NCGA Master Division Championship
June 10, 2014
Moraga resident Rick Reinsberg made the most out of what is now a rare tournament appearance.
The 42-year-old, who plays out of Moraga Country Club, sank a six foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at par-72 Del Monte Golf Course Tuesday to shoot 71 and win the annual NCGA Master Division Championship by one over Brookside Men’s Golf Club member Dan Sullivan.
For Reinsberg, it’s his first Master Division crown and first NCGA title since the 2009 Stroke Play Amateur Championship. The championship also marked Reinsberg’s final event of the season.
Along with working as a estimator for Romak Iron Works, Reinsberg has two kids. As much he enjoys golf, he loves his family. The Master Division championship was only the fourth tournament Reinsberg has played in this year. One of his next stops will be acting as a soccer coach for one of his kids.
“It feels great, especially since I’m not playing that much anymore,” said Reinsberg, who finished the event with a two-day total of 6-under 138. “I’m just busy with life in general, but it’s a good thing. This win makes it sweeter knowing that’s it for this year.”
It could also be the way that he won. Having twice been caught by Sullivan on the back-nine, Reinsberg shut the door on a potential playoff on the 18th by stiffing a sand wedge from 108 yards out to within six feet of the flagstick. He’d make the putt, while Sullivan had to settle for a par and second place.
“I couldn’t see where the shot had landed. All I heard was some guys in another group tell me, ‘Good shot,'” Reinsberg said.
Sullivan, the 2013 Southern California Golf Association Player of the Year, made Reinsberg earn the win. The 47-year-old Union Bank commercial realtor, who started the final round three off the lead, didn’t just shoot a 69, but twice tied Reinsberg while the two were on the back-nine.
The first time Sullivan caught Reinsberg was on the par-3 12th when Reinsberg, following a 7-iron that flew the green, ended up four-putting for double-bogey that put both players at 5-under for the championship.
Reinsberg took a two stroke lead on the 14th with a birdie and Sullivan bogey, but on the par-5 17th Sullivan, who had earlier got a stroke back with a birdie on the 16th, made par while Reinsberg had a bogey after his second shot (from under a group of trees) ran through the green. It all set the stage for Reinberg’s putt on the 18th.
“When you’re going back and forth like we were on the back-nine, it’s like match play,” said Reinsberg, who took control of the event with a 5-under first round 67 at Spyglass Hill. “Dan played really steady. I just knew that I had to keep plugging along.”
Sullivan, who won the championship in 2010, lost an opportunity on the 17th when he blasted his tee shot right under a group of trees. He’d have to punch out, and wasn’t able to set himself up for a better approach shot.
“I wish I would’ve had a shorter iron going in on the 17th,” said Sullivan, who finished the event at 139.
The 17th wasn’t the only par 5 at Del Monte that Sullivan missed a chance on though. He wouldn’t birdie any of the historic course’s four par 5s.
“That was the big difference. I didn’t take better advantage of the par 5s,” Sullivan said. “But I wanted to make him beat me, and he did.”
Coming in third was Bayonet/Black Horse GC member Jason Melvin, who scrambled his way to a 69 to finish at 141. For the 42-year-old vineyard manager for Estancia in Soledad, the 7th hole was a summary of his day. He’d fly the green with his approach and have to take an unplayable lie. He’d then drop and chip through the green, but his next chip–from 15 feet away–fell in.
“I had a lot of birdies but also a lot of bogeys,” said Melvin, who for a while was the leader in the clubhouse. “It was just all scrambling.”
Recent NCGA Senior Championship winner Jim Knoll climbed into fourth place at 142 following a day-low 68 that featured a pair of eagles on No.1 and No.17. Monterey Peninsula Country Club member Frank Pieper, who won the NCGA Senior Four-Ball, placed fifth at 144 after a 70.
In Monday’s first round at Spyglass Hill, only Sullivan and Reinsberg broke par. Eight players broke par at Del Monte.
June 9, 2014
It’s been a bit since Moraga resident Rick Reinsberg has made serious noise at an NCGA major. On Monday, the 41-year-old did exactly that.
Reinsberg seized early control of the annual Master Division Championship (age 40 or over), posting a stellar 5-under 67 at cool and foggy par-72 Spyglass Hill Golf Course to take a three stroke lead over the field.
