May 10, 2015
The message that Davis residents Ben Corfee and Scott Raber got from their moms on Mother’s Day was, ‘Win a title for us.’
The two ended up fulfilling the requests.
Corfee and Raber shot a final round 6-under 66, coming alive on the back-nine, to hold off a slew of challengers and win the 49th annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship on Sunday at par-72 Spyglass Hill.
The duo, who defeated co-runner-ups Matt Cohn and Nick Moore and Jason Anthony and Randy Haag, finished the 54-hole event at 17-under 199, just two shots off the championship record for low winning score.
“It’s fun,” Raber said. “Doing it with one of your good friends makes it even better.”
The two, who grew up on the same street in Davis and have known each other since around age four (their parents are friends), took control of the event with a stellar 64 in Saturday’s second round that gave them a three-shot lead entering the finale.
They’d win the title by playing their final 10 holes at 6-under.
But it wasn’t easy, at least early on.
Following their only bogey of the day on No.6, Corfee and Raber suddenly found themselves tied with fellow final foursome mates Jerry Ledzinski and Jeff Britton of Tehama Golf Club, who had started their round by going 3-under through six.
Also charging in groups ahead were Moore and Cohn and the tandem of Haag and Anthony.
“That bogey hurt, but we knew it was still early,” said Corfee, a 20-year-old red-shirt junior at UC Davis. “We figured if we could get to 68 someone else was going to have go really low.”
Ledzinki and Britton’s brief run would end on the 8th when they made bogey. A hole later on the 9th, Corfee and Raber, 22, got another shot back from Ledzinski and Britton when Corfee knocked his 9-iron approach shot to within 3 feet of the pin for an easy birdie.
After making the turn, Corfee and Raber, who formerly played at Chico State, went on a charge of their own. The two were flawless on the back-nine, carding a bogey-free, 5-under 31.
On the 10th, Raber hit his approach shot to within 8 feet of the flagstick. He never had to putt after Corfee drained a 25-footer for birdie.
“At that point we knew we were back in position,” Corfee said.
Ledzinski and Britton never made another run, going 1-under on the back-nine for a 69 to finish T-4.
“I was hoping we’d get into a match play situation on the back-nine,” Ledinzski said. “It was disappointing not to be within a shot after making the turn. But they (Corfee and Raber) found their rhythm and played well. They’re not just good players, they’re good guys. They deserved to win.”
Cohn and Moore, who won the recent NCGA Public Links Championship, did their best to try to make things interesting. The duo started their round by going 4-under through seven, but from there they’d tack on only two more birdies, posting a bogey-free 66 to come finish T-2 at 202.
“When we got to 4-under through seven, we thought we’d be able to keep it going,” Cohn said. “It didn’t happen for us on the back-nine.”
Also finding Corfee and Raber’s three-shot lead insurmountable was the tandem of Anthony and Haag. The two rang up eight birdies en route to a day-low, bogey-free 64 and were temporarily the leaders in the clubhouse before also finishing T-2.
With a win, Haag, would’ve won a record fifth Four-Ball title. The six-time NCGA Player of the Year, has won four previous titles, two each with different partners (Darryl Donovan and Bob Blomberg).
Two-time defending champions Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler, who were looking to become the first team to win three titles and three in a row, slipped to T-12 after a 72. The two had entered the final round four behind Corfee and Raber.
“The last two days we just missed everything,” said Stieler, who was also battling a bum right knee. “We had a good run. We’ll go for it again next year.”
Joining Ledzinki and Britton at T-4 was the tandem of 2005 champions Rick Reinsberg and St. Mary’s head coach Scott Hardy, who had a final round 67.
The teams of Vernon McCalla Jr. and Tyler Archer and 2012 champs Russell Humphrey and James Watt finished T-6 at 206.
Raber and Corfee played perfectly as a pair. Over their last 36 holes, they’d go 15-under with just one bogey. Their 15 birdies during the span were nearly split in half, with Corfee getting one more.
The two estimated that Raber missed only five fairways over their 54 holes.
“I just tried to be straight and then let Ben, who’s longer off the tee, bomb away,” Raber said. “We both just really played well.”
Well enough to sniff the 54-hole championship record score of 197, set in 2003 by Todd Barsotti and Jeff Wilson and matched in 2004 by Jason Boyd and Scott Gordon.
May 9, 2015
Scott Raber and Ben Corfee broke the logjam at the top of the leaderboard, but there’s still one more round to play in the chase for the Roger Val Trophy.
