Charles Costello, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Phoenix (Ariz.) Country Club, survived a challenge from one of the largest fields in tournament history and one of America’s toughest golf courses to win his first Golf Course Superintendents Association of America National Championship Tuesday at Torrey Pines’ South Course in San Diego.
A 17-year member of GCSAA, Costello fired a two-day total of 3-over-par 147 to edge out three other players who finished at 4-over-par 148. All told, 104 players took part in the National Championship flight, which was a part of the broader GCSAA Golf Championships, which attracted over 450 players to five San Diego area golf facilities for a variety of competitions. The event is presented in partnership with The Toro Co.
Costello was among a trio of players tied for the lead following the tournament’s first round with scores of 1-over-par 73 on the course that hosts the annual Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour and was the host for the 2008 U.S. Open. And early in the second round, he maintained his steady level of play while competitors around him began to succumb to the challenges of the South Course.
The Arizona superintendent held a two-shot lead going into play on the tournament’s final hole, but he spun his approach shot into the water that fronts the 18th green on the South Course and had to settle for a bogie on the hole. That opened the door for eventual runner-up David Buckles, the superintendent at San Diego’s Carmel Mountain Ranch and a 27-year GCSAA member, who had a short birdie putt to tie Costello. However, the put slid just past the hole, giving the title to Costello.
Joining Buckles at 4-over-par 148 for the tournament were Scott Fogg, superintendent at Queanbeyan Golf Club in Ngunnawai, Australia, and defending champion Michael Stieler, GCSAA certified golf course superintendent at Riverbend Golf Club in Madera, Calif. Buckles wrapped up the senior division title in the National Championship with his performance.
Matt Cielen, superintendent at Warren Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind., also made news during the GCSAA Golf Championships with his hole-in-one during play in the second flight at Aviara Golf Club on Tuesday. He won round-trip airline tickets for two with his ace on the 122-yard, par-3 third hole at Aviara.
Complete tournament results are available by visiting http://gcsaa.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/gcsaa13/event/gcsaa131/index.htm.