There was some grumbling among the losers that the course was too short, that its emphasis on accurate iron play and putting was what brought the best players back to the field.
"I'm not buying," said Hannigan. "I think the field is much deeper in pretty good or quality players than it was five or 10 years ago." Cochran did not buy the excuse, either. "It's a good course for the seniors," he said. "The more you play it the more you realize it's harder than it looks. It takes all the shots and the greens are slick and fast and hard to read."
The final match was far from the best golf of the tournament, particularly on the front nine, but the confrontation of the two 60-year-old northern California golfers, the retired oil man and the working pharmacist, Stanford '36 vs. Cal '37, was sociologically satisfying. Both men bogeyed two of the first three holes, and though Colm began to settle down after that and made the turn two over par, Stimac bogeyed four more and was four down after nine. "I had been butchering the first nine all week," said Stimac later. "I felt I had to get even if I was to have any chance of winning. But he was too steady."
The gallery of 46 people, eight carts, two bicycles and a poodle that set out in the early morning fog with the finalists swelled as the day grew warmer. Riding with Colm as his caddie was Ernie Pieper (pronounced peeper), a pear rancher whose long and illustrious career in California amateur golf includes victories in the Santa Clara County championship in six—count 'em, six—different decades. Stimac's caddie was Morgan Barofsky, a pal from Walnut Creek, who paired with George Bayer to tie for first in the 1965 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. As Stimac began to run out of holes on the back nine, Barofsky cursed the Fates that kept his friend's long birdie putts from falling and looked as though he might cry.
The pair halved the first four holes on the back nine, parring every one. On the 14th, a par-3 with an elevated tee and a pond to the right of the green that is inhabited by a flock of perpetually angry geese, Stimac, who was four down with five to go, missed a long birdie putt. But Colm, whose putting had been commendably steady since the early holes, missed a six-footer for par. Stimac was still alive, if barely. Then on the 15th, a 363-yard dogleg par-4, Colm hit the beautiful six-iron approach that slammed the door. When he sank the final putt, he modestly touched the bill of his black-and-white checked cap as his friends and neighbors applauded. A new champion had been identified.