Raber and Corfee, both members at El Macero Country Club, took the lead in Saturday’s second round of the annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship at par-72 Spyglass Hill, shooting a stellar 8-under 64.
Raber, who played at Chico State, and Corfee, currently a member of the men’s golf team at UC Davis, had a day to remember, ringing up eight birdies with no bogeys.
On the front-nine, they’d post a 5-under 31 thanks in part to three straight birdies on holes No.6 through No.8. After making the turn, they’d tack on three more birdies.
Coming off a first round 69, the two moved to a total of 11-under 133, giving them a somewhat comfy three stroke lead over the field.
There’s still, however, a number of big names who are in hot pursuit.
The teams of Carmel residents Jerry Ledzinski and Jeff Britton and San Francisco’s Matt Cohn and Seaside’s Nick Moore, had rounds of 68 and 67, respectively, to also climb the leaderboard and forge a tie for second at 136.
Ledzinski and Britton, both Tehama Golf Club members, made their push after carding five birdies with just one bogey. Ledzinski finished 13th at last year’s Stocker Cup, while Britton captured last year’s AmateurGolf.com Tour Championship at Quail Lodge Golf Club.
Moore and Cohn, meanwhile, penciled in seven birdies to go against two bogeys.
Moore, 32, was arguably the hottest player coming into the championship. The Cypress Point Club caddie had two wins in April, including a victory at the NCGA Public Links Championship.
In at 137, and four behind the leaders, were four teams including the tandems of two-time defending champions Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler and Jon Peterson and Eddie Davis.
Paniccia and Stieler, who are looking to become the first team to win three NCGA Four-Ball titles (and three in a row), had a steady 69 featuring four birdies and a bogey. In both their victories in 2013 and 2014, the two either led or were tied for the lead entering the final round.
Peterson and Davis went 7-under with seven birdies and no bogeys through their first 16 holes before slipping with a double-bogey on the par-4 17th.
Peterson is coming off an appearance in last week’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, where he played with fellow Granite Bay GC member Gary Dunn.
Four squads are five strokes off the lead at 138, including the tandems of Rick Reinsberg and St. Mary’s men’s golf coach Scott Hardy (69) and Jason Anthony and record six-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag (70).
Hardy and Reinsberg claimed the title in 2005. Russell Humphrey and James Watt, won the championship in 2012, are among the teams at 137.
Peterson and Eddie Davis finished second at last year’s NCGA Master Division Four-Ball Championship after losing in a sudden-death playoff.
The championship record for lowest 54-hole total is 197, set in 2003 by Todd Barsotti and Jeff Wilson and matched in 2004 by Jason Boyd and Scott Gordon. One of Corfee’s teammates at UC Davis is Matthew Seramin, who won last year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship.
Sunday’s final round will begin at 7:30 a.m., with the leaders going off No.1 at 9:10 a.m.
May 8, 2015
It already looks like this is going to be another one that literally comes down to the last putts.
EClub East Bay member Andy Nevin and partner Brian Ruiz of DeLaveaga GC jumped into the lead at this weekend’s annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship, posting a 5-under 67 Friday at par-72 Spyglass Hill, but the duo has a who’s-who of Northern California amateur greats right on their heels.
Nevin and Ruiz were nearly flawless in the first round, posting six birdies to go against just one bogey. After making the turn with a solid front-nine 35, the duo cranked it up by carding birdies on holes No.10 through No.12 before adding a final birdie on the par-4 18th.
Nevin, who hails from Danville, and Ruiz, who’s from Los Gatos, however have plenty of company at the top of the leaderboard.
Just a stroke behind the two after coming in with matching 68’s are six teams, including the tandems of Wes Sandroni and Jason Herrera, Jason Anthony and Randy Haag and two-time defending champions Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler.
Sandroni, who’s coming off a second place finish at last week’s NCGA Public Links Championship, and Herrera, who won the Davis City Championship in April, nearly matched Nevin and Ruiz. The duo also shot a 35 on the front-nine before carding a bogey-free, three birdie 33 on the back.
Haag and Anthony, meanwhile, did their thing backwards. Starting on the back-nine, the duo penciled in three birdies with two bogeys. On the front-nine, Haag, a record six-time NCGA Player of the Year, and Anthony, who was runner-up in last year’s NCGA POY race, carded a 33 with birdies on No.2, No.4 and No.7
Back in December, Haag and Anthony teamed up at Poppy Hills in a qualifier for the recent U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They’d shoot a 6-under 65 but missed advancing after falling in a three-team playoff for one spot.
