hole to edge Newport Coast resident Amit Chopra in a sudden-death
playoff Sunday in the final round of the championship flight (players
with handicaps of 2.2 and less) of the Costa Mesa city championships.
Martinez, who shot a two-day total 6-under-par 136 before going to
the playoff, became the 33rd Costa Mesa city champion, a bit of a
surprise for the 42-year-old.
"First of all, I'm not a scratch golfer," he said. "Second, this
is usually just an annual fun event with our friends -- you know, two
days of just having a good time.
"So, not only did I play better than I expected to today, but in
the playoff, I don't think I could hit the ball any better. I think
it was adrenaline."
Chopra, a Costa Mesa men's club player, tallied the same score
(68-68 -- 136) on both the Mesa Linda course (Saturday) and Los Lagos
(Sunday) as Martinez.
But after both players shot par on the first playoff hole
(528-yard, par-5 first hole on Los Lagos), Martinez broke free on the
second for the victory. His eagle putt from about 20 feet stopped a
few inches from the pin, and he tapped it in for the birdie.
Chopra had to sink a 20-foot downhill putt to continue the
playoff, but his shot went wide and rolled past the hole.
"To win any tournament for me is a big accomplishment," said
Martinez, a member of Pacific Golf & Country Club in San Clemente.
"So, I'm more of the 'Happy Gilmore' player. My swing is unorthodox.
I've got a pretty good short game, but I never played golf in
college; never played until after college. So, it's recreational for
Big Canyon Country Club member and Newport Beach resident Mike
Carpenter, who held the lead entering the final round after shooting
a 7-under 63 on Mesa Linda Saturday, was 6-under par and tied for
first heading into hole No. 15 Sunday.
But a triple bogey on the 193-yard par-3 eventually put him out of
contention, and he finished fourth (63-75 -- 138).
Carpenter, who had shot a low of 63 on Mesa Linda just once before
in his life, hit his tee shot on 15 long and right, landing on the
dirt service road near the green. He opted to play it off the dirt