May 22, 2015
Partners Casey Boyns and Terry Foreman were stunned. So too was the team of brothers Jim and Douglas Williams, and everyone else who saw it for that matter.
Staring directly at what appeared to be an inevitable sudden-death playoff, Boyns and Foreman instead escaped with a win at the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship on Friday when Jim Williams missed a putt from less than a foot for birdie on the 18th hole at par-71 Poppy Hills golf Course.
Doug Williams also had a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th to tie Boyns and Foreman in regulation, but his putt stopped short of the cup.
Golf is known to have its ups and downs, but in this case it was simply cruel.
“We played well Thursday and hung around today. We didn’t deserve it,” Boyns said. “I feel bad for Jim.”
Boyns has been there before himself. In 2013, the longtime Pebble Beach appeared to have his first Senior Championship title locked up. But that was before a disastrous quintuple-bogey 10 on the par-4 14th at Spyglass Hill. He’d go on to lose in a sudden-death playoff to Gary Vanier.
“I didn’t even look. I just heard the reaction,” said Foreman of Williams’ miss. “I was shocked. I figured we’d be going to a playoff.”
Through the 16th hole, all signs pointed to a Boyns and Foreman victory, as the two forged a two-shot lead over the Williamses and a three-shot lead over their next nearest competitors, the tandem of Jim Knoll and Gary Vanier.
But then the craziness started. Playing in a group ahead, Knoll and Vanier got to a total of 8-under when Vanier sank a 10-foot putt for eagle on the 18th.
Back on the par-3 17th meanwhile, the Williamses, who had been 1-over up to that point, got back to even par and within one of Boyns and Foreman with a birdie.
With Knoll and Vanier already in the clubhouse at 8-under after a day-low 67, it all came down to Boyns and Foreman and the Williamses at 18.
Boyns reached the greenside bunker in two but had to settle for par. Foreman reached the fringe off the green and chipped to within 13 feet of the flagstick but also had to settle for a two-putt par, giving the two a 70 and total of 9-under 204.
On the Williams’ side, after laying up Douglas knocked his third shot to within 7 feet of the cup. Jim, meanwhile, had reached the green in two, leaving himself a 25-footer for eagle and the outright win. After barely missing his eagle try, Jim looked set to tap in for birdie to force extra holes. But he’d miss, with Douglas missing minutes later for a 71, leaving them tied with Knoll and Vanier for second at 205.
“We just couldn’t make anything,” Douglas said afterwards. “I’d been playing well coming in and so too had Jim, so we liked our chances.”
Just a few weeks ago, Jim Williams, a former USGA Executive Committee member, competed in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the Olympic Club with his son, Scott. They’d miss the cut for match play by a stroke.
For Friday’s final round, the Williamses had their mother, Janie, acting as their caddie.
“Whatever we did today I know it was good with her,” Douglas said. “It was nice to play with my brother. We were looking good on 18, but that’s golf.”
For Boyns it’s his second NCGA Senior Four-Ball title (he won in 2012 playing with Mark Miller) and 19th overall NCGA title. Foreman, retired from law enforcement, picked up his first NCGA win since the 2012 NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Championship. He too has had his heartbreak moments, finishing runner-up in each of the last two Senior Match Play events.
“It was fatiguing out there. I had to dig deep the last few holes,” Foreman said. “But it’s nice to win, That’s what you strive for, to win the NCGA events.”
It was the first time that Boyns, a California Golf Hall of Famer, and Foreman had teamed up. They were supposed to play together in the championship a few years ago, but their plans fell through.
“It was hard today. Terry made the birdies and I made the pars,” Boyns said.
“It was a pleasure playing with Casey,” Foreman said. “Today he was either on and I was off or vice versa.”
Boyns and Foreman and Knoll and Vanier were the only teams to break par. Poppy Hills played to a stroke average of 78.11 for the final round of the Senior championship.
Defending champions Mike Staskus and Frank Pieper took fourth at 209 after a final round 71.
The inaugural NCGA Super Senior Four-Ball Championship also came down to the 18th.
Former U.S. Senior Amateur champ Kemp Richardson reached the green in two from 215 yards out using a 5-wood and two-putted for birdie, giving he and partner James Myers a one-stroke victory over runner-ups Dennis Younglove and Kent Powell.
Richardson and Myers had a final round 72 to finish at 3-under 210. Younglove and Powell had a 71.
“We stumbled in. After the front-nine, we really stumbled in,” Richardson said.
“We didn’t have any big blow up holes,” added Myers. “We weren’t very steady today but overall we were mostly steady.”
Greg O’Malley, who competed in the Senior championship, aced the 17th using an 8-iron. It was the second ace on the hole in two days (Earl Stewart aced it Thursday).
May 21, 2015
It’s all about the final round now.
