For Immediate Release August 5, 2012
Trever Esko posts ironic Western Golf Alliance Open victory at iconic Pebble Beach
Final hole, plus great par 3 play, produce a new first-time winner
PEBBLE BEACH, California. Never in the history of the Western Golf Alliance Open has the winner of the opening "par 3" contest gone on to win the main event. Of course, when Trever Esko choked during the par 3 contest, no one would have assumed that would bode well for a championship run.
However, over the next three days, Esko went NET 8 under on the par 3s - including two "NET aces" on the epic 7th hole at Pebble Beach - to position himself for a one stroke victory in the 2012 Open.
"All weekend long, I just felt great standing on a tee with an iron in hand," said Esko. "Especially on the Pebble Beach course, I just believed over and over again that I could attack these pins and then try to keep myself out of trouble on the longer holes. That I was able to hold on at the end really made my golf achievements complete."
Despite playing great on the par 3s, the tournament came down to the final holes. Esko entered the final round with a 4 stroke lead over defending champion Brian Gray, but Gray was not going to give up the title easily. Gray shot a stellar front side at Spanish Bay and caught Esko on the 9th hole, then took the lead outright on the 13th hole. Esko evened the standings back up on 15, and the score remained tied until 18 where Esko's NET par bested Gray's NET bogie for a one stroke victory. This was the first time since 2004 that the WGA Open was tied going into the 72nd hole of the tournament.
From the very beginning of the Open, most of the other competitors struggled to keep pace with the leaders. Down the stretch, Peter McGarry and Mark Herms had a strong head-to-head battle for third place, but both were well back of the leaders. Other competitors were never on top of their games, some due to injury. Two of the players - Mark Taylor and Mike Contois - in fact remained in the competition despite serious knee injuries, with both deferring impending surgery in order to compete at Pebble Beach.
"It is unfortunate that I wasn't really physically able to perform during this championship, as I felt I had a legitimate shot at the title this year," said Contois. "However, I just couldn't withdraw from an event at such an iconic golf destination as Pebble Beach. You can bet I'll be ready to take a run at the title in 2014," Contois added.
In summarizing how great Pebble Beach is as a golf venue, perhaps the winner said it best. "We all dream of joining the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Bill Murray by winning a golf championship at Pebble Beach, but to have won this major title is really even beyond my dreams," concluded Esko.
Final standings - Top 3:
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/.