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Mike Combs, Roswell, GA

NAPA, Ca. – Mother Nature dealt the Society of Seniors a great hand this week in Napa after heavy rains were forecasted for the majority of the scheduled competition. A few intermittent showers fell during the final round on Wednesday, but overall it was great weather for the duration of the 8th Founders Cup at Silverado Resort.


Senior Division

In the Senior Division, Mike Combs of Roswell, Ga. won by one stroke over a hard-closing Mark Sanchez of Kentfield, Calif. Combs finished the three day event at 2-under par, 214 total. Sanchez got off to a slow start going out in 40 (+4), but played his final seven holes in 5-under, closing with 32 (-4) to apply some serious pressure down the stretch. Denver, Colo. resident Jon Lindstrom finished in third place at even par for the tournament.

“I’ve been working on some things with my swing coach, who is actually my twin brother, Jeff, helping me to pivot the correct way,” said Combs. “More importantly, after 57 years, I’m really learning that whatever happens on the shot, how to mentally just let go and keep moving forward. My ball-striking wasn’t the best, but my putting was strong all week, and I relied on getting up-and-down a good bit. I didn’t have a single three-putt, so that was huge. It was an amazing venue here in Napa Valley and I can’t wait to come back.”

Super Senior Division

Jim McNelis, Gig Harbor, WA

Jim McNelis of Gig Harbor, Wash. continued his solid play throughout the 2023 campaign as he held on for a one shot victory over Gregory Goode of Salina, Kan. McNelis finished the tournament at +7, 223 total and relied on a lot of pars in the final round as Goode did his best to chip away at McNelis’ lead throughout.

“The North Course I seem to play a little better than the South where I struggled yesterday,” said McNelis. “I played steady today, made a lot of pars and just could not get a birdie to drop and had a couple three-putts, bogeyed the last, but I guess it was good enough. I know Greg Goode was playing solid all day, so I was happy to hold on for the win under pressure. First time getting to play here in Napa and everything was great, both great courses and the staff was amazing. It’s also nice coming back close to where I grew up in the Bay Area.”

Legend Division

Rick Doebler, Fullerton, CA

Rick Doebler of Fullerton, Calif. was victorious on the first playoff hole over George Walker of Fairhope, Ala. Doebler and Walker finished one stroke ahead of Sean Forey of Morrison, Colo. and headed to the first tee for the playoff. Doebler would make par on the par four opener on the Silverado North Course to secure the win.

“My wife and I traveled together and we just had a blast here doing the wine tastings and playing golf,” said Doebler. On the golf side, I’d say I found my game ‘at times’ out here. I played pretty solid golf and was happy to come away with the playoff win. It was a wonderful week at a really nice venue.”

Grand Master Division

Ron Johnson, Arroyo Grande, CA

Ron Johnson of Arroyo Grande, Calif. took control of the Grand Master Division during the second round and relied on solid putting to finish the job on Wednesday. Johnson finished the tournament at +5, 221 total to win by three strokes over Mike Nixon of Franklin, Tenn.

“I found a putting stroke these last few days, and that was really the difference in my game this week,” said Johnson. “I hit the ball well, hit a lot of greens, and only had two three-putts on these treacherous greens. I won the last time we were here, the courses just fit my eye, and it’s just a great venue to be victorious again.”

Special thanks to the entire membership and staff at Silverado Resort for hosting the event. Specifically, Golf Operations team of Bryan Johnson and Aaron Byrd, along with Director of Agronomy David Walter. Thanks as well to Callaway Golf for their sponsorship of the Society of Seniors.