The teams of Casey Boyns and Terry Foreman and brothers Jim and Douglas Williams will head into Friday’s final round of the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship holding a three stroke lead over the rest of the field, but there’s also a number of other teams that are still in the mix.
Boyns and Foreman made the biggest move in Thursday’s second round at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course, posting a stellar 6-under 65 that moved the duo into a tie for first with the Williamses at a 36-hole total of 8-under 134.
Boyns, who won the recent NCGA Senior Championship, and Foreman, who finished third at last month’s Alameda Commuters Championship, made their charge thanks to sensational play on Poppy’s tougher front-nine.
The duo first got going by carding an eagle on the par-5 4th. Following a par on No.5, Boyns and Foreman took off, penciling in four straight birdies from holes No.6 through No.9 for an nine hole score of 30. After making the turn, the two added another birdie on the 14th before finally cooling off with a bogey on the par-5 18th. The round enabled Boyns and Foreman to climb three spots up the leaderboard.
While Boyns and Foreman were busy doing their thing, the Williamses, who were coming off an opening 66, posted a 68. Douglas, who’s from Southern California, and Jim, who’s from Orinda, got to a total of 8-under after birdying the 9th for a front-nine 33. They’d tack on another birdie on the par-5 10th, but then had to settle for pars before bogeying the 17th. The two, whose bogey on 17 was their first of the championship, finished their day with another par on 18.
Foreman and the Williamses are going for their first Senior Four-Ball victory. Boyns won the title in 2012 playing with Mark Miller.
While the two squads will enter the finale with a three-stroke edge over the field, there’s still a number of teams that could make a move should they go low.
In a tie for third at 137 are the tandems of Dennis Dachtler and Craig Gandy and Joe Beato and Bill Storey.
Dachtler, who won the Plumas Lake Senior Amateur, and Gandy went from an opening 71 to a 66 to move up the leaderboard. The two stumbled with an early bogey on No.3, but then birdied five of their next 10 holes.
Beato and Storey, who’d opened with a 69, went one shot lower, carding a 68 that featured five birdies and two bogeys.
Only four strokes behind the leaders at 138, meanwhile, are the formidable teams of defending champions Frank Pieper and Mike Staskus and Jim Knoll and Gary Vanier.
Pieper and Staskus, who shot a championship record 62 en route to winning last year’s championship at Saddle Creek Resort, followed up an opening 70 with a 68. Knoll, whose won NCGA Senior Player of the Year honors each of the last four years, and Vanier, who won the recent San Francisco City Senior title, also went from 70 to 68 to put themselves in contention. Vanier won the 2013 Senior Four-Ball, also playing with Miller.
In at 139, five behind the co-leaders after matching rounds of 68, are the tandems of Greg O’Malley and Ralph Costanzo and Scott Anderson and Steve Wilson.
Over in the inaugural Super Senior Championship, the tandem of 2001 U.S. Senior Amateur champ Kemp Richardson and James Myers are the ones to catch. The duo posted a 2-under 69 to get to 4-under 138, good enough to take a two shot lead over the teams of Dennis Younglove and Kent Powell and Herb Jensen and Thomas O’Grady.
Younglove and Powell also shot 69, while Jensen and O’Grady, who had shared the first round lead with Richardson and Myers, slipped backwards with a 71.
At six strokes behind the Super Senior leaders are the tandems of Bob Olds and Ron Johnson (72) and Jeff Early and Bob Rowland (71).
The day saw also saw a pair of aces. Jim Ono of San Jose got a hole-in-one on the 11th hole, while Fairfax resident Earl Stewart aced the 17th.
The cut line (low 22 and ties) in the Senior Four-Ball came at 3-over 145. The cutline (low 8 and ties) in the Super Senior Four-Ball came at 4-over 146.
Friday’s final round will tee off at 7:30 a.m.
May 20, 2015
It was two brothers who made the early move.
Doug and Jim Williams grabbed the first round lead at the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship on Wednesday, posting a stellar 5-under 66 at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course.
The duo will enter Thursday’s second round holding a one-shot lead over the tandem of Tim Grunsky and Conrad Nilmeier, who also had a great day, shooting 67.
Doug, who hails from Southern California, and Jim, who’s from Orinda, went mistake free, carding five birdies with zero bogeys.
Earlier this month, Jim competed in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with his son, Scott. The two missed the cut for match play by a stroke.
Nilmeier, a member at San Joaquin CC and Grunsky, who plays out of Stockton G&CC, had one bogey on the par-3 2nd, but the duo played the rest of their round at 5-under with five birdies.
Two shots off the lead after an opening 68 is the tandem of Harding Park GC member Greg Zipp and Sunil Bhalla of Ruby Hill GC, who penciled in four birdies and a bogey.
Among those within easy striking distance of the leaders are the teams of Casey Boyns and Terry Foreman and Joe Beato and Bill Storey, who each shot opening 69’s to sit at T-4.
