Zac Frazier (Championship), Darrell Lutey (Senior) and Harlan Braaten (Silver) won titles in the gross divisions in the 2019 Southern Nevada Amateur Championship, an SNGA major, held June 29-30, 2019, at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. George Yocum (Net), Jim LiCausi (Senior) and Stephen Sitar (Silver) posted net victories. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
The event was played on the Sun Mountain Course at the resort.
Zac Frazier won his first SNGA event as he cruised to a four-shot victory in the Championship Division of the SNGA major.
For the two days, Frazier played the front nine in +3 (38 and 37). But he made up for it on the back nine, playing it 7-under (32-33) with six birdies and an eagle.
But the win didn’t come without a struggle.
“I played conservatively the first few holes on Sunday and I was down one after eight holes,” he said. I holed out a wedge for an eagle on 10 and birdied No. 11 and made some key pars coming in.”
He added an old golf saying came true. “They say the tournament doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday and that was true today,” he said. “This is a big confidence boost for me with the state am next week.”
Frazier, who works out of Las Vegas in the oil and gas industry, credited putting tips from Las Vegas’ Bob May with helping his game. “I saw the way Bob was rolling putts on Poa during the round,” he said of the twosomes round at a recent U.S. Open local quailifier. “He and I talked about some things and I took some of those techniques to the course and rolled the ball as well as I ever have this week.”
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Zac Frazier, 70-70—140
Kamden Ganir, 73-71—144
Grant McKay, 73-74—147
George Yocum is getting this winning thing down to a science.
Yocum won for the second time in June with a 3-shot victory in the Net Division. He won earlier in June, at Reflection Bay, and that victory ended an 18-month drought. That victory, at the Virgin Valley Amateur, ended a seven year winless streak.
“I’ve played a lot of golf in the month of June and between playing and practicing, it’s been fruitful,” Yocum said. “I had a solid day Saturday and a solid day (Sunday).”
He said the key was easy.
“I kept it in the fairway and I putted well,” he said. “Everything worked really well all weekend.”
Yocum was trailing George Wolf by six strokes heading to the final nine but came away with the win when Wolf faltered.
“It wasn’t anything magical I did to win,” Yocum said. “Unfortunately George had a few bad holes and came back to the field.”
And his thoughts after the victory?
“I’ve been playing SNGA events for more than 25 years and this is the first major tournament I’ve won,” he said. “Needless to say, yes, I’m very happy.”
George Yocum, 71-70—141
George Wolf, 69-75—144
Hendra Wijaya, 71-77—148
Darrell Lutey posted nine birdies over the two-day event to win his third SNGA title of the year. He now has two gross and one net victory in 2019.
“This was the first tournament I really played well both days,” he said.
He was quick to add that having the lead wasn’t a comfortable feeling.
“I actually got in the lead (Sunday) and got a little nervous on the front nine,” he said. “But on the back nine I kept hitting good shots and making good putts. It was just one of those days I didn’t think about technique.”
He added he fell back on an old saying to stay focused. “I kept thinking, and it’s kind of a cliché, to just hit one shot at a time,” he said. “I didn’t think about anything else. And I kept making pars and birdies. I was kind of in the zone.”
Darrell Lutey, 70-71—141
John Turk, 75-72—147
Gordon Schiring 76-72—148
Jim LiCausi is back in the winner’s circle.
“I haven’t played SNGA events in awhile,” LiCausi said. “The last time I won was probably four years ago at Boulder Creek. And I think that one was a major as well.”
LiCausi attributed this win to his scrambling.
“I didn’t hit it all that great but my short game made all the difference,” he said. “I got it up and down about 95 percent of the time and was able to post scores that were reasonable.”
He added his putting also helped out…finally.
“Putting has always been an inconsistent part of my game,” he said. “But this week I was pretty consistent. I made a lot of putts within a four-or-five foot circle and that made all the difference.”
Jim LiCausi, 69-70—139
David Golder, 74-68—142
Bernard Strauss, 76-67—143
Harlan Braaten figures it’s about time.
Braaten won his first SNGA title in more than a decade as he carded rounds of 72-75—147 and held on for the victory.
“I won a couple of events maybe 12 to 14 years ago but I haven’t played that much in the last 10 years,” he said. “It is nice to win again, though.”
He said the back nine on Sunday was definitely a struggle, but he held on.
“Every time I’d try to play a shot, it seemed like the wind took it from a good line to a bad line,” he said. “At the end of the day, I got a little fortunate when Dan (Parkinson) hit one in the water on the last hole.”
He said his putting is also starting to come around. “I’ve been struggling with my putter for quite awhile,” he said. “I worked with my son-in-law over the last few days to see what’s going on. I still pull putts every once in awhile but it’s working out pretty well right now.”
Harlan Braaten, 72-75—147
Dan Parkinson, 75-73—148
Dario Gonzales, 78-75—153
Stephen Sitar isn’t one to mince words.
“I got very fortunate today,” he said. “I had three chip-ins from pretty good distances and my putter was on today.”
Put those two things together and Sitar came away with his second win of 2019 as he also won at Primm in February.
“I won there with a lot of wind as well,” he said with a laugh after battling windy conditions at both Primm and Paiute. “I guess the bad weather doesn’t seem to affect me as much as some others. I kept the ball in play and had some good recoveries.”
“I was able to two-putt almost every single green except for one where I had a three-putt with a scuff,” he said. “I changed my putting 2½ weeks ago and it’s made a huge difference.”
Stephen Sitar, 73-65—138
Mike Lee, 76-66—142
John Kelley, 70-72—142