May 27, 2016
Make it two in a row for Casey Boyns.
The longtime Pebble Beach caddie shot a final round 1-under 70 Friday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course to come from two strokes back and win the 55th annual NCGA Senior Championship.
In winning the title last year, Boyns had shaken off a rare monkey on his back. At the 2013 championship at Spyglass Hill, Boyns appeared to have his first Senior Championship title locked up but he’d go on to card a disastrous quintuple-bogey 10 on the par-4 14th at Spyglass Hill. He’d eventually lose in a sudden-death playoff to Gary Vanier.
The 60-year-old becomes the first back-to-back winner of the NCGA Senior Championship since Jim McMurtrey won two in a row in 1994-1995.
“I’m satisfied to win it once. This is big. I’ve kind of been floundering,” said Boyns, who finished with a three-day total of 1-under 212. “It feels good.”
The only player in the field to shoot par or better each of the three rounds, Boyns got going with a pair of birdies on holes No.4 and No.5. On the par-5 4th, he’d reach the green in two with a 3-wood. A hole later on the par-4 5th, he drained a 32-foot putt for birdie.
“After those two holes I was like, ‘OK, I’m in the game,'” said Boyns, who has now won a record 21 NCGA overall titles. “I was just trying to make par on every hole.”
While Boyns finished with a front-nine 1-under 35, second round leader Steve Wilson and record 6-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag, who began the day four behind Wilson, had front-nine scores of 41 and 39, respectively. After making the turn, Boyns continued to apply the heat. On the par-5 10th he card another birdie, while on the par-3 11th he sank a curling 18-footer to save par.
“On the back-nine I just wanted to keep it in play and not make any big mistakes,” Boyns said. “Usually, I can get quick and that’s when things can go sour. I just told myself to slow down.”
Wilson, who was looking for his first NCGA title, never recovered en route to a 78 and third place finish at 218. Haag managed to pull out a 73, but came in at 271, five behind the winner.
“I just had a bad day,” Wilson said. “I didn’t hit the ball well enough.”
Fourth place went to Serrano CC member Mark Morgan at 22o after a 72. Former California Senior Amateur champ John Pate was fifth at 223 following a 76.
Haag and Boyns, two of the greatest California amateurs of all time, couldn’t remember the last time the pair had been in the same final pairing. The championship did mark the first time the pair finished one-two in an NCGA championship.
May 26, 2016
With three runner-up finishes this season, Roddy Ranch member Steve Wilson has knocked on the victory door before.
He’s now a round away from busting through and picking up a big prize.
Wilson, who finished second at the recent Sacramento County Senior Championship, maintained his lead in this week’s annual NCGA Championship at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course on Thursday, posting a 71 for a two-day total of 2-under 140,
There is, however, still some heavy work left. Just two strokes behind Wilson is defending champion and 4-time NCGA Player of the Year Casey Boyns. Only four strokes back, meanwhile, is record 6-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag.
Boyns, a member of the California Golf Hall of Fame, shot his second straight 71. Haag, who’s coming off an appearance at last weekend’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, got to 144 with a day-low 70.
Tied for fourth at 147 are Mitch Harrison and 2014 California Senior Amateur champ John Pate, who had rounds of 75 and 74, respectively. Pate won his Cal Am Senior title at Poppy Hills.
Poppy Hills again was a test, playing to a stroke average of 81.577. The cut (low 33 and ties) came at 16-over 158.
Friday’s final round will tee off at 7;30 a.m., with the final group going off at 9:50 a.m.
May 25, 2016
Roddy Ranch member Steve Wilson opened his day with a birdie and held on from there.
Starting on the back-nine, Wilson opened with a birdie on the par-5 10th and tacked on back-to-back birdies on holes No.15 and No16 to grab the first round lead Wednesday at this week’s annual NCGA Senior Championship at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Off to a solid start for the season, Wilson finished with a front-nine 32. After making the turn, he’d post a 37 with a birdie and two bogeys.
Just two shots behind Wilson is defending champion Casey Boyns. Boyns, a member of the California Golf Hall of Fame, was the epitome of steady. The longtime Pebble Beach caddie had a birdie and bogey to go with 16 pars.
Tied for third at 72 are Woodbridge G&CC member Mitch Harrison and Harding Park GC member Greg Zip.
Other big names within five strokes of Wilson are 2015 NCGA Senior Valley Amateur champ Dale Bouguennec (73), recent Alameda Commuters Senior champion Gary Vanier (74) and record six-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag (74). This past weekend, Haag competed in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with Jason Anthony.
Following Thursday’s second round a cut will be made with the low 33 (and ties) advancing to Friday’s final round.
Playing at 6,511 yards for the opening round, Poppy Hills was tough. The stroke average for the first round was 81.159.