it pin-high but it was just in the rough about 15 or 16 feet from the pin. I had a good lie and knew I just had to get it on the green and it would trickle down. But it was a shot that could get away from you and it did a little and I wound up with a six-footer straight up the hill. I missed mine and Scotty made his (for birdie). But it never should have gotten to that point. I never made a putt over three feet today.”
That two-stroke swing set the stage for the playoff.
Both players parred the first two holes. On the third hole, Orchard had a two-putt par to seal the win as Roberts missed a potential playoff-extending par. “I plumb bobbed the putt straight but it broke to the right,” he said. “I just mis-read it.”
Orchard said the tournament was survival of the fittest. “It was definitely a grind out there all tournament,” he said.
The final round opened with Felling and Roberts sharing the lead. Felling took a one-shot edge with a first-hole birdie. He gave the shot right back on the next hole. Bogeys by Roberts on the third and the sixth holes helped Felling to a two-shot lead but then Felling bogeyed the eighth. That left Felling with a one-stroke edge as they made the turn. But an 8 on the par-5 15th took Felling out of contention and left Roberts with a little breathing room.
For a few holes.
As Roberts and Felling appeared to be battling each other on the back nine, Orchard’s second nine helped him sneak back into contention…and eventually into the playoff. Following a four-bogey, two-birdie front nine, Orchard made three birdies on the back nine (11, 14 and 18) to move back up the leaderboard.
But it was a negative result on a hole that actually turned Orchard’s round around. “What got me going was a three-putt on 10,” he said. “I had just birdied 9 and had the momentum going into 10 and then I three-putted. But I just told myself I wasn’t going to give up.”
After the second round, played in 50-degree temperatures, it had apparently turned into a two-man race with Roberts and Felling tied at +4. Roberts put together back-to-back rounds of 74 while Felling followed a five-over-par 77 in the first round with a one-under 71 in the second round. It was three shots back to Orchard (+7 after rounds of 77 and 74) and it was another four shots back to Gregory Whitt of Eagle Valley Golf Club (rounds of 81 and 74).
Roberts’ opening round 74 was two-over-par, but considering the windy conditions, that score still gave him a three-shot edge over Orchard and Felling.
“Todd’s first round, in that wind, was just awesome,” Orchard said.
In the net division, Tim Hines (Silver Oak GC), took control on the front nine of the final day to breeze to a victory. Hines was -3 for the nine and made the turn with a four-shot lead. The day started out as a four-horse race with Hines, Joe Rada (Southwest GC), Gary Halstad (Wildcreek GC) and John Tovar (Wildcreek (GC) all within two strokes of each other.
Then Hines took control with a trifecta…a natural birdie, a net birdie and a net eagle… to offset a lone bogey on the front nine. Adding natural birdies at 11 and 12 opened up a six-stroke edge and he coasted from there to a five-shot victory.
“I was lucky enough to make some putts today and that’s normally a strength of my game,” Hines said. “When I birdied 12 and 13, I knew that if I made some pars on the way in and didn’t blow up I was pretty solid.”