Poppy Hills GC
June 13-15, 2012
June 15, 2012
by Spencer Sorensen
PEBBLE BEACH – Casey Boyns and Mark Miller didn’t post the number they were looking for on Friday, but as it turned out it was still enough to come from behind and win the 14th Annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship. Having started the day five shots off the lead and in a tie for second place, Boyns and Miller thought they would need to post a 64 to have a chance to win. Well, they came awfully close, shooting a seven-under 65 instead, yet won rather easily taking a three-shot margin of victory after posting a 54-hole total of 199, 17-under par.
Teeing off last at 9:50 a.m. with first and second round leaders Mel Collins and David Ujihara, Boyns and Miller made up ground quick with a Boyns’ birdie on the first hole, while their playing partners bogeyed, cutting the lead to three. Then a birdie by Miller on the par-5 fourth cut the lead to two. The fifth hole proved to be critical as Boyns chipped in for birdie, taking away any momentum Collins and Ujihara thought they may have had coming their way with a birdie of their own. After another birdie on the eighth cutting the lead to one, Boyns and Miller took their first lead on the par-5 ninth. With Collins in trouble, Ujihara was on the back of the ninth green in two shots with a long eagle putt ahead as the hole was located at the front of the green. From there Ujihara four-putted his way to a bogey, while Boyns and Miller converted their fifth birdie of the day for a front-nine 31.
After getting back into a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-5 10th, Collins and Ujihara bogeyed on the par-3 11th, and lost their lead for good. Boyns and Miller made two birdies coming in on holes 12 and 18 for their back-nine score of 34, while Collins and Ujihara finished with a final round 73.
Interestingly enough on Wednesday right before their opening round Miller was uncertain if he had a partner. With Boyns not at the first tee when play began, Miller had to play the hole alone as Boyns arrived mid-hole, joining him for play on the second hole.
“To sum up the tournament, my partner didn’t show up on the first hole, but he showed up on the last and that’s what matters,” said Miller, who added a second NCGA Senior Four-Ball title to his resume with today’s win. “Casey hit it really well today.”
Boyns, added yet another NCGA major to his playing resume, this is his ninth unique NCGA major championship and 16th overall. However, he is quick to deflect all of the credit his way for this major title.
“In reality you need both guys playing well,” said Boyns. “You need to be freed up on your birdie putts, knowing that your partner is in the hole with a par.”
Besides the top two teams, this year’s defending senior four-ball champions Jim Knoll and Jeff Burda saved their best golf of the week for Friday’s final round. Knoll and Burda carded a seven-under 65 with seven birdies on the day to jump up the leaderboard and finish alone in third place at 203. Joe Beato and Gregory Saiki finished in fourth at a 54-hole score of 205, while Terry Foreman and Tony McBroom rounded out the top five with a score of 206.
June 14, 2012
by Spencer Sorensen
PEBBLE BEACH – Fresh off tying the lowest 18-hole score in the history of the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at Poppy Hills GC, the pairing of Mel Collins and David Ujihara followed their first-round 63 with a second-round 66 to continue their stronghold on the top spot.
Starting off the No. 1 tee, the group had a steady front nine that included birdies on the third and fifth holes to go with seven pars. After rounding the turn Collins and Ujihara picked up the pace with an eagle on the par-5 10th hole. Birdies on Nos. 13, 15 and 16 brought their round to a close at six-under. Their lone blemish on the card was a bogey on the par-4 14th.
Collins and Ujihara’s 129 total places a five-shot cushion between themselves and the field heading into the last round of play. Mark Miller and Casey Boyns stepped into a tie for second with Joe Beato and Gregory Saiki. Like the leaders, Miller and Boyns also eagled the 10th, which happened to be their first hole of the day, en route to carding a 67-67–134. Beato and Saiki used six birdies in their round to post a 66-68–134 and share second. After suffering a bogey setback at the 16th, the pair recovered their stroke by capping off the day with a birdie on 18.
A tie for fourth has Tony McBroom and Terry Foreman along with Scott Anderson and Gary Vanier one stroke behind at a 135 total after two days of competition. McBroom and Foreman had an impressive four consecutive birdies in the round.
