The 2016 AAA Series culminated at The Crosby at Rancho Santa Fe. A beautiful Fred Couples and Brian Curley design weaves through the hills of North County San Diego giving players a bird’s eye view from many of its elevated tee boxes. This meaningful championship meant not only a chance at the coveted title, but was their last chance to earn points toward the prestigious AAA North/South Cup Team!
The Crosby has an inviting opening four holes. Two fairly gettable par 5’s provide scoring opportunities early setting up the potential for a hot start. But by the fifth hole you learn quickly what The Crosby is all about. A dramatic downhill par 4 demands a precise strike from the tee as your ball seemingly hangs forever as it descends to the fairway. No one took advantage of the starting holes quite like Lyon Lazare. He birdied the first two par 5’s and holed out his 8 iron on the par 3 6th to get off to a sizzling start at 4-under par through 6. Lyon relinquished a few coming in but was still able to post an impressive 2-under par 68 to take the early clubhouse lead.
Jayme Backos continued his hot play of late, coming off his recent victory in the Northern Chapter Championship, and was able to tie Mr. Lazare for the clubhouse lead with his own 68. However there was one player who seemed to be playing at another level on this day. Cavin McCall of Steele Canyon Golf Club managed to traverse the challenging layout bogey free in route to a 4-under par 66! The closing stretch proved to be the difference. The short par 5 16thprovided an opportunity for fireworks with a good drive setting up a mid to short iron into the green. Cavin took advantage here and made birdie. The demanding 220 yard par 3, 17th which played a full stroke over par, awaited him next! With the pin tucked back left, water running up the entire left side, and gusting 25mph winds into the players face, the days contestants would gladly take par and run! Cavin did just that and headed to the 4th hardest hole on the day, the par 4, 18th. McCall relished the pressure and refused to back down, making birdie to seal a two shot victory! Congratulations to a very deserving champion!
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of AAA series this year. Mr. Ron Cropley, PGA was a tremendous host and provided our members with a terrific championship test! Thank you as well to the new Presenting Partner of the AAA Series, Maui Jim and Western Region Manager Keith Achman for their indispensable support!
Finally, congratulations to the top 12 for earning their spot on this year’s AAA North/South Cup. They are in order…Kenny Pigman, PGA (Goose Creek GC), Bobby Nickell (Arroyo Trabuco GC), Cavin McCall (Steele Canyon GC), Raj Samra (Friendly Hills CC), Chris Lungo (Arroyo Trabuco GC), Jayme Backos (Rustic Canyon GC), Tyler Pritkin (Champions Club at the Retreat), Steven Bendt (Virginia CC), Thomas Chu (Los Coyotes CC), Michael Mendoza (Pauma Valley CC), Lyon Lazare (Aliso Viejo CC), and Matt Parkovich (Big Canyon CC)! Now let’s bring back that cup!