LA QUINTA, Calif. -- While the Championship and Sarazen flights came down to a playoff, it was the Palmer flight (4.0-7.9 handicaps) that had the most players in the mix down the stretch. In the end, it was Johnny Frink, from Fair Oaks, Calif., who took home the trophy by one shot over David Barker. Mike Joaquin's blistering even-par round of 72, good for medalist honors by four shots, put him in a tie for third with Ava Lourenco.
Frink, from the Sacramento area, won his two-day local Tour Championship in August, which gave him confidence heading into Nationals. But after finishing T-36th in the 2011 Nationals at La Quinta, his goals were to simply finish Top 20. But after finding himself in the lead after day one, expectations were raised.
It was difficult to comprehend,' said Frink. 'But I thought I might have a shot at this thing.'
Frink feared the Norman Course most of the four at PGA West, and after shooting a second round 80 that put him in sixth place. But as tough as he thought the Norman would be, no one was prepared for the afternoon winds that picked up just as the leaders were settling into the front nine.
'It was brutal out there,' he said. 'Pars were going to be few and far between. The conditions were enough to take anyone off their game. You had to lower your expectations.'
Grinding out a win in such tough conditions made the victory all that more fulfilling for Frink and the rest of the winners on Wednesday.
'I'm still in shock,' he said. 'I can't believe it. It was a grueling four days and I'm just happy I'm still standing.'
Hogan flight is all Capps
Kevin Capps won the Hogan flight by five shots at PGA West.
The Hogan flight (8-11.9 handicaps) wrapped up on the Norman Course at PGA West, and Kevin Capps used a steady front nine with no big numbers to pull away from the field and win by five shots over Johnny Galarza.
Capps, from Santa Clara, Calif, coaches his son's baseball team in the spring before ramping up his competitive golf schedule in the summer. Between June and August, he competed on Am Tour every weekend and managed one victory and nine other top-5 finishes.
At Nationals, Capps overcame an 87 in the second round with 76s in the first and third rounds before carding a final round 83. He finished 37th in the 2012 Nationals at TPC Sawgrass.
'This is top of the list,' said Capps. 'To come out here and compete against guys from all over the place. there's a lot of great competitors out here.'
Ed Lewis, from Currie, N.C. won Hogan flight medalist honors in the final round with a tidy 75 to finish T-25.