As for Paniccia and Stieler, Friday’s first round was business as usual. Paniccia would produce two of the duo’s five birdies, while Stieler served up three.
With a win this weekend, the two would become the first team to not only win three NCGA Four-Ball titles, but three in row.
When the two won last year, they were three off the lead after a first round 71. In 2013, they were four shots back after the opening round.
Behind the six teams at 68 is another formidable group of nine squads that will enter Saturday’s second round just two off the lead.
Among those coming in at 69 were the tandems of Matt Cohn and Nick Moore, Russell Humphrey and James Watt and Rick Reinsberg and Scott Hardy.
Moore, who hails from Seaside, entered the championship holding the No.1 spot in this year’s NCGA POY race after his win at the NCGA Public Links Championship. Cohn, of San Francisco, was T-8 in the standings.
Hardy, the head coach at St. Mary’s, and Reinsberg, the defending NCGA Master Division champion, are no strangers to winning the Four-Ball, having claimed the title in 2005.
Humphrey and Watt have also won it before, taking the title in 2012.
Five teams are at 70 including the tandem of Jon Peterson and Eddie Davis, who finished second at last year’s NCGA Master Division Four-Ball Championship after losing in a sudden-death playoff.
Saturday’s second round will again feature tee times in the morning and afternoon. Following second round action, a cut will be made with the low 40 teams and ties advancing to Sunday’s final round.
April 30, 2015
It’s easy to a pick a favorite heading into the annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship, but it’s difficult to not notice all of the talent that will be chasing them.
When the 49th NCGA Four-Ball Championship tees off Friday at par-72 Spyglass Hill, teammates Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler will take aim at NCGA history.
With another victory, the two-time defending champs, and former co-workers at Dragonfly Golf Course in Madera, would become not only the first team to win the championship times, but also the first tandem to win three years in a row. Taylor Travis and Ryan Sloane, who are among five teams that have won the title twice, went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009.
“A three-peat? Absolutely, why not?,” said Stieler following the duo’s 2014 win. “I’ve got a pretty good partner.”
Last year, Paniccia and Stieler shot a final round 69 to finish at 9-under 207, edging the co-runner-up tandems of Cameron Champ and Gary Dunn and Steve Woods and Jeff Gilchrist by a stroke.
In winning in 2013, they’d beat record six-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag and record four-time defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll by one.
As for how Paniccia and Stieler have done it, in the final round of the 2013 championship Stieler was the guy, as he’d birdie three of the duo’s first four holes.
In last year’s critical final round, meanwhile, Paniccia had four of the team’s six birdies.
When one of the two needs to step it up, they do just that.
“Teamwork…That’s the only way you win out here,” said Paniccia following their 2013 win.
As for those who’ll be hoping to dethrone the champs, the field is loaded.
Back is Dunn, who’ll be playing this year with Gary Deblaquiere. Also returning are Woods and Gilchrist, who finished tied for third at last year’s NCGA Masters Division Four-Ball Championship a year after winning the title.
Two guys who also know what it takes to win the title—four-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns and 1992 POY Joey Ferrari—are also in. Boyns and Ferrari are another one of the five teams that have won the title twice (1994 and 1996). On the former champs watch, there’ll also be the tandem of St. Mary’s men’s golf coach Scott Hardy and Rick Reinsberg, who took the title in 2005. Hardy will be coming off a runner-up finish at the NCGA Public Links Championship, while Reinsberg is the defending NCGA Master Division champion.
Other teams that could make a charge include the tandems of Matt Cohn and Nick Moore, Trevor Clayton and Michael Tolladay and Jason Anthony and Haag.
Moore just wrapped up his second NCGA Public Links Championship title in two years and holds the No.1 spot in this year’s NCGA Player of the Year standings, while Cohn finished T-8 in the event. Clayton, the 2014 NCGA Player of the Year, took fourth at the NCGA Public Links Championship, while Tolladay finished sixth in last year’s POY standings.
Anthony, who finished runner-up to Clayton in last year’s POY race, comes in at No.2 in this year’s standings. Back in December, the Anthony/Haag team shot a 6-under 65 in a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifier at Poppy Hills. They’d miss out on a spot after falling in a playoff.
In what will be a power grouping, the Paniccia/Stieler squad will play the first two rounds paired with Anthony and Haag.
A 500 points event, each of the winners will receive 250 points towards the POY standings (senior points will apply as well).
Following Saturday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 40 teams and ties advancing to Sunday’s final round.