Christopher Viravongsa (Championship), Frank Acker (Senior) and Dave Haddock (Silver) came away with gross titles at the SNGA Tour-Aliante event April 18, 2019. Craig Goleno (Net), Anthony Becker (Senior) and Jack Schwartz (Silver) posted net victories. With solid finishes, Viravongsa, Jeffrey Gilliame, John Morella and Michael Teslenko earned qualifying spots for the Nevada State Amateur, which will be held July 8-10 at Somersett CC in Reno. — By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Christopher Viravongsa posted three birdies over a four-hole stretch (and another birdie three holes later) to claim his first SNGA Tour victory with a one-under-par 71.
It was only Viravongsa’s third tournament he’s played in since 2010 as he was working his way through dental school. He’s now working on becoming a pediatric dentist.
“I just haven’t had the time to play,” he said. “But I had a day off today and just wanted to come out and enjoy the sun. I didn’t have any expectations.”
He said his work on the greens was the key.
“My putter was working great,” he said. “I got off to a little bit of a rough start but I was reading everything well. Then I got a couple of putts to roll in and got in a nice rhythm.”
And the rhythm isn’t something he was expecting. “I’m only playing maybe once every two months,” he said. “And I’m maybe practicing three times a month. Any chance I do get, I’ll try to get out and work on my game.”
Now having qualified for the State Am provides him with another dilemma.
“For sure I’ll have to see if I can get another couple of days off,” he said with a laugh.
Christopher Viravongsa, 71
Grant McKay, 73
Jeffrey Gilliame, 79
Craig Goleno carded eight net birdies–including six in a seven-hole span on the front nine–to rally for his first SNGA Tour victory.
Goleno’s previous best result was a third-place finish at Royal Links in February of this year.
“This is the first year I’ve played on a regular basis,” he said. “Today I hit a lot of fairways and kept myself out of trouble. I hit a lot of greens but I didn’t make a lot of putts. I did have good speed to where I’d have an easy putt for par or bogey.”
He said this round mirrored his play this year.
“I’ve played pretty well at times but had some mishaps on some of the other courses,” he said. “If you look at some of my scores, it’s the same thing. At Mountain Falls I had a net 33 on the front nine the first day and a net 31 on the front the second day. But then the back nine just chipped away at me.”
This event he gave himself more of an advantage. “I had a great front nine and that helped but then I started leaking some oil on the back,” he said.
He summed up his play with a laugh. “If golf was a nine-hole event I’d be one terrific player.”
Craig Goleno, 71
Kody Conover, 72
Lucus Lechman, 72
It wasn’t the start Frank Acker wanted–bogey, bogey. But he righted the ship and finished with an even-par round of 72 and his second SNGA Tour win of 2019.
“I did get off to a bit of a rough start but I played pretty solid after that,” Acker said. “It was a pretty good round for me and nobody else seemed to play very well.”
Acker said his game is starting to round into the shape he’s used to seeing.
“I’ve been tinkering with my game and it’s getting better,” he said. “I hit my irons pretty well today but the woods…not too good. I did make a couple of putts here and there. Now I’m looking forward to getting in a little practice.”
And that practice time has him in a positive frame of mind.
“I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “If I put in the work, my game is going in the right direction.”
Frank Acker, 72
Darrell Lutey, 75
Todd Roberts, 78
Anthony Becker won his first SNGA Tour title in just the third SNGA Tour event he played in. He also had a second-place finish in March at the Golf Summerlin event.
He overcame the recent loss of his mother, but credited her with this victory.
“My mom passed away about a week ago back in Minnesota,” he said. “I’m pretty convinced she was on my shoulder and helped me make a few putts.”
He said he obviously hasn’t been thinking about golf recently. “I really wasn’t prepared at all,” he said. “I didn’t practice but I was very good off the tee and holed a lot of putts.
He said he had two bad drives–but neither one hurt him. “They both wound up in play,” he said. “And even on 18, I hit a tree and it came back in play. I guess it was just one of those days.”
Anthony Becker, 70
David Koch, 75
William Thompson, 76
Dave Haddock posted back-to-back birdies early in the round and held on for a two-stroke victory.
It was his second win in 2019 and was his first gross title to go along with a net title he won at the Golf Summerlin event.
Dave Haddock, 76
Bob Godfrey, 78
Frank Abbot, 79
Jack Schwartz had four net birdies in his first five holes en route to his first SNGA Tour victory in awhile.
“I won one a few years back but it’s been awhile,” Schwartz said. “Today I made a lot of putts for bogeys (net par).”
He said his play was solid. “I don’t think I was out of play today,” he said. “I did go from one trap to another on one hole but that was my only bad stretch.”
He added his putting is always solid. “I don’t get on the green in regulation that often so I have to rely on getting it up and down and my putting,” he said. “I must have one-putted 10 times today.”
He plays three or four times a week and knows his strengths and limitations. “When I have a good day I shoot 85 and when I have a bad day I shoot 90,” he said. “It all comes down to me being able to putt.”
Jack Schwartz, 68
Duane Hagen, 70
Larry Agan, 72