The Straight Down Fall Classic annually attracts a field of PGA Tour winners and elite amateurs, but club pro Scott Heyn and his undersized amateur partner, who also serves as a PGA Tour caddie, have proven almost unbeatable at San Luis Obispo Country Club.
Heyn and amateur Corby Segal are the Straight Down Fall Classic champions for the third time in five attempts thanks to a back-nine 31 that featured three birdies and an eagle. All three of their wins have come since 2012.
Segal and Heyn finished at 16-under 126 after shooting a best-ball 64 on Sunday. They finished three shots ahead of PGA Tour Champions winner Ken Tanigawa and his amateur partner, Jim Strickland.
The champions were tied for the lead at the turn but made three birdies and an eagle on the final nine holes.
The Straight Down Fall Classic is a 36-hole scratch pro-am, best-ball event that has been played since 1997 at San Luis Obispo Country Club. It is sponsored by Straight Down, a locally-owned golf clothing company.
Segal and Heyn’s winning total ties the lowest score in Fall Classic history, though lift, clean and place was in use both rounds and San Luis Obispo Country Club’s par-4 ninth hole played as a par-3 because of wet conditions.
Heyn is the general manager of The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Segal, of Santa Clarita, California, is currently caddying for former Cal All-American Brandon Hagy on the PGA Tour.
“All three wins are so special,” Heyn said. “For a PGA pro like myself and an amateur like Corby, we don’t get a lot of chances to play against some of these amazing players who play golf for a living and are really good at it. It’s a lot of fun to spend time with them and hang out with them, and it’s really exciting to play well and beat them.”
Tanigawa and Strickland shot 67 on Sunday to finish in second place. Tanigawa, who won his first PGA Tour Champions title earlier this year, was making his Fall Classic debut. Strickland won the event two years ago with former PGA Tour winner Bryce Molder.
Gary McCord and Drew Stoltz shared third place with former PGA Tour winner Paul Stankowski and Brad Payne. Both teams shot 64-66. Conrad Shindler, who played on the PGA Tour in 2018, and Warren Vickers tied for fifth with former PGA Tour winner Jason Gore and Kevin Marsh. The two teams finished at 11 under par.
Stewart Hagestad, the 2016 U.S. Mid-Am champ, and Tom Gardner shot Sunday’s low round, an 8-under 63, to finish in seventh place with Cal Poly golf coach Scott Cartwright and Phil Mickelson’s younger brother, Tim.
Gardner won the low club pro award for his seventh-place finish. Hagestad, who was making his Fall Classic debut, is headed to the 2019 Walker Cup team’s training session later this month in south Florida. He played the 2017 Walker Cup at Los Angeles Country Club. Hagestad is the world’s 15th-ranked amateur after advancing to the Round of 16 at this year’s U.S. Amateur and the semifinals of the U.S. Mid-Am.
Heyn and Segal started the final round tied for the lead with Tanigawa and Strickland after both teams shot 62 on Saturday. They remained deadlocked when they arrived at the 10th tee.
Heyn made a 40-foot eagle putt on the par-5 to take a one-shot lead. It wasn’t the last long putt he would make on the back nine, as he and his teammate never relinquished their advantage.
The two teams matched birdies on the next two holes and pars on Nos. 13 and 14.
Segal and Heyn both missed the fairway on the uphill, par-4 15th hole. Heyn had to pitch out of the trees. He hit his third shot just short and right of the green. He holed another putt of approximately 40 feet to save par.
He made birdie on the next hole after hitting a wedge to 12 feet. That birdie gave his team a two-shot advantage with two holes remaining.
Segal’s sand save on the par-3 17th maintained their two-shot lead heading to the final hole. They parred the hole while Tanigawa and Strickland made bogey.
“Anyone watching us play today would have been giggling and saying, ‘I don’t know how they did that again,’” Segal said. “Today was the prototypical ham-and-egg performance.”
For Segal, the Fall Classic continued a successful 2018. He won the Kelly Cup at Lakeside Country Club and finished second at the Southern California Mid-Am and third at the Southern California Amateur.
Segal and Heyn won the 2012 Fall Classic in their debut as a team. They won their second title three years later and added a third in 2018.
“We trust each other and we know each other’s games. We’re comfortable with each other and we don’t try to do too much,” Heyn said. “I hit it a little farther and he putts it so great.”
It’s proven to be a perfect combination.
–Provided by Sean Martin