December 23, 2014
Players in the inaugural NCGA Two-Person Scramble Championship enjoyed two days of sunshine at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course.
The event, which saw participants divided into three flights determined by combined course handicap index, named its first champions too.
In the Chardonnay Flight (handicap index plus 1.3-14.3), the team of Robert Franceschetti and Mark Purdom had their second straight great round, carding a 7-under 64 to finish at 15-under 127 for a three stroke win over the runner-up tandems of Michael Lincoln/Rich Estep and Kurt Eleam/Jim Riley.
Franceschetti and Purdom, who were coming off an opening 63, got off to a rocky start with a bogey on the 1st but bounced back with three straight birdies on holes No.4 through No.6. They’d tack on another birdie at the 8th for a front-nine 33.
On their back-nine, the duo opened with an eagle on the par-5 10th after Purdom chipped in from off the green. From there, they’d go 2-under with six pars and a pair of birdies on the 16th and 17th.
“We just trusted one another and picked each other up both days,” Purdum said.
The Lincoln and Estep squad, who were awarded second place in a card-off, had opened with a first round leading 62. On Tuesday, however, the lowest the two would go was a 68. A day after carding an eagle and seven birdies, Lincoln and Estep had to settle for four birdies with a bogey. The Eleam and Riley team, who had started the day six shots off the lead, made a charge with a second round 62, but it wasn’t enough to catch Franceschetti and Purdom.
Eleam and Riley came out strong, posting a front-nine 7-under 29 that featured five birdies and an eagle on the par-4 5th. On their back-nine they’d add three more birdies to go with a bogey on the 15th.
Finishing in a tie for fourth in the Chardonnay Flight at 132 were the teams of Sandip Nirmel/Ryan Vaughan (64), Dash Lindsell/Andrew Tilton (66) and Brian Stark/George McNeely (67).
In the Merlot Flight (handicap index 13.8-21.6), David Gragnola and teammate Jim Stout ran away with the title, posting a final round score of 9-under 62 to finish at 17-under 125 and defeat three runner-up squads by seven shots.
Gragnola and Stout, who’s an NCGA tournament official, had entered the finale with a comfy four-stroke cushion and never looked back. A day after carding an eagle and eight birdies, the duo posted 10 birdies to go against just one bogey. Twice during their round Gragnola and Stout racked up three straight birdies–from holes No.5 through No.7 on the front-nine and from holes No.16 and No.18 on their back-nine.
Over their 36 holes, the two only had one three-putt.
“We were never out of play or in a hazard,” Gragnola said. “I drive the ball well and Jim has soft has with chipping and around the greens. We complement each other really well.”
Finishing tied for second at 132 were the teams of Kyle and Andrew Thompson (64), Steven Anderson and Brandon Dunn (64) and Brad Ingram and Taft Wright (65). The Thompson brothers were awarded second place after a card-off, with the Anderson/Dunn and Ingram/Wright squads sharing third place.
Over in the Zinfandel Flight (handicap index 21.2-37.2), the husband and wife team of Mary Ann and Scott Taylor had a final round 64 to come in at 16-under 126 and edge the runner-up team of Thomas Tobin and Jack Keane by a stroke.
The Taylors, who jumped into the lead with a 62, were again solid, penciling in two eagles (holes No.5 and No.9) to go with six birdies and just three bogeys.
“We putted really well. That and when Mary Ann tees off holes, we’re closer to the green which allows me to get on in regulation,” Scott Taylor said.
Keane and Tobin, coming off a first round 65, did their best to try and make things interesting. They’d card nine birdies with no bogeys. During a stretch from holes No.7 through No.13, they’d go 6-under. The big difference for the Taylors would be a birdie on the closing 18th.
Taking third place in the Zinfandel Flight was the tandem of golf writer Susan Fornoff and Judy Madden, who shot a final round 70 to finish at 134.
The 2015 NCGA Two-Person Scramble will jump a week ahead on the schedule, teeing off December 14-15.
December 22, 2014
The inaugural NCGA Two-Person Scramble got underway Monday, and it quickly became a scramble to get to the top of the leaderboards.
Playing under a brilliant blue sky at the new par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course, participants were divided into three flights determined by combined course handicap index.
In the Chardonnay Flight (handicap index plus 1.3-14.3), the team of Michael Lincoln and Rich Estep vaulted into first place with a sizzling first round score of 9-under 62. Lincoln and Estep started strong out of the gates, posting a front-nine 6-under 30 that featured an eagle on the par-5 4th, a birdie on No.5 and three straight birdies from holes No.7 through No.9.
Later on the back-nine, the two kept things going, carding birdies on holes No.14, No.16 and No.18 for a 32.
Just a stroke behind Lincoln and Estep, however, is the tandem of Mark Purdom and Robert Franceschetti, who came in with a 63. Purdom and Franceschetti worked a bit harder for their score. In a span from holes No.3 through No.6, the two went 5-under thanks to three birdies and an eagle on the 4th. They’d bogey the 7th, but got back on track, posting birdies on holes No.8 and No.9 for a front-nine 30.
On their back-nine, Purdom and Franceschetti opened with birdies on the 11th and 13th to get to a total of 8-under. But they’d again slip, carding back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th to fall back to 6-under. The two again righted the ship, penciling in birdies on the 17th and 18th to finish the day just a stroke off the lead.
In third place in the Chardonnay Flight is the team of Greg Vogelpohl and Jason Vogelpohl, who came in with a 64. The teams of Brian Stark/ George McNeely and John Hunt/Mike Lee are tied for fourth at 65, just three behind the leaders.
Over in the Merlot Flight (handicap index 13.8-21.6), the team of David Gragnola and Jim Stout is the one to chase after the duo came in with a first round low score of 8-under 63. Gragnola and Stout did things backwards from the leaders in the Chardonnay Flight.
On their front-nine, the two shot a ho-hum 34 with three birdies and a bogey. On the back-nine, however, they lit up like a Christmas tree, carding a sizzling 6-under 29 that featured five birdies (including three in a row to close their round on holes No.16 through No.18) and an eagle on the par-4 12th. The two could have gone lower, but were slowed down by a bogey on the 15th.
Nevertheless, Gragnola and Stout will head into the final round with a comfy three-shot cushion, The next three closest teams—Michael Weintz/Mike McNulty, Tab French/Tristan French and John Gao and Steve DeRosa—all came in with matching 66’s.
Weintz and McNulty had an eagle (on the 12th) and seven birdies, but also had four bogeys, while the French’s had two eagles (holes No.5 and No.12) and four birdies but also three bogeys. Gao and DeRosa also had a chance to go lower, posting an eagle on the 9th and five birdies, but they’d be snakebit by a double-bogey on the par-4 7th.
In the Zinfandel Flight (handicap index 21.2-37.2), the team of Scott Taylor and Mary Ann Taylor grabbed the lead, posting a day-low 9-under 62.
The Taylors were a force to be reckoned with, carding two birdies and an eagle (No.9) on the front-nine for a 32. On the back, the two took things deeper, carding a 30 that featured five birdies.
Like the Chardonnay Flight, the Taylors weren’t able to run and hide though. Just two strokes back is the team of Judy Madden and Susan Fornoff, who fired a 64 that featured nine birdies and just two bogeys.
In at 65, meanwhile, is the team of Jack Keane and Thomas Tobin, Also lurking nearby is the tandem of Timothy Audisio and Robert Ruff, who shot an opening 66.
Tuesday’s final round will tee off at 7:30 a.m.