Kim, Knievel, Dopheide, Pham, Bobroski, Troilo Win Mesquite Titles
Raymond Kim (Championship), Kelly Knievel (Senior) and Mark Dopheide (Silver) won gross titles in the 2023 SNGA Mesquite Classic. Andy Pham (Net), John Bobroski (Senior) and Tony Troilo (Silver) were net champs in the tournament held April 29-30, 2023, at CasaBlanca GC in Mesquite. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider
Raymond Kim won an SNGA event for the first time as he works toward taking a shot at playing in the professional golf ranks.
“I haven’t played that many SNGA events and it’s nice to get a win,” he said. “And it certainly helps my confidence.”
Kim graduated from high school in California in 2019 and was going to give pro golf a shot right out of high school until COVID shut everything down.
Now he’s working on his game after having moved to Vegas for a couple of reasons.
“In California it’s a lot harder to get out to play and it’s a lot more affordable to play here than back home,” he said. “Plus I’ve met quite a few other players who are on the same level I am and it’s nice to go up against that level of competition.”
He said the difference between his first and second rounds, which was five shots, was putting.
“The ball-striking was pretty much the same both days but Saturday I just didn’t make any putts,” he said. “Today, on the second, third and fourth holes, I made 10-15-foot birdie putts that got me to three-under through the first four holes. That’s exactly the start I needed.”
He kept up the pressure on the back nine as he had three birdies over his final six holes.
“I just wanted to keep the pressure on,” he said. “I wanted to keep the pedal to the metal.”
Now with a win under his belt, he’s happy with the direction of his game…especially on the greens.
“I made a lot of putts I needed to make including a couple of four-or-five foot putts for par,” he said. “When those start going in, it really boosts your confidence.”
Raymond Kim, 72-67—139
Justin Penor, 71-69—140
Andrew Yeh, 68-75—143
Andy Pham got into the winner’s circle for the first time as he posted nine net birdies during the first round (15 over the two days) in winning the Net Division title.
Pham has been plagued with a hand injury that he is considering have surgery on.
In fact, he used his wife’s driver so he wouldn’t swing as hard during the tournament.
“I was just trying to swing easy,” he said. “I was trying not to injure my hand. I just tried to play as good as I could. And my short game was pretty good both days.”
His goals were simple: “If I made a bogey, I wanted to come back and make a par,” he said. “I just came out to have fun and hoped my game came to me.”
Andy Pham, 67-72—139
Ryan Bolton, 72-73—145
Samuel Frey, 69-77—146
Kelly Knievel had four birdies in a six-hole stretch to open his final nine holes on Sunday as he held on for a one-shot victory in the Senior Division.
It was Knievel’s first win of 2023 after winning twice in 2022.
He said the key to his win was two-fold.
“I didn’t have any three-putts the whole weekend,” he said. “And the other guys struggled and made it a little easier on me.”
He was six-shots behind heading into the second day.
“When you’re behind, you’ve got to make every shot count,” he said.
He said some of the positive results in his golf game have come with a change in his lifestyle.
“I quit drinking six weeks ago,” he said. “And that’s worth three or four shots a round for me. My brain now has a whole lot more patience.”
He said he had similar results a few years ago.
“I quit a few years ago and won half the tournaments I played,” said Knievel, the son of the late Evel Knievel. “Then I started drinking again and wasn’t winning. It’s pretty obvious that my game is better.”
Kelly Knievel, 72-71—143
Todd Roberts, 77-72—149
David Koch, 79-71—150
John Bobroski overcame a front-nine struggle during the second round and posted a two-stroke win in the Senior Net Division.
Bobroski opened with a sizzling net 65 (including an eagle, five natural birdies and a net birdie) in winning for the second time in 2023.
But it was his nine-hole stretch to open the final day that stuck with him. He had six bogeys and a double bogey in the nine-hole stretch.
“I really don’t know what happened,” he said. “I didn’t have a nervous feeling or anything like that. I just had three three-putts, three balls in the water and a shank.”
He rebounded on the back nine with three birdies over his final five holes.
“I made some putts and just started hitting it better,” he said. “I think it’s that simple. I went back to the basics and started swinging like I was swinging Saturday.”
Ah, yes, that Saturday round.
“That was a solid round of golf for me,” he said. “I was putting for birdie or eagle on every hole. There were a couple of holes where I was off the green but still putting.”
He said the bottom line was the par 5s.
“I was four-under on the par 5s on Saturday and two-over today,” he said.
With his two victories, he said his game is pretty solid.
“I just want to keep playing the way I’ve been playing,” he said. “My game is coming around.”
John Bobroski, 65-77—142
Artie Miller, 76-68—144
Jeff Coppens, 75-71—146
Mark Dopheide birded the final hole to come away with a one-stroke victory in the Silver Division.
It was his first individual title since 2020. He did team up with John Kelley to win a two-man team event in 2022.
He’s the first to admit his win in Mesquite became quite the struggle down the stretch…especially after faltering on the 15th and 17th holes on Sunday.
“It was a fiasco,” Dopheide said. “I triple bogeyed 15 and then I triple bogeyed 17 to almost give the tournament away. I did birdie 18 so I was happy to finish that way.”
The day started out at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Dopheide played the first four holes in five-under-par with an eagle and three birdies.
“I’ve never played a stretch of golf like that,” he said.
He went to the 15th hole with a five-shot lead but was just two ahead on the 16th tee after his first triple bogey. A par there moved the lead back to three before his second triple bogey had things all tied heading to the 18th tee.
“I wasn’t in a good place,” he said. “I just told myself ‘What is going on?’ I told myself to just hit a good drive. And I did. I told myself to hit a good shot into the green and I did. Then I made the putt.”
In the end, he still kept his sense of humor.
“At least I made it entertaining for everyone,” he said with a laugh. “Well, for everyone except me.”
Mark Dopheide, 72-73—145
Patrick Woerner, 73-73—146
Dan Parkinson, 72-74—146
Tony Troilo put up 10 net birdies and one natural birdie over the two days en route to a win in the Silver Net Division.
It was Troilo’s first win of 2023 after winning once in 2022 and twice in 2021.
Six of those birdies came during the first round as Troilo came out hot.
“I played really well the first day,” Troilo said. “I had just one bogey and, for me, that’s good.”
He said the final round was tough…for everyone.
“I was leaking a little oil coming in today but it seems like everyone was leaking oil,” he said. “I just tried to grind it out today.”
He said his focus made it a little easier.
“My brother said I concentrate more in tournaments,” he said. “On the back nine I had 220 yards left into a par-5 and laid up. If I was playing with my brother, I would have gone for it. I guess that’s why, before this weekend, I had three rounds in the 90s.”
He said the warm weather and the victory have him optimistic about his summer.
“It’s going to be a busy summer,” he said. “With my son (17-year-old Xavier) playing a lot of baseball and me playing golf, I don’t think I have a weekend off. There will be a lot of baseball trips and rounds of golf.”
Tony Troilo, 67-72—139
Bruce Chamberlain, 71-72—143
John Kelley, 76-70—146
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