8th Annual NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Championship
Aug. 15, 2014
Dormie-2 shrunk to dormie-1, and Dan Bieber was trying to figure out how to fend off match-play grinder Terry Foreman.
But when he needed it most, Bieber dug deep and piped a drive down the middle, placed his iron ideally underneath the hole, and lagged his 15-footer for a gimme par to clinch a 1-up victory in the finals of the NCGA Senior Match Play Championship at Spyglass Hill.
Bieber now has two Senior Match Play titles, tying him with Casey Boyns and Rob Thompson for the most in the eight-year-history of the championship.
“It feels great to win it again,” said Bieber, who also won in 2010. “It’s always nice to do something like that.”
Bieber and Foreman were both vying for their second Senior Match Play title. Foreman was playing in a record third straight finals, winning it all in 2012 before falling to Boyns last year.
“It was a blast,” Foreman said. “I hadn’t played the 18th hole all week. I wanted to get my money’s worth.”
Foreman certainly went down fighting. Trailing 2 down on the 17th hole, he stuck a wedge inside 10 feet and poured in the birdie putt force the match to No. 18.
“That felt good,” Foreman said. “I knew I had to make birdie, so I’m proud of that.”
Foreman tugged his drive left on No. 18 behind a tree, but smashed an impressive recovery shot through a window just short of the green. With Bieber looking at a simple two-putt, Foreman knew he needed to hole his pitch shot. It scared the hole for a while, just skipping over the edge before settling a couple feet past.
“I had a little pitter-patter when the ball went right by the hole,” Bieber said. “I thought it was going to hop right in. It was a fun match.”
Bieber and Foreman made the turn all square, with each player winning two holes on the front nine. Bieber made birdie-2s on Nos. 3 and 5, while Foreman quickly responded by winning No. 4 with a par and No. 6 with a birdie bomb from across the green.
“I had several great up-and-downs on the front nine to keep me in it,” Bieber said.
Foreman lipped out for par on No. 10 to go 1 down, but sank a 7-footer for birdie on No. 11 to bring the match back to all square. Another Foreman lip-out for par on No. 12 gave Bieber a 1-up lead, but the match turned on the tiny par-3 15th. Foreman conceded the hole after shoving two errant tee shots right.
“I felt I was still in the match on No. 15,” Foreman said. “I tried to hit a little knockdown and came right out of both of them.”
Both Foreman and Bieber had par putts inside 10 feet on No. 16, but neither converted, setting up the dramatic finish.
“I had a great week,” Foreman said. “I made it to the finals. I played some good golf. I just hope to get back in the finals again next year.”
This year’s championship was wildly unpredictable. While the two finalists had championship pedigree, Bieber was just the 13th seed in the 32-player bracket, while Foreman was the 15th seed. The top eight seeds were knocked out by the Round of 16, with Bieber taking out No. 4 Steve Wilson 2 and 1, and Foreman avenging last year’s finals loss to Boyns, bouncing the second seed 2 and 1.
“You have to stand up to every shot and every opponent, and continue to convince yourself every day that you can do it,” Bieber said. “It gets tiring. Match play certainly takes a little more out of you than stroke play.”
Photo Gallery – Finals
Aug. 14, 2014
The 13th seed will take on the 15th seed in Friday’s NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Finals at Spyglass Hill.
But this isn’t upstart No. 13 seed La Salle against Cinderella No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast.
Dan Bieber and Terry Foreman have been here before.
Bieber advanced to the finals with a 5-and-3 win over No. 9 seed Ken Noonan. The No. 13 Bieber won this championship in 2010.
“I think having won before gives you that reality that it can happen again,” said Bieber, who has won by bigger margins in each progressive match.
Foreman will be in the finals for the third straight year after beating Rob Adolph 2 and 1. Foreman won in 2012 and lost in the finals to Casey Boyns in 2013.
Foreman avenged that loss to Boyns by beating this year’s No. 2 seed in the Round of 16.
“I love match play,” Foreman said. “I like the one-on-one competition and reading other people’s shots. It just gets me pumped up. I get more excited about match play than medal. You’ve got to be so focused on that one match and your partner. I stay in the game better.”
Bieber won just 1 up in the Round of 32 against Kimble Cater, before knocking off No. 4 seed Jeff Wilson 2 and 1 in the Round of 16. Bieber then beat No. 21 Craig Ling 4 and 3 before pulling away for a 5 and 3 win Thursday morning.
“Late on the back nine I hit some really nice shots and won a couple holes,” Bieber said. “When you get 3 or 4 up, it’s easier to hit to the fat of the green. You don’t have to take as many chances.”
Bieber was 1 down to Noonan through four holes, before rattling off four straight wins. Noonan stayed within 3 down through 13 holes, but then Bieber won Nos. 14 and 15 to close out the match.
