Erickson, Roberts, Carpendale, Frey, Amihara, Erickson Win Henderson Am Titles
Craig Erickson (Championship), Todd Roberts (Senior) and Gary Carpendale (Silver) won gross titles at the 2023 Henderson Amateur Championship. Ayden Frey (Net), James Amihara (Senior) and Fritz Herrmann (Silver) captured net titles in the tournament held May 20-21, 2023, at Legacy GC.–by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider
Craig Erickson had back-to-back rounds under par, posting scores of 69-70—139, in winning the Championship Division by three strokes.
Over the two days, Erickson had seven birdies and an eagle.
Erickson last won an SNGA event at the 2021 Clark County Amateur.
He said he loves golf and the competition, but his priorities have shifted in the last few years.
“I schedule tournaments around my kids,” he said as he raced to a championship baseball game that his son, Ace, was playing in. “This was a last-minute tournament for him. I missed an early game (Sunday) and if I wouldn’t have played well the first day in this event I probably would have withdrawn. I’m glad I won. It kind of makes it worth missing the first game.”
He said the tournament was two solid days of golf.
“I hit almost every fairway,” he said. “I almost always drive the ball well and I also didn’t take any penalty shots. I didn’t give up any free shots. That’s my game.”
He said he may not play as much golf as he would like, but he takes it in stride.
“I was playing two rounds of fun golf,” he said. “I don’t get out as much but I still get to play at a high level. My game doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. I practice when I can but I just try to hold my game together the best I can.”
Craig Erickson, 69-70—139
Brett Sodetz, 73-69—142
Paul Mushkin, 72-72—144
Ayden Frey played a four-hole stretch in four-under-par coming down the final nine to win the Net title by two strokes.
It was Frey’s first title and this one was a family affair as he joins his dad, Greg Frey, as SNGA winners. Greg won his most recent title in late 2022 during a year where he posted two victories.
Over the four-hole stretch in the final round he had an eagle, two birdies (one natural and one net) and a par to take control.
“I played an SNGA event last year and was second but that’s the only other one I’ve played in,” he said.
He made his second tournament count with the victory.
“I was getting worried,” he said. “I kept checking the live scoring and saw I was dropping down a little. I put my phone away and just went back to playing my game.”
Then came the par-4 14th and his net eagle.
“I was down by two and coming off a bogey,” he said. “I knew I was getting a stroke and this was one of the tougher holes. I hit my tee shot into a bunker and hit it to about eight feet and made the putt.”
He said he was definitely worried about the bunker shot.
“It was about a 60-yard shot,” he said. “Those are tough and I don’t practice them a lot. You can chunk it and leave it in the bunker or blade it and hit it over the green. There’s a fine line between the two and I managed to hit a good shot.”
After the round, dad and son had a chance to celebrate.
“I just came in and saw him,” Ayden said. “He had a big smile on his face and gave me a high-five and said great job.”
Ayden Frey, 70-71—141
Robert Taylor, 73-70—143
Scott Flanigan, 73-70—143
Todd Roberts birdied four holes in a five-hole stretch on Saturday en route to a four-stroke victory in the Senior Division.
It was Roberts’ first victory of the season in five events as he has three seconds (one of them a scorecard playoff loss) and a third to go along with this victory.
“It was definitely time,” Roberts said. “It was my personal best for two rounds, nine-under, so that was solid.”
He credited an equipment change as a factor in his play.
“I changed putters after the last tournament because I was putting so bad,” he said. “I didn’t make a ton of putts but hit it close and made the eight-and-nine footers I felt I really needed to make.”
He said the change was a simple choice.
“I went into my closet and had one putter in there,” he said. “I pulled it out and used it a couple of weeks ago and made a lot of putts and then stayed with it.”
He said following the two days, he’s happy with the way his game is coming around.
“Although putting isn’t a weakness I would like to have made a few more putts,” he said. “I had a ton of putts from 15-18 feet that I would have liked to make. I’m also shaping the ball both ways right now and that really helps out my game.”
Todd Roberts, 67-68—135
Jay Grybowski, 69-70—138
Glenn Hogle, 70-70—140
James Amihara had three net eagles in the first round and rode that momentum to his first SNGA win.
It was Amihara’s first SNGA event after having moved here two years ago.
“I had a lot of bogeys but made some birdies to offset them so that felt good,” he said.
He said he didn’t know what to expect coming into the tournament.
“About a month ago I hurt my wrist and then I had a groin injury so I’m kind of injury-ridden right now,” he said. “So I just tried not to overdo it and play within myself and it worked out pretty well.”
He said in the end it was the putting that really helped.
“The putting was really good (Saturday),” he said. “I made a really long one for par and then made a couple of 10 footers for bogeys that could have easily been doubles so those kind of saved the round.”
He said he will be playing in more SNGA events as the year goes along.
“I moved here from Hawaii and wanted to get back into competition here,” he said. “I signed up for this one and it was a definite confidence-booster.”
James Amihara, 70-70—140
David Koch, 73-73—146
James Atkinson, 75-73—148
Gary Carpendale made it three straight victories in SNGA play with a 12-stroke win in the Silver Division.
Carpendale finished the final day with 11 straight pars following a three-hole struggle where he was four-over-par.
“I putted so bad,” he said. “It was frustrating. I was struggling and it never occurred to me that I was that far ahead. I was just trying to fix my problems. It seemed like everyone was struggling. But I managed to keep it together.”
In the end, there was a highlight about the two days.
“I hit the driver really well but other than that I didn’t do anything very well,” he said.
He said he’s trying to reign in a few problems…including injuries.
“The game is pretty good…despite this weekend…but a lot of it comes down to my knees,” he said. “I’m wearing braces on both of them and that limits how much I can practice and how much I can play.”
But he said he can certainly take time to check out the putting game.
“Getting out and doing some work on putting won’t hurt the knees,” he said with a laugh.
Gary Carpendale, 70-76—146
Bryan Link, 72-86—158
Ernie Alaan, 84-77—161
Fritz Herrmann had a net eagle each day as he won for the first time in SNGA play, posting a four-stroke victory.
For Herrmann, it’s been a long and grueling road to just be able to play golf again…let alone compete.
“I was out of golf for six years,” he said. “I had a back operation, two neck operations and a knee replacement. I was out for a long time and never thought I would be able to compete at this level again.”
He’s played in four SNGA events this year, all of them in the last three months.
“I thought I was done with golf,” he said. “The first two months of this year were brutal. The last month everything started to click and this weekend everything came together.”
He added he’s proud of this win.
“This is the best I’ve ever played,” he said. “For me, golf is everything. To this day, I love the atmosphere, the beauty, the wildlife…the game.”
He said he knows there’s still work to be done.
“I was getting off the tee well,” he said. “And I chipped and putted well. But my irons…I hit them terrible. But it’s a process and I’ll keep working at it.”
Fritz Herrmann, 70-72—142
Loren Little, 69-77—146
Tony Troilo, 76-73—149
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