It’s official, and the 2021 two-day SNGA tournament season is underway with Danny Tiscareno (Championship), Jim Pliska (Senior) and Steven Fink (Silver) winning gross titles at the 2021 Primm Valley Amateur. Claiming net titles were: Michael Godfrey (Net), Colin McTernen (Senior) and Loren Little (Silver). –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
The tournament was held on the Tom Fazio-designed Lakes Course at Primm Valley Golf Club on Feb. 20-21, 2021.
Danny Tiscareno, a sophomore at USC, is playing as many tournaments as he can as he works on his game in the hopes of making the Trojans’ golf team.
So far, so good.
Tiscareno, who is from Seattle, played in his first SNGA event and came away with a two-stroke victory.
“It was my first time at Primm Valley and after the practice round I love the course,” he said. “I just had a feeling I might win.”
His win has boosted his optimism he will play for USC.
“I’m pumped up,” he said. “All of the hard work is paying off and I’m gaining more and more confidence in my game and that I will make the team. I feel this win is long overdue.”
He opened with a two-under-par score the first round in the howling winds.
“Wind can intimidate some people,” he said. “But everyone’s playing the same course in the same conditions so it’s a level playing field. Some people count themselves out but someone’s got to win the tournament.”
He added his game-plan was simple with the testy conditions.
“I didn’t try any risky shots,” he said. “And I tried to stay patient. When you try risky shots that’s when you can start losing strokes. I stayed with my game plan really well.”
Another highlight in the Championship Division came when Marco Trstenjak, who wound up second, aced the par-3 17th on Sunday en route to a five-under-par 66. The score was 12 strokes better than his opening round.
Danny Tiscareno, 69-73—142
Marco Trstenjak, 78-66—144
Mason Snyder, 72-73—145
Mick Godfrey’s win in the Net Division gives new meaning to an up-and-down round, especially on the second day. It was his fourth SNGA title overall.
Godfrey was cruising on the front nine, putting six net birdies and three pars on the scorecard and appeared to be coasting to the title. But on the back nine, he had a smorgasbord of scores–an eagle, a birdie, five bogeys and two double bogeys–as he struggled home to a one-stroke victory. He didn’t have a par on his back nine.
“I usually play the back nine well and not the front nine,” Godfrey said. “Today I played the front nine really well and tried to throw it away on the back nine.”
He said despite the struggles, his putting was the key.
“If not for my putting I wouldn’t have been in it at all,” he said. “I had a lot of one and two-putts and that’s what kept me going.”
He did post a net eagle on the 14th hole which brightened his mood…for a few minutes.
“That net eagle gave me hope I could hold on and win,” he said. “But over the last four holes (three bogeys and a double bogey) I definitely tried to prove myself wrong. Thankfully the front nine won it for me.”
Mick Godfrey, 76-71—147
Michael Haas, 80-68—148
Joe Benson, 77-72—149
Jim Pliska fired a one-under-par 70 in the second round that included two birdies and an eagle and won the Senior Division title, his first SNGA victory.
“My second hole (No. 11) I had about 90 yards in and ended up holing it for an eagle three and that got me going,” he said.
He added his play this weekend was solid despite the wind.
“It was blowing hard, especially on Saturday,” he said. “I thought I played pretty well but if you hit it in the wrong place, you can easily make a bogey or a double bogey. (Sunday) it was probably blowing about 15 miles an hour but after yesterday, it didn’t seem like it was blowing at all and the scores showed.”
Jim Pliska, 77-70—147
Sean Mulvenon, 75-77—152
Robert Futrell, 76-77—153
Colin McTernan put 12 birdies (10 net and two natural) on his scorecard over the two days but had to hold on to win the Senior Net crown.
Colin McTernan, 73-74—147
Brian Freymueller, 75-73—148
Gordon Schiring, 81-71—152
Steven Fink admits he won the Silver Division title in the first round which was highlighted by severe wind.
“There’s no question I won it on Saturday,” Fink said of his one-under-par round. “I don’t know why but my distance control was unbelievably good in that wind. It was a rare day.”
He held a five-shot lead, posting five birdies, nine pars, three bogeys and a double bogey for his one-under-par score.
The second round was less dramatic as he posted a two-over-par 73 and won by seven.
“(Sunday) was fun,” he said. “I had never had a five-shot lead. I tried to play conservative. I didn’t go for some shots I normally would have to just try to avoid any big scores.”
Overall he said his work with a couple of instructors has sharpened his game.
“I’d like to thank Clif Vanetti and Craig Barlow,” he said. “Clif (at Highland Falls) has helped me with my setup, alignment and things I’m working on. And I’ve taken a few lessons from Craig (at Reflection Bay). He’s a former PGA Tour guy and he’s helped me with my short game and the mental side. He’s encouraged me to be patient and he said there would be a time when everything works.”
Steven Fink, 71-73—144
Frank Acker, 81-70—151
David Kim, 79-73—152
Loren Little put 13 net birdies and two net eagles on the scorecard over the two days and won the Silver Net Division title by four shots.
“I don’t know what to say,” he stated. “I’ve been having trouble breaking 100 my last few tournaments so this was a great event.”
He said he knows the problem with his game and it’s one many players face.
“I just don’t have a long game anymore,” he said with a laugh. “So I gave up on it and started working on my short game and putting. It’s paid off. Today I was putting out of my head.”
He said his final round didn’t start out the way he planned.
“I was four-over-par through the first two holes,” he said. “But then I started hitting greens and making putts. It was par…par…par. I got back to playing steady golf.”
He said he’s won one SNGA event the past four or five years.
“I just always want to qualify for the Tournament of Champions,” he said. “It’s a great event and they always have a good buffet.”
Loren Little, 71-67—138
David Kim, 74-68—142
Al Kueker, 73-74—147