Foreman beat Steve Donnelly 3 and 2 in the Round of 32, before taking out Boyns — the winner of two of the last three Senior Match Plays — 2 and 1. Foreman then cruised to a 6 and 5 win over No. 10 Frank Pieper, before holding off the No. 22 seed Adolph 2 and 1. Adolph was the last qualifier to survive in match play, and was just 1 down through 14. Adolph nearly pulled even with a 30-foot bomb of a birdie putt on No. 15, but Foreman cooly poured in a 10-footer right on top of him to halve the hole. Foreman then closed out the match with a pair of pars.
“I’m very happy with my game,” Foreman said. “I’m swinging well. My instructor Alex Murray and I have been working hard, and I feel confident right now.”
The finals between Bieber and Foreman tees off at 7:15 a.m. Friday at Spyglass Hill.
Photo Gallery – Semifinals
Aug. 13, 2014
The Nos. 9, 13, 15 and 22 seeds are all that are left standing after three wild rounds of match play.
No. 9 seed Ken Noonan of Monterey Peninsula CC won his match over Douglas Williams in 19 holes to remain the lowest seed in the bracket. Williams had topped No. 1 seed Jim Knoll in Wednesday’s morning matches.
Noonan will face No. 13 seed Dan Bieber of Green Valley CC. Bieber has gotten progressively better during the bracket, winning 1 up, and then 2 and 1, before beating No. 21 seed Craig Ling 4 and 3.
No. 15 seed Terry Foreman had the easiest afternoon, beating No. 10 seed Frank Pieper 6 and 5. Foreman also took down No. 2 seed and defending champion Casey Boyns in the morning.
Rob Adolph is the lone player who qualified Monday and is still around, after he beating fellow qualifier and No. 19 seed Steve Schroeder 1 up. Schroeder escaped with a 1 up win over No. 3 seed Mark Miller on Wednesday morning.
The semifinal matches will tee off at 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning at Spyglass. The 18-hole finals will be played Friday.
Round of 16
It’s anyone’s championship now.
Two rounds into match play, the top eight seeds have been sent home. The Round of 16 was especially dangerous, with seven of the eight matches resulting in upsets. The only favorite to advance was the 22nd-seeded Rob Adolph, who beat the 27th-seeded Clayton Davis 7 and 6.
In the Round of 16, No. 1 Jim Knoll, No. 2 Casey Boyns, No. 3 Mark Miller, No. 4 Steve Wilson and No. 5 Ralph Costanzo all lost.
Knoll took a 2 up lead into the turn before No. 16 seed Douglas Williams played the back seven holes in 2 under to win 3 and 2.
Boyns was all square through 13 holes, but No. 15 seed Terry Foreman played even the rest of the way to close out the match 2 and 1.
Miller had the toughest match, as he battled with No. 19 seed Steve Schroeder until the final hole. No player had more than a 1-up lead, but Schroeder won it on No. 18 with a birdie.
Wilson was all square through 11 holes, but No. 13 seed Dan Bieber played 1 under the rest of the way to win 2 and 1.
Costanzo won the first two holes of the match, but trailed No. 21 seed Craig Ling by one hole going into No. 18. Ling closed out the match with a birdie to win 2 up.
Reigning NCGA Senior Four-Ball champion Frank Pieper rallied to upset No. 7 Jeff Burda. The 10th-seeded Pieper was 4 down after four holes, and remained 4 down after nine. But Pieper won seven holes on the back nine to capture a 2-up victory.
No. 9 seed Ken Noonan also beat No. 8 Scott Anderson with a birdie on the first extra hole.
Photo Gallery – Round of 16
Aug. 12, 2014
The top five seeds survived the first round of match play at Poppy Hills, but there were four upsets in the Round of 32.
The biggest player to fall Tuesday was the sixth-seeded Greg O’Malley, who was convincingly taken down 3 and 2 by Atascadero’s Clayton Davis. O’Malley lost the first two holes and never recovered, and Davis grew his lead to as big as 4 up through 13 holes. Davis shot a 79 to qualify on Monday.
No. 11 seed Ron Johnson fell to San Joaquin’s Rob Adolph 2 up, No. 12 seed Neil Duffy was knocked out by Corral de Tierra’s Ling Craig 2 and 1, and No. 14 seed Robert Olds lost to Nicklaus Club – Monterey’s Steve Schroeder 3 and 1.
James Gordon and Steve Donnelly led qualifying Monday with 73s, but they were both shut down in match play. No. 16 Douglas Williams never trailed en route to beating Gordon 2 and 1, while Terry Foreman went 1 up on the seventh hole and never looked back, winning the match 3 and 2.
