Marc Engellenner of Lincoln made a smashing success in his Arbuckle Golf Club championship debut Sunday.
The one-time professional used his wealth of experience to shatter par and enhance his crowded trophy case.
He dethroned defending champion Thomas Steinhoff of Arbuckle, 4 and 2, with a 5-under blitz in Sunday’s 18-hole finale to complete a dominant weekend.
“He was in command,” said Steinhoff, winner of five of the previous six championships. “I didn’t put up much of a fight. Hats off to Marc.”
After a blistering 3-under-par 69 in qualifying Saturday, Engellenner ousted Bobby Martinez, 2 and 1, with subpar golf in the semifinals. Steinhoff qualified third at 75, behind former champion Derrick Strain at 72 and ahead of Martinez at 77.
Engellenner is the reigning champion at Catte Verdera in Lincoln, has won two titles at Morgan Creek in Roseville, one each at Turkey Creek in Lincoln and Rio La Paz in Nicolaus plus two titles on the Pepsi Tour.
The 43-year-old insurance agent, who works in Grass Valley, turned professional a year after high school and played minitour events from 1997 to 2009 before regaining his amateur status. He marvels at the caliber at the pro level.
“I’ve done significantly better as an amateur,”he says. “I love the game. It’s easy now with no pressure. The Arbuckle greens are my favorite. They are the best within 100 miles. It’s so reasonable and a fun place to play.”
He met some of the Arbuckle golfers in Sacramento area events, accepted an invitation to come north before joining the club three years ago.
In Sunday’s finale, Engellenner birdied all four 5-pars with his booming 300-yard drives.
“It’s always fun to see good golf,” Strain said
Johnny Mike Vawter won the net title for the first time since high school five decades ago. The 21-handicapper topped Jeff Thomas, 5 and 3, in the finals.