Steady Ledzinski Catches Foreman for First NCGA Title
June 16, 2015 When Jerry Ledzinski posed for his winning trophy shot, Terry Foreman gently pointed out that the Ernie Pieper Jr. Trophy was facing the wrong way.
“Hey, this is the first time I’ve won one of these!” defended Ledzinski.
Ledzinski looked the part when it counted, playing the back nine at Spyglass Hill in even par to make up a three-stroke deficit and catch Foreman, before winning the first playoff hole with a par to capture the NCGA Master Division (40 and older) Championship on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve made the papers a few times, but not because I’m Randy Haag,” said the 42-year-old Ledzinksi, who finished at even-par 143 after a 1-under 71 at Spyglass Hill. “I’ve led tournaments for the first or second round, but I haven’t been able to finish them off. But I’ve got one now. You have to have one before you get two.”
Ledzinski may not be confused with Haag, but he held off a valiant charge from the four-time Master Division champion and six-time NCGA Player of the Year. Haag shot a closing 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to finish third, two shots out of a playoff.
“The NCGA does such a great job running its championships,” Ledzinski said. “You get to play Spyglass? I mean, come on. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m ecstatic to add my name to a trophy that has a lot of great names on it, and hopefully you’ll see my name going forward.”
Ledzinski opened with a 1-over 72 at Poppy Hills, and got back to even for the championship with a birdie on No. 8 at Spyglass. He finished with eight straight pars, winning the title with a wedge on No. 10 that was safely placed to the middle of the green, leading to a two-putt par for the win. Foreman tugged his drive on the first playoff hole left into the trees, where he was stymied, and had to punch back out to the fairway. His wedge shot finished 20 feet left of the hole, and the tying par putt slid just right.
“Both days my ball-striking was really good,” Ledzinkski said. “I hit 15 to 16 greens both days. I hung in there pretty good.”
Ledzinski actually had a chance to win in regulation after he stuffed his approach on No. 18 to within 5 feet. But the winning birdie putt lipped out, sending Ledzinski and Foreman to a playoff. “I’m just trying to get a little more consistent,” Ledzinski said. “I did that this tournament, and next week is State Am, so hopefully I can parlay this into next week.”
Foreman had an outstanding first 30 holes, shooting an opening 3-under 68 at Poppy Hills that was four clear of the rest of the field. He followed that up with three birdies in this first 11 holes at Spyglass to reach 4 under for the championship. But bogeys on Nos. 13, 15, 16 and 18 dropped him back to even and into a tie with Ledzinski.
“I was 1-under par for most of the day,” said Foreman, who shot 68-75-143. “I’m disappointed. I hit it good, except for the last three holes. You just go on to the next one.” Then Foreman paused with a smirk before asking, “What’s my next one? Oh yeah, the U.S. Senior Open.”
Foreman will join Haag, Jim Knoll and Jeff Wilson and local amateurs who qualified for the U.S. Senior Open at Del Paso CC in two weeks.
“I’ve been playing really good,” Foreman said. “I’ve been hitting it good. I’m starting to score. My confidence level is really good. My rounds that I’ve been playing away from tournaments have been really good. I’m very pleased, especially going into the Open.”
After making a quadruple-bogey 8 the very first hole of the tournament on his way to an opening 77 at Poppy Hills, four-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns fought all the way back to 2 over for the championship with five birdies in his first 13 holes at Spyglass Hill. Boyns had a chance to move to 1 over for the championship with a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 14, but missed, taking the wind out of his sails. Boyns finished 77-71-148 to tie for fifth with Gary Vanier and Jon Peterson. 2010 Master Division Champion Dan Sullivan finished fourth at 74-73-147.
Round 2 at Spyglass Hill GC
Foreman Jumps Out to 4-Shot Lead with Opening 68
June 15, 2015 Terry Foreman shot out of the gates with three birdies in his first five holes, setting a blistering pace with a first-round 3-under 68 at Poppy Hills, four strokes better than second-place Dan Bieber and Jerry Ledzinski in the 34th Annual NCGA Master Division (40 and older) Championship.
Foreman won the first three Master Division Four-Ball Championships (2004-2006 with James Hay), but has never captured a Master Division individual title. Foreman would have been a great partner Monday, sinking five birdies, more than any player in the 107-player field. His 68 ties an NCGA competition low at the new Poppy Hills. Foreman is trying to become the second-oldest Master Division champion at 58. Jim Knoll was 59 when he won in 2012. Foreman’s first NCGA win came 38 years ago at the 1977 Public Links Championship. Dan Bieber, 62, won the Master Division in 2000, and could become the oldest champion by catching Foreman on Tuesday. A 15-year gap between Master Division victories would also be the largest in championship history. Randy Haag has a record four titles, with a seven-year gap between his second and third wins (2002 and 2009). Bieber and Foreman have recent history, with Bieber fending off Foreman at Spyglass Hill for a 1-up victory in the finals of last year’s NCGA Senior Match Play. Tuesday’s final round will also be played at Spyglass.
Ledzinski, playing out of Tehama GC, overcame a double-bogey on No. 13 with three birdies on the back nine to shoot a 1-under 34. He then made the turn and shot 2-over 38 on the front nine. Andy Nevin is alone in fourth after a 73. Jon Peterson, fresh off a match play appearance in the USGA Four-Ball, shot a 74 to tie for fifth with 2010 Master Division champion Dan Sullivan. Those at 75 include four-time champ Randy Haag, 1998 champ Gary Vanier, 2014 State Senior champion John Pate, 2014 Senior Four-Ball winner Frank Pieper, 1992 NCGA Player of the Year Joey Ferrari, and Poppy Ridge GC’s Gary Havro.
Round 1 at Poppy Hills GC
June 4, 2015 Rick Reinsberg made the most out of what was somewhat of a cameo appearance. Playing in what was his final event of the season, the 42-year-old Moraga Country Club member drained a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Del Monte Golf Course for a final round 71 and one stroke win over Dan Sullivan in last year’s annual NCGA Master Division Championship. For Reinsberg, it was his first Master Division crown and first NCGA title since winning the 2009 Stroke Play Amateur Championship. But it was also a farewell. Due to obligations both at work and home, Reinsberg had earlier decided to play in only four events in 2014. The Master Division was the last of the four.
“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.” How Reinsberg won it was also pretty sweet. 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, a member at Brookside Men’s Golf Club, 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, pushed Resinberg all day. 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. In what became a duel, 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. “I didn’t take better advantage of the par 5s. But I wanted to make him beat me, and he did.” While Sullivan returns to this year’s championship, Reinsberg is not in the field.
Another big difference with the 2015 championship will be the venues. A year after being held at Del Monte and Spyglass Hill, the event returns to Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hill. As for those who’ll join Sullivan in looking to hoist the trophy, the field will be loaded. Among those slated to tee off in the 36-hole championship are Casey Boyns, Randy Haag, Jim Knoll, Terry Foreman and Jerry Ledzinksi. Boyns already won this year’s NCGA Senior Championship and NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship playing with Foreman. Haag, Knoll and Foreman all just recently qualified for this year’s U.S. Senior Open at Del Paso CC in Sacramento. Ledzinski, meanwhile, recently finished T-4 at the NCGA Four-Ball Championship playing with partner Jeff Britton. Haag will be looking for his record fifth Master Division title. The Olympic Club member has previously won the event an unprecedented four times (1999, 2002, 2009 and 2013). Knoll is the oldest player to win, having captured the title in 2012 at the age of 59. The championship is open to players age 40 or above. Monday’s first round will tee off at 7:30 a.m. at Poppy Hills.