Only one bogey-free card was seen on Thursday, belonging to Rob Adolph and Doug Johnson. After their consistent performance, Adolph and Johnson stand in sixth with a 69-68–137. Low round of the day honors were claimed by Frank Pieper and Chip Campion’s 65. The duo started on No. 10 and rolled off a birdie-birdie-birdie tear before finishing with eight birdies and one bogey on their card, good for a tie for 10th.
The cut, which includes the top 30 and ties, was set at one-over par 145. Some teams biting their nails for the final cards to come in included the pair of Mike Flood and Stan Lefrak. After starting their round on the 10th tee, Flood and Lefrak finished strong with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes to squeak in with a 74-70–144.
Others that were not so lucky included Ben Whipple and Sherman Haggerty and Tom Lyons and Marshall Raymer. Coming in one stroke away from qualifying for the final round, each team bogeyed their closing hole of competition to miss the mark. Also of note, three-time champions Bob Berg and Rob Thompson (2005, 2007, 2008) fell just shy of the cut with a 70-76–146.
Collins and Ujihara are on pace to set a record score since the championship was expanded to three days in 2006. The previous high-water mark of 67-63-66–196 was set by Mark Miller and Herb Jensen. The remaining 30 teams will be re-paired by score and the final round begins Friday at 7:30 a.m.
June 13, 2012
by Spencer Sorensen
PEBBLE BEACH – Mel Collins and David Ujihara came out firing on all cylinders Wednesday for the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at Poppy Hills GC. The duo tied the lowest 18-hole score in the event’s history, posting a score of 63, nine-under par. Starting off on the 10th tee, the duo made back-to-back pars before a barrage of birdies started coming their way. On the par-5 12th hole with another par looking imminent Collins chipped-in for birdie off the front of the green.
“From there we just started rolling,” said Collins of the importance of the shot.
Sure enough birdies followed on the 13th and 14th and then to close out the nine on Nos. 17 and 18 for an immaculate front-nine score of 31. But they didn’t slow down at all as they opened their back nine with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, to make it four consecutive birdies, and seven in 11 holes.
“Some days you have momentum and you lose it, but today we were just lucky to keep it going,” said Ujihara.
The only semblance of losing momentum came between Nos. 3 and 7, where the duo went cold—by their day’s standards—settling for five straight pars. The two got back on track though as they finished with birdies on the eighth and ninth for a bogey-free 63.
“It was just one of those days where everything seemed to work for us,” said Collins.
In general scores were particularly lower than last year as 27 teams shot under-par with 13 of those scores being four-under or better. Last year after the first round of the championship only six teams broke 70 as three teams had a share of the lead at four-under 68. This year a four-under 68 was good enough for a seven-way tie for seventh place.
Joe Beato and Gregory Saiki played exceptionally well today, firing a six-under 66 to put themselves alone in second. After a birdie on their opening hole, the par-5 10th, the two reeled off 10 straight pars before they saw their next one. Then their last seven holes Beato and Saiki converted three birdies (Nos. 3, 4 and 8) and finished fashionably with an eagle on the par-5 ninth.
In a four-way tie for fifth place after posting 5-under 67s are 2011 runner-ups Casey Boyns and Mark Miller, Bob Fleming and Peter Moren, James Duncan and Ray Kong, and Rich Gleghorn and Jeff Newkirk. The teams of Boyns and Miller and Gleghorn and Newkirk carded bogey-free rounds with five birdies and 13 pars, respectively. Fleming and Moren had six birdies and one bogey in their round, while Duncan and Kong had five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the day.
Defending champions Jeff Burda and Jim Knoll posted a first round score of three-under 69 to find themselves in a tie for 14th place. Currently 32 teams are at even-par 72 or better. At the conclusion of tomorrow’s round a 36-hole cut will be made with the low 30 teams plus ties qualifying for Friday play. Players will tee off Thursday at 7:30 a.m. with first round leaders Collins and Ujihara teeing off of No. one at 9:20 a.m.