Marcus Mullins (Championship), Gary Carpendale (Senior) and Steven Fink (Silver) captured gross crowns at the 2021 SNGA Championship. Greg Pyszko (Net), Jeff Coppens (Senior) and John Kelley (Silver) came away with net titles. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
The event was held March 13-14, 2021, at Golf Summerlin’s Highland Falls and Palm Valley courses. Golf Summerlin is the official home of the SNGA.
Marcus Mullins, who is now on the hunt to play college golf after leaving the UNLV PGM program, won for the second time in SNGA play.
Mullins, a graduate of Mojave High School, won the Championship Division by three strokes.
It was a six-hole stretch–four holes to finish out the first day and two holes to start the final round–that keyed the victory.
He birdied three of his final four holes on Saturday and birdied his opening two holes on Sunday.
“Playing those last four holes that well gave me a lot of momentum for (Sunday),” he said. “And I kept that momentum going. I came in nervous but that first birdie (Sunday) calmed me down and I was comfortable from there.”
This was his first two-day event victory and he said the win proved a lot to him.
“I’m really stoked right now,” he said. “Just a couple of weeks ago, I was hitting it bad and had no confidence. This weekend, I proved to myself I can hold the lead and keep the gas pedal down.”
Marcus Mullins, 70-72—142
Brett Sodetz, 75-70–145
Craig Erickson, 76-72—148
Greg Pyszko used a net eagle on the 12th hole on Sunday to stabilize his round en route to a three-shot victory in the Net Division.
Pyszko had a net round of six-over-par on Saturday before rallying for an even-par round of 72 on Sunday to claim his second SNGA title.
The eagle played a big role in that even-par round but it was the final couple of holes that made all the difference.
“I played pretty solid (Sunday),” he said. “I didn’t get myself into too much trouble. I went into the day thinking I didn’t have much of a chance so I wasn’t paying attention to the scores. Then my playing partner asked me on 17 if I wanted to know where I stood. I said, sure. He said ‘You’re in first place.’ I was kind of surprised and that made the next couple of holes a lot more interesting.”
He parred No. 17 and said a break on 18 proved to be the difference.
“I hit my tee shot into the sand,” he said. “I hit the second shot thin and it went to the back of the green. There’s water behind the green so I got lucky it didn’t roll into the water. I chipped it up and two putted for bogey and wound up winning it.”
Greg Pyszko, 78-72—150
George Wolf, 79-74—153
David Haddock, 78-75—153
Gary Carpendale, the winner of the Senior Division in the 2020 Las Vegas Senior City Amateur, made it two victories in the last three majors…this one by eight strokes.
“I don’t play enough to be in the points race so the majors are my focus,” he said. “Winning this one makes me feel good.”
Carpendale added his work on the greens was the key.
“I putted real well,” he said. “I know it’s a tough place to putt because these greens are very fast. I kept the ball in play and putted very well. I just tried to stay focused.”
He had a huge lead after day-one and tried to keep his approach to the final round simple.
“I birdied the first two holes (Sunday) and that relaxed me,” he said. “After that, every par I made it was a win for me. I played it very safe. Par was my friend.”
Gary Carpendale, 69-70—139
Todd Roberts, 75-72—147
Kelly Knievel, 78-71—149
Jeff Coppens won his first SNGA title, winning the Senior Net title by five strokes.
Coppens had a previous best of runnerup–twice–in 2020 events.
“My challenge has always been on the greens,” Coppens said. “And today I sorted it out and putted better than I usually do and the score came down.”
He added it’s nice to see his work on putting pay off.
“I’m really trying to work on developing a putting stroke that can handle the pressure,” he said. “It’s just something I know I’ll have to keep working on.”
Jeff Coppens, 76-69—145
Jim LiCausi, 77-74—151
Ron Siskey, 74-77—151
Steven Fink had a roller-coaster ride in winning his fourth event in 2021, three individual titles and a team event with Doug Pool.
In fact, Fink hasn’t lost in 2021.
“I’m just going to enjoy the ride while I can,” he said. “You just never know what tomorrow might bring.”
He improved his score by 10 shots over the two days and said the reasoning was simple.
“(Saturday) was very windy and difficult,” he said. “Highland Falls in the wind is very challenging and I had trouble controlling the ball. Today it was the complete opposite. I hit it very well and never got into any trouble.”
Steven Fink, 77-67—144
Frank Ellenburg, 81-73—154
John Garrett, 80-76–156
John Kelley, who won the Net title at the 2020 Clark County Amateur in November, picked up his first victory in 2021.
He said putting was the key, but not in the way one might expect.
“I didn’t make a lot of putts for birdies but my lag putting was very good,” he said. “I felt like I was lagging 20-foot putts all day but I was comfortable with them.”
Overall, he said his game still needs some work. But, good news for him, he now has time to hit the range and the course.
“I just retired about three weeks ago so I’m getting to play and practice more,” said Kelley who owned a sign and graphics company. “Let’s hope that has something to do with my playing a little better.”
John Kelley, 76-74—150
George Yocum, 72-79—151
Steve Liggett, 77-77—154