Reinsberg’s last NCGA win came at the 2009 Stroke Play Amateur Championship. In 2003, he was NCGA Player of the Year.
The runner-up at this year’s San Francisco City Amateur, Reinsberg nearly had a perfect day at Spyglass. He’d card four birdies and tacked on an eagle on the par-5 11th. His lone miscue of the round was a bogey on the par-4 9th.
It was on Spyglass’ par-5’s that Reinsberg did his damage. The five-time Alameda Commuters champ went 5-under for his round on the course’s four par-5’s.
In second place, coming in with a 2-under 70, is Brookside Men’s Golf Club club champion Dan Sullivan. Sullivan, who was the Southern California Golf Association Player of the Year in 2013, had five birdies on his day but also three bogeys. Each of his three bogeys came immediately after he’d birdied the previous hole.
Three players–Robert Levin, Mark Casey and Jason Melvin–are tied for third after rounds of even par 72.
Levin, playing out of Wildhawk Players Association, went two over on his front with bogeys at No.1 and No.9 and 2-under on his back-nine with birdies at No.11 and No.18. Casey, a member at Roddy Ranch Golf Club who started his day on the back-nine, opened with four birdies in first five holes to get to 4-under. The rest of the way, Casey went 4-over with five bogeys and a birdie. Melvin, a member at Bayonet/Black Horse Golf Course, had three birdies and three bogeys.
Ten players, including defending champion Randy Haag of Burlingame, are seven shots behind the leader after opening rounds of 74.
Among those joining Haag, who’s in search of his fifth Master Division win, as players at 74 who’ll need to make a big second round move are four-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns, 2014 NCGA Senior Championship winner Jim Knoll and recent NCGA Senior Four-Ball co-champ Frank Pieper.
Also in the 74 bunch are 2013 NCGA Senior Four-Ball co-champ Mark Miller, Links at Riverlakes Ranch member Shannon Chilko, Links of Paso Robles GC member Nick Kaiser, Red Hill CC member Gary Havro, Granite Bay GC member Jon Peterson and Roddy Ranch’s Steve Wilson.
Reinsberg and Sullivan were the only two players to break par. Tuesday’s second round will be held at par-72 Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey.
June 6, 2014
Record six-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag broke out of a slump, and added yet another accomplishment to his already shiny NCGA resume.
The Burlingame resident claimed a record fourth NCGA Master Division title last year, shooting identical scores of 72–at tough Spyglass Hill and even tougher Bayonet GC in Seaside nonetheless–to finish at even par 144 and edge co-runner-ups Casey Boyns, Jamie Looper and Russell Humphrey by two strokes.
For Haag, it was his first NCGA major victory since the 2011 Master Division Four-Ball. It was also his fourth Master Division (age 40 or over) win, with the others coming in 1999, 2002 and 2009.
“It never gets old winning this event,” Haag said. “It’s almost like this one is more important than the others.”
Haag’s route to the top wasn’t easy. He not only entered the final round at Spyglass Hill two shots off the lead, but was surrounded by a gang of other NCGA big names. The key for Haag would be a bogey-free, front-nine 34 with two birdies that pushed him into a tie for the lead with Humphrey.
But even the 34 hardly didn’t come easy.
On the par-5 7th, Haag found the water hazard but saved par by draining a long putt. On No.8, he somehow hit the green in regulation despite pushing his drive right into a cluster of trees.
“I was really making some pars where I probably deserved some bogeys,” Haag said. “It wasn’t a very clean round of golf.”
But it was another win.
Starting Monday, Haag, who has since joined the senior ranks by turning 55, will begin his quest for Master Division win number five when this year’s championship gets underway at Spyglass Hill.
Just like last year, he’ll have some solid company chasing him, too. Among some of those who’ll look to dethrone Haag are Boyns (who’s a four-time NCGA Player of the Year), Humphrey, recent NCGA Senior Championship winner and three-years running NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll, Jerry Ledzinski, recent NCGA Senior Four-Ball co-winner Frank Pieper and five-time Alameda Commuters champion Rick Reinsberg.
Following Monday’s first round, play will shift to historic par-72 Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey.