Carl Digennaro won the Championship Division during the SNGA Tour Championship held Dec. 3, 2019, at Rio Secco Golf Club. Marty Weinberg was the Net champion. Todd Roberts (Senior gross), Frank Acker (Silver gross), Brian Freymueller (Senior Net) and Ron Clabaugh (Silver net) also claimed crowns at the prestigious season-ending event. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider. Staff.
Carl Digennaro saved his best for last event as he earned his first SNGA Tour title, posting a one-under-par 71.
He’s had a pair of third place finishes during the fall as his previous best finishes but won the finale to qualify for the Tournament of Champions in January.
“I’m really working hard at improving my game,” he said. “There are a lot of really great guys out here pushing everyone to get better.”
Digennaro’s job has certainly helped him deal with the pressure of winning a golf tournament. He works with UPS and offers area support for stores. “It’s definitely going to be a busy time,” he said about the upcoming hectic holiday season.
But for at least one day, his focus was on his golf.
“I putted really great,” he said. “I had a couple of crucial par saves that kept me in it. I’ve been working hard on my putting and it came through today.”
Now he’s looking ahead to 2020.
“I really wanted to qualify for the Tournament of Champions,” he said. “By winning, it gets me in the tournament and gives my confidence a big boost. It shows that the hard work is paying off and I can close it out.”
Carl Digennaro, 71
Kamden Ganir, 72
Kerry Parker, 77
Marty Weinberg survived a triple-bogey on the par-5 17th hole and held on to win the Net Division title, his first SNGA Tour victory.
Weinberg did rebound and post a net birdie on the final hole to win by two strokes.
It wasn’t that easy.
“I’ve always said I could keep sports psychologists in business because when the pressure comes on I tend to fall apart,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know why but I get nervous…the putter gets a little heavy…I get a little wobbly. And I did try to give it away on 17 but rebounded pretty well.”
Ah yes, the 17th hole. It all started out so well but ended up horribly.
“I hit a great drive, maybe 285, 290 yards,” he said. “I had about 260 but decided to lay up. I had a wedge in but just chunked it and the wheels came off from there and I wound up with an eight.”
But, he hung in for the final hole–and the victory.
“I regrouped well and wound up with a two-putt par on 18 so at least I finished strong,” he said.
Overall he said his irons were key. “My driver was working…and then it wasn’t working,” he said. “But I was hitting my irons well and my short game was pretty good. My short game got me out of trouble a few times.”
Marty Weinberg, 72
Trevor Cross, 74
Todd Kirby, 74
Todd Roberts won for the fourth time in the last five SNGA events–and seventh time in 2019–posting a three-stroke victory in the Senior Division.
The win didn’t come easy as Roberts had to overcome a double-bogey on the par-5 17th.
“Overall the day was pretty good,” Roberts said. “I was very patient. That place is tricky.”
Roberts had a two-shot lead over Kelly Knievel heading to the par-3 16th. Roberts birdied the hole while Knievel bogeyed moving the lead to four with two holes remaining.
“We all hit good drives on 17,” Roberts said. “I hit a six-iron to lay up but put it in a fairway bunker. I took an extra club to hit it out but chunked it into the ravine. I finally found it near my cart but by that time it was too late so I went back and dropped it back in the bunker. I had the same shot again. I’m figuring I could make a 10 here. I was able to get it to the back of the green and made an unbelievable two putt from about 75 feet to salvage a double. That was the key.”
Roberts said Rio Secco is one of those courses you’ve got to respect.
“You’ve got to take some time and figure out the landing areas,” he said. “You don’t want to be off the fairways. It definitely challenges you every shot.”
Todd Roberts, 73
Kelly Knievel, 76
John Bobroski, 83
For Brian Freymueller, his first victory in an SNGA event wasn’t looking likely right from the start.
“I’m really shocked,” he said of his win. “I didn’t think with my start there was any way I’d have a chance. I was just hoping to win a skin to get some of my entry fee back.”
Freymueller admitted his start couldn’t get much worse. “I took a nine on the par-4 second hole,” he said. “Then I took a six on the par-3 third hole. I couldn’t get out of my own way.”
That start included a topped drive on the second hole. “It went into the junk and we couldn’t even find it,” he said.
It got worse. He then topped his second drive but did find that one. It was unplayable. In the end, it was a nine. He followed that up with the triple bogey but did a quick attitude check.
“I was pretty upset, but I kept my cool,” he said. “It’s something I’ve been working on. I just wanted to give myself a chance.”
A couple of pars to go along with a natural birdie at No. 8 and a net birdie at No. 9 got him back on track. “All the flared shots that were going into bad places started going into spots where I could hit it,” he said. “That at least gave me some positive momentum.”
He played the back nine in one-over (net) and wound up with a one-shot win.
“I got it going in the right direction and started playing golf like I knew I could play,” he said.
Brian Freymueller, 76
John Turk, 77
David Golder, 78
Frank Acker won an SNGA title for the fourth time in 2019, but it’s his first victory in the Silver Division after previous wins in the Senior Division.
It was Acker’s first win since May but he had five podium finishes in between victories.
“I thought I’d try the Silver Division out and see what happens,” said Acker. “I wasn’t in the Player of the Year race in the Senior Division so I thought I’d give it a shot. It’s very competitive. It was a lot closer than the score at the end.”
Acker started off hot, but couldn’t score.
“The front nine I played very well,” he said. “But I left about five putts short that were dead center. They didn’t have a chance to miss. I could have been four or five under.”
Then came the back nine.
“I hit it horribly,” he said. “I drove everything right. And not just a little right…way right. I was four-over after the first six holes but managed to birdie 18 to get it back to 39.”
Frank Acker, 74
Frank Abbott, 77
Jeffrey English, 78
Ron Clabaugh won the Silver Net crown by five strokes, his second victory in 2019. He was the only player in the division under par.
“It’s exciting to win for the second time,” Clabaugh said. “I was keeping the driver somewhere near the fairway and my putting was pretty good. But it was my short irons that were really good and they carried me through the round.”
He added keeping the ball in play certainly made for a smooth day.
“There wasn’t a lot of stress on any of my shots,” he said. “It was as easy as it gets. It’s been a few months between good rounds so I need to get out and play a little more to get more consistency in my game.”
Ron Clabaugh, 68
Mark Dopheide, 73
Greg Warner, 73