Michael Abrams (Championship), David Koch (Senior) and Bob Godfrey (Silver) won titles in the ‘2018 SNGA Tour: Rio Secco’ event, the Tour’s final event of the year. Jason Berton (Net), William Thompson (Senior) and Neil Driscoll (Silver) claimed net crowns. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Michael Abrams’ victory was his first of the year and he needed a final-hole par to earn it.
“It’s nice to get the win and Rio Secco is a great place to get it,” he said of his one-stroke win over Brady Exber.
Abrams credited his approach shots as key to the victory.
“I played pretty solid all around and hit 14 greens so I was pretty happy with that,” he said. “I could have made a few more putts but I didn’t have any penalty shots.”
He added that his play on 18 sealed the victory.
“I wanted to shoot under par but missed birdie putts on three of the last four holes,” he said. “Then on 18 my approach shot was on the wrong side of the green but I hit a good chip to about 10 feet and made the putt. It was only the second green I missed so it was nice to get it up and down.”
It turned out to be the winning putt.
“I haven’t played well in the last month or so,” he said. “It was definitely nice to get the ‘W’.”
- Michael Abrams, 73
- Brady Exber, 74
- Eric Bauman, 77
Jason Berton found the winner’s circle for the second time in 2018, winning the Net title by two strokes.
“I was committed to keeping my tempo at 75 to 85 percent and having as many putts inside of 10 feet as I could,” he said. “My target today was a score of 95 (he wound up with a 97) and I was doing OK until 17 when I kept duffing my wedge and it hurt me.”
He feels his game is on the upswing.
“Everything about my game today was good enough,” he said. “I only made one putt outside of 10 feet and I really thought I mis-hit that one but it hit the hole and went in. For the most part, I walked away from most of the shots today saying ‘that was pretty good’. ”
He added the victory may have been karma.
“My brother’s name is Rio so to win at Rio Secco is pretty cool,” he said.
- Jason Berton, 70
- Eduardo Ramirez, 72
- Hendra Wijaya, 74
David Koch won for the first time in 2018 after putting up 10 top-3 finishes this year.
“I hope this one gets me over the hump,” he said. “I was playing well for most of the year but just couldn’t get that first win.”
He said the key was simple. “I kept everything in play,” he said. “I hit a bunch of greens and only had one three-putt so it was just a good day.”
Now he’s hoping for more.
“I’ll be back to play the tournaments again next year and hope for more wins,” he said.
- David Koch, 71
- Frank Acker, 73
- Kelly Knievel, 74
William Thompson won in a scorecard playoff over David Golder. It was Thompson’s first SNGA victory.
- William Thompson, 73
- David Golder, 73
- Brian McShane, 74
Bob Godfrey overcame a tough course in Rio Secco and a battle with pneumonia to win his first SNGA title.
“I’ve had pneumonia for the past couple of weeks but I wanted to play,” he said. “I took some drugs and came out to the golf course and played pretty well.”
He said not being at full strength may have helped him.
“I really just kept it in play,” he said. “That was the big thing. I’m not long off the tee anyway and today I was a little weak and just swung to try and keep it in the fairway.”
And then there was the putting.
“I knocked in two really long putts that helped a lot,” he said.
He said he will enjoy the victory…eventually.
“As soon as the drugs wear off I’ll be shocked,” he said with a laugh.
- Bob Godfrey, 73
- Jeffrey English, 78
- Bruce Swanson, 79
For the second straight year Neil Driscoll won the season finale. And for the second straight year it was his only victory of the year.
It almost didn’t happen.
“I pulled a Dustin Johnson and moved some pebbles in what I thought was a waste area but it was a bunker,” he said. “It wound up costing me a two-stroke penalty but I still managed to win.”
He said his overall play was solid.
“Everything worked well today,” he said. “I didn’t have anything worse than a bogey so I was very consistent.’’
He added his play on and around the greens definitely helped him to victory.
“I sunk a few putts and when I missed the green I got them up and down,” he said.
- Neil Driscoll, 68
- Dave Haddock, 71
- John Kelley, 72