Boyns, a four-time NCGA Player of the Year, won this year’s NCGA Senior Championship title back in March. Foreman has also had a solid spring, finishing third at the Alameda Commuters Senior and taking 10th at the NCGA Senior Championship.
Three teams are tied for sixth at 70 including defending champions Mike Staskus and Frank Pieper and the tandem of record four-time defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll and San Francisco City Senior champ Gary Vanier.
In the inaugural Super Senior Four-Ball Championship, the tandems of Kemp Richardson and James Myers and Herb Jensen and Thomas O’Grady each grabbed a share of the lead after coming in with matching 69’s.
Richardson, winner of the 2001 U.S. Senior Amateur, and Myers posted three birdies and a bogey. Jensen, who won last year’s NCGA Super Senior Championship, and O’Grady racked up five birdies but also three bogeys.
Alone in third place is the tandem of Dennis Younglove and Kent Powell, who posted a 71.
Following Thursday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 22 teams and ties in the Senior Flight and 8 teams and ties in the Super Senior Flight advancing to the final round.
May 12, 2015
Longtime friends Frank Pieper and Mike Staskus had a revelation while winning last year’s NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship.
Not surprisingly, it came during the second round while the two were on their way to carding a championship record score of 10-under 62 at Saddle Creek Resort in Copperopolis.
“We were like, ‘Hey, we need to play together more,’” Pieper said.
In what was their first time playing together as a team, Pieper, a member at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and Staskus, a member at the Olympic Club, proved to be a dynamic duo.
They’d finish the 54-hole NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship with a total of 19-under 197, just one stroke off the championship 54-hole record total score of 196, set in 2006 by Mark Miller and Herb Jensen. The result was a two-shot win over the runner-up tandem of Greg O’Malley and Ralph Costanzo, who had opened the event with a then-record first round 63.
It was the first NCGA win ever for both Pieper and Staskus. Pieper’s father, Ernie Jr., is an amateur legend in the Golden State, having won among other events the California State Amateur Championship (both in 1941 and 1944).
“This is a big win for me,” Pieper said. “I’ve won some NorCal events but never an NCGA event, so this one is special.”
The biggest key for Staskus and Pieper was the 62. Over what was a magical back nine, the duo posted eight birdies for a 29, and that included a bogey on the par-5 13th. Pieper closed out the round with four straight birdies.
“We just got so hot in the second round. We started making birdies and it just didn’t stop,” Pieper said. “We really mished them and mashed them.”
That they did, and they did it when they needed to. After the first four holes of the final round, O’Malley and Costanzo, who had started the day two strokes behind, got within one of the leaders.
But then Pieper and Staskus rediscovered their touch. From the 5th tee to the 18th, Pieper and Staskus went 5-under, while Costanzo and O’Malley only went 2-under.
“We were both just playing really well. If someone hit a shot where they were out of the hole, the partner came through with a great shot,” said Staskus, sounding as if he was describing the recipe for four-ball success.
Beginning Wednesday May 20, Staskus and Pieper will look to make it two in a row when the 17th NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship tees off at par-71 Poppy Hills.
But they’ll again have company.
Among some of the other teams slated to tee off in the championship are the tandems of Casey Boyns and Terry Foreman, Jim Knoll and Gary Vanier and Dale Bouguennec and Miller.
Boyns, a four-time NCGA Player of the Year, won this year’s NCGA Senior Championship title back in March. Foreman, meanwhile, has also had a nice 2015—winning the Salinas City Match Play, finishing third at the Alameda Commuters Senior and taking 10th at the NCGA Senior Championship.
Knoll, the record four-time defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year, won the Alameda Commuters, while Vanier won the San Francisco City Senior for the third time.
As for Bouguennec , he’s made noise this year by winning two events and reaching the quarterfinals of the S.F. City Senior. Miller, meanwhile, is a three-time winner of the NCGA Senior Four-Ball, having won each of the three crowns with a different playing partner.
Along with the move back to Poppy Hills a year after playing at Saddle Creek and Greenhorn Creek, this year’s NCGA Senior Four-Ball will have another big twist.
For the first time ever, a Super Senior Four-Ball Championship will be held at the same time.
Players in the Super Senior Four-Ball who are slated to compete include Super Senior points leader Herb Jensen and partner Thomas O’Grady, Ron Johnson and Bob Olds and Rob Thompson and Bob Berg.
Thompson and Berg are no strangers to knowing what it takes to win the NCGA Senior Four-Ball. The duo holds the record for most team titles with three, having won in 2005, 2007 and 2008.
Wednesday’s first round will begin at 7:30 a.m. Following Thursday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 22 teams and ties in the Senior Flight and 8 teams and ties in the Super Senior Flight advancing to the final round.
Only teams that make the cut will get points for Senior and Super Senior Player of the Year purposes.