This week boasts one of the strongest fields of the year, with 16 of the top 18 points leaders competing. Only No. 4 Gary Vanier and No. 8 Herb Jensen are missing.
No. 1 seed Jim Knoll is seeking his first NCGA Senior Match Play Championship, and got off to a nice start, beating Jim Collet 4 and 2. Defending champion and No. 2 seed Casey Boyns beat Michael Wiechers 4 and 3. Last year, Boyns didn’t reach the 18th hole in any of his five matches. No. 3 seed Mark Miller beat David Ujihara 3 and 1, while No. 4 seed Steve Wilson birdied the 18th hole to edge Robert Goodwin 2 up.
The most exciting match was between No. 5 seed Ralph Costanzo and Rancho Murieta’s Tom Lewandowski. Costanzo trailed 3 down through 11, but won Nos. 12, 14 and 17 to force extra holes. Costanzo won the match on the 19th hole.
The Round of 16 and quarterfinals will both take place Wednesday at Spyglass Hill.
Photo Gallery – Round of 32
Aug. 11, 2014
James Gordon and Steve Donnelly each shot 2-over 73s at Poppy Hills to lead Monday’s qualifying round and advance into the 32-player NCGA Senior Match Play Championship. Their scores were three strokes better than the 76s by Steve Schroeder, Kimble Cater and Craig Ling. The 32nd seed was decided by a four-way playoff at 9-over 80 by Ron Collet, Bob Frishette, Richard Ramsay and Dennis Dachtlet, with Collet earning the first-round match against the top-seeded Jim Knoll.
Gordon offset two bogeys with two birdies, but made a double-bogey on No. 8 to finish at 2-over. Donnelly had a similar round, with two birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10.
There were 68 players competing for the bottom 16 seeds in the field. The top 16 seeds were populated by the NCGA Senior Points list.
No qualifying player picked up more than two birdies in his round. There were just 50 birdies for the day, or 0.74 per player.
Match play will begin Tuesday at Poppy Hills, with the Round of 16 and all subsequent matched hosted at Spyglass Hill.
The new Poppy Hills played to 6,672 yards and yielded a scoring average of 84.0.
Aug. 1, 2014
Anything is of course possible, but it’s hard to not like defending champion Casey Boyns as a favorite come this year’s 8th annual NCGA Senior Match Play Championship.
Not only did the veteran Pebble Beach Golf Links caddie win last year’s event, he also won in 2011.
But it was at last year’s championship that Boyns was arguably at his best.
During match play, the Monterey resident was a wrecking ball. He won his first match 5 and 4, and then went on to pick up a pair of dominant 6 and 5 victories. Following two 4 and 3 wins, Boyns cruised into the finals, where he defeated defending champion Terry Foreman 2 and 1.
Not once during any of his match play rounds did Boyns step on the 18th tee.
“It feels good to win,” Boyns said. “Before this event I would have said I was having a mediocre year. Now that I won I would say that I am having a great year.”
Heading into this year’s championship, the four-time NCGA Player of the Year is again on a roll.
Among Boyns’ results this season are a win at the Alameda Commuters Senior Championship, a victory at the Monterey City Senior Amateur and a T-2 finish at the NCGA Senior Championship. In between it all, Boyns also advanced through a U.S. Open local qualifier at The Preserve GC in Carmel Valley, where he outplayed a number of players half his age.
Yet Boyns will also have his challengers.
While Boyns enters the championship holding the No.2 spot in the race for NCGA Senior Player of the Year, there’s No.1 Jim Knoll.
Among the Sunnyvale resident’s numerous wins this season is a victory at the NCGA Senior Championship.
The NCGA Senior Match Play Championship is one event missing from Knoll’s resume.
Others to keep an eye on include Mark Miller, Steve Wilson, Ralph Costanzo, Jeff Burda and Foreman.
Along with three wins this season (Salinas Valley, San Mateo County Senior, Manteca Senior Four-Ball), Costanzo has runner-up finishes at the Sacramento City Senior and the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship.
When he has played, Burda, who won the title in 2009, has also proven to be dangerous. Among Burda’s feats this season is a lopsided victory at the SCGA Senior Championship, a win at the Sacramento County Senior and a third place finish at the Alameda Commuters Senior.
Foreman, who came up just short in his bid for back-to-back titles last year, also returns.
Speaking of being back, there are also the championship venues. While Spyglass Hill will again host the match play portion of the championship from the Round of 16 on, the new Poppy Hills Golf Course will host Monday’s stroke play qualifying and Tuesday’s first round of match play, which will feature the top 16 on the NCGA Senior points list and the low 16 from qualifying.
On Wednesday, both the Round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place. On Thursday, it’s the semifinals, culminating with Friday’s 18-hole finale.