Schneiter wins 2012 Socorro Open
The unusually calm weather at the 2012 Socorro Open continued on Friday and Saturday, and Steve Schneiter took full advantage of it on his way to claiming this year’s first place trophy.
The Sandy, Utah, resident posted three straight sub-par rounds last week, including a 70 on Thursday, a 67 on Friday and a 69 on Saturday, just edging out runner-up Nicholas Mason by two strokes.
Mason, a Denver resident, held the lead by three strokes going in to the final round, but his 2-over-par performance on Saturday opened the door for Schneiter, who was three shots off of the lead after Friday’s second round.
Schneiter used a familiar blueprint to navigate the course at New Mexico Tech, which can be challenging for some golfers due to it’s relatively short length.
“I putted good, and you’ve got to position,” Schneiter said. “You can’t really overpower this golf course, or else anything can happen. You can make a double like that.”
Schneiter finished the tournament with a total score of 206. Mason finished with an open total of 208, and Cheyenne, Wyo., native Klinton Krieger used a red hot third round score of 64 to sneak into the third place slot. Krieger was 11 shots off the lead going into the final round, but finished with an overall score of 209.
Other notable finishes in the professional division were Socorro’s Miguel Griego, who came in tied for seventh; Albuquerque’s Coy Sanchez, who tied for 15th; and Elephant Butte’s Henry Stetina, who finished in 20th place.
The 2012 Socorro Open Senior champion, Dan Koesters of Las Cruces, finished the Pro tournament in 11th place with a score of 217.
In the Amateur Championship Flight, Albuquerque’s Zach Fullerton took home the first place trophy for the second consecutive year.
Fullerton shot a 6-under-par 64 during Thursday’s first round, and then put up scores of 71 and 72 in the final two rounds to easily hold on for the win. His Socorro Open total score of 207 was the tournament’s second best, and his first-round 64 was matched only by Krieger’s third-round 64.
Fullerton approached the course this year in a manner very similar to Schneiter’s, and their nearly identical scores were proof that it can be a winning formula.
“Putting is really what saved me,” Fullerton said. “I played position golf this time around, especially on my 64. Everything was right where I wanted it.”
In second place in the Championship Flight was Silver City’s Brendan Shannon, who shot a 223, and Socorro’s Richard “Chick” Griego finished in third with a total score of 228.
In the Open Amateurs division, Johnnie Infante of Las Cruces finished first in Flight 1 for the second consecutive year with a score of 209. Socorro’s Roscoe Woods won Flight 2 with an impressive score of 206, and Jordan Martinez, also from Socorro, finished on top of Flight 3 with a three-round total of 212.
Socorro High School’s Kristen Cline won the Junior Flight with a two-round total of 151.
In the highly publicized Elfego Baca Shoot from atop “M” Mountain, Socorro’s Dennis Walsh took home the first place prize with a score of 14.
Despite the outcome of any of the particular divisions, 2012 was another successful year for the Socorro Open and New Mexico Tech Golf Course. The six-day-long tournament is widely regarded as one of the state’s best small tournaments, and year after year it attracts new golfers and brings back an assembly of familiar faces.
“This is as good of a little tournament that I play in all year, every year,” Schneiter said. “I think they do a great job. They welcome us, take care of us while we’re here. Feed us. They do it all.”