November 1, 2014
The clouds finally parted, giving way to champions Saturday at the annual NCGA Mixed Team Fall Championship at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course.
In the Chardonnay Flight (handicap index 10.0 or lower), Bayonet/Black Horse GC members Dorothy and Steve Donnelly took the title, carding a final round 3-under 68 to edge the runner-up tandem of Liz Frome and James Barnes by two strokes in a format where two competitors both tee off, with Player A then playing Player B’s ball with play afterwards shifting to alternate shot.
Coming off a first round 70, the Donnelly team posted seven birdies to go with four pars to clinch the victory. The duo’s big move came on the back-nine, where they carded a 33 thanks in part to three straight birdies on holes No.14 through No.16. For the Donnellys, who were the last group in after Friday’s first round was delayed due to inclement weather, it was their first win in five tries. Last year they finished in second place.
On the 14th, Dorothy Donnelly knocked her approach shot to within 10 feet of the flagstick, with Steve making the putt. A hole later on the par-3 15th, Steve drained a 20-footer for birdie.
“It was exciting,” Dorothy Donnelly said. “We were lucky to get going with those birdies.”
Also coming off a first round 70, Frome and Barnes would card a second 70 to finish at 140. On their front-nine, the duo made a big push with a 34 that featured four birdies and two bogeys. Frome and Barnes opened their back-nine with another birdie on the par-5 10th to get to 2-under, but had two bogeys and six pars the rest of the way.
Kelly and Jim Simpson, who jumped into the lead after the first round with a 69, fell back to third place after carding a 74.
In the Merlot Flight (handicap index 11-15), the team of Terry and Jim Knoll walked away as winners, posting a sizzling final round 8-under 63 to come in at 131, bettering the field by 11 strokes. It was the Knolls’ 10th time competing in the championship, and their first win.
Despite opening with a bogey on the par-4 1st, the Knolls went on to card a front-nine 31 that included after carding four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 9th. After making the turn, the Knolls continued the torrid pace, posting four birdies with just one bogey. Jim recently earned his record fourth straight NCGA Senior Player of the Year title. Terry carries a handicap index in the 20’s.
“The key was Jim’s play. He was phenomenal for us today,” Terry said. “This is just a really fun event for us every year.”
Placing second in the Merlot Flight, and also lighting up the scoreboard, was the tandem of Deborah and David Henry. Coming off a first round 76, the Henry team had a 66 that included nine birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey. Third place went to the team of Sally and Iain Marshall, who shot 75 to come in at 143. Following the conclusion of the first round, the Marshall squad had been tied with the Knoll team at 68.
Over in the Zinfandel Flight (handicap index 16 and over), the title came down to a sudden-death playoff between the teams of Amy and Jon Price and Michelle and Tashi Sherpa, with the Price squad getting the win with a net par on the first playoff hole (No.1). The two finished tied in regulation at 136 following a 68 from the Price team and a 67 from the Sherpa team.
For the Price team, the win was extra sweet. At this year’s Mixed Team Spring Championship, they’d be in the hunt before landing in fourth place. The Sherpa team won the 2013 Mixed Team Spring title.
“We just both kept the ball in the fairway and stayed out of trouble,” Jon Price said. “The conditions were difficult both days.”
Finishing third in the Zinfandel Flight was the tandem of Cindie Young and Mike Winkenbach, who posted a 67 to come in at 137, just a shot out of the playoff.
October 31, 2014
The annual NCGA Mixed Team Fall Championship will come down to what is hopefully a drier day.
Friday’s first round of the championship, which features three flights of different handicap indexes and was held on Halloween, was suspended until Saturday due to heavy rains that visited par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Despite the horn blowing to end play around 3 p.m., a number of players did get in their rounds.
In the Chardonnay Flight (handicap index 10.0 or under), the tandem of Kelly and Jim Simpson took the lead with a 2-under 69 that included a birdie on No.4 and an eagle on the 5th. A stroke behind the Simpson’s is the tandem of Liz Fromes and James Barnes, who shot a 70 that featured an eagle on the 10th and seven birdies. Fromes and Barnes were also slowed, however, by four bogeys and two double-bogeys.
Four teams in the Chardonnay Flight were tied for third at 72.
In the Merlot Flight (handicap index 11-15) the leaders in the clubhouse, both shooting 3-under 68, were Jim and Terry Knoll and Sally and Iain Marshall.
The Knolls’ 68 included an eagle on the par-4 1st and four birdies to go with three bogeys. Jim Knoll recently earned his record fourth straight NCGA Senior Player of the Year title. The Marshalls posted eight birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.
Tied for second at 75 were the tandems of Kurt and Josie Garcia and Mike and Jamie Caballes. Twelve groups in the Merlot Flight were unable to finish their rounds.
Over in the Zinfandel Flight (handicap index 16-up), the only team to get in their round was the tandem of Nansea Russ and Pat Goodman, who came in with a 79. Twenty teams in the Zinfandel Flight will finish their first round on Saturday.
The first round of play will wrap up Saturday beginning at 8 a.m., to be followed by the final round.