April 5, 2017
Randy Haag and Chip Lutz left no doubt this time around.
A year after surviving a five-hole sudden death playoff to win, Haag and Lutz put an exclamation point on the 2017 NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at par-72 Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside. The duo, who first met at the Coleman Invitational at Seminole GC around 15 years ago, fired their second straight 65 in Wednesday’s final round to roll to a six-shot victory over runner-ups Scott Anderson and Gary Vanier..
Haag and Lutz’ 54-hole total of 16-under 200 was just four off the championship record of 196, set by Mark Miller and Herb Jensen in 2006 on the original Poppy Hills. They’re the first repeat champions since Robert Berg and Rob Thompson in 2007-2008.
The duo, whose combined resumes include among many other things a record six NCGA Player of the Year crowns and a U.S. Senior Amateur and Senior British Open title, said it’s the competition that keeps them going.
“We love the game. We’re amateurs, and this is an important event for us,” said Haag, who notched his 18th career NCGA title (three Seniors, 15 Championship).
“I had butterflies in my stomach walking down the first fairway,” Lutz added. “That’s why we play the game.”
While there may have been hints of drama early, by the time it was over it was a cakewalk. A day after carding a 32 on the back-nine, Haag and Lutz went deeper with a closing nine-hole score of 30. The charge was fueled by an opening Lutz eagle on the par-5 10th and four birdies—two by Lutz and two by Haag. Their only blip on the radar screen was a bogey on the par-3 6th, which was playing at 227 yards.
Haag, an Olympic Club member, and Lutz, an AmateurGolf.com member, were so on that they’d both hit every green in regulation except for the 17th.
“We played great together from the tee to the green for three days,” said Lutz, who lives in Pennsylvania and in part plays in the event so he can come visit family in Sacramento. “It’s all good.”
Anderson and Vanier, who began the day four strokes behind the leaders, did their best to keep up, posting a mistake-free 67 that featured five birdies to finish at 206. But Haag and Lutz never took it off full throttle.
Third place went to the tandem of 2016 NCGA Senior Valley Amateur champ Mark Morgan Todd Palmaer at 210 following a 70.
Super Senior Championship
Chuck Richesin and Bob Thomason took advantage when second round leaders Sherman Haggerty and Michael Davis fell apart.
Richesin and Thomason shot a final round 2-under 70, while Haggerty and Davis had an 80, to come in at even-par 216 and defeat runner-ups Bruce Loman and Dave Sheff by three shots.
For Richesin, the winner of last year’s NCGA Super Senior Championship, it’s his second straight Super Senior crown. Thomason, meanwhile, got his first NCGA victory.
“We played really solid,” said Thomason, who coached men’s basketball at University of Pacific for 25 years. “We helped each other all the time.”
Richesin and Thomason, who are both members at Woodbridge CC and met through their wives, made their move with five birdies.
Loman and Sheff had a 71 to come in at 219. Third place went to Rich Gleghorn and David Hemrick at 220 following a 75.
April 4, 2017
Randy Haag and Chip Lutz entered the zone, and are now just a day away from going back-to-back at the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship.
On a day where just about everyone else struggled, Haag, a member at Olympic Club, and Lutz, an AmateurGolf.com member, caught fire, posting a sensational 7-under 65 at par-72 Bayonet GC in Seaside to take a commanding four stroke lead into Wednesday’s final round.
Looking to become the first repeat winners since Robert Berg and Rob Thompson in 2007-2008, Haag and Lutz made it look easy, posting 10 birdies for a two-day total of 9-under 135.. The two made their biggest move on the back-nine, carding a 32 that included six birdies and a lone hiccup double-bogey on the par-3 14th.
“We lit that side up,” said Lutz, the winner of the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur.
Haag and Lutz were so hot that record five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll, who was playing in the group behind, commented afterwards: “They seemed to be high-fiving each other on every green.”
“You’ll do that when have 10 birdies,” said Haag with a smile.
How good was the 65? The rest of the field averaged a score of 80.60 for the day. In winning last year, the duo posted a second round 66.
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Lutz said.
While Haag and Lutz are in the driver’s seat, they can’t relax too much. Just four strokes behind the leaders is the tandem of recent San Francisco City Senior champion Gary Vanier and Scott Anderson. The first round leaders slipped to a 71, but are still within strking distance, just four shots back at 139.
Also lurking is the team of 2016 NCGA Senior Valley Amateur champ Mark Morgan and partner Todd Palmaer, who shot a 69 for a two-day total of 140. Others who could make a charge include the local tandem of Casey Boyns and Jeff Britton, who are six back after a 72.
The cutline (low 22 and ties) came at 6-over 150.
Super Senior Championship
In the Super Senior Championship, Serrano CC members Sherman Haggerty and Michael Davis assumed control, posting an even-par 72 for a two-day total of 1-under 143 and a two shot lead over the team of Rich Gleghorn and David Hemrick.
Haggerty and Davis, the co-leaders after the first round, were simply steady, carding 16 pars.
Gleghorn and Hemrick, members at De Laveaga GC and Pajaro Valley GC, respectively, fell back with a 74 and are at 145.
Also in the hunt is the tandem of 2016 NCGA Super Senior Championship winner Chuck Richesin and Bob Thomason, who are three back at 146 following a 72. Thomason Thonason coached the University of Pacific men’s baketball team for 25 years.
April 3, 2017
Recent San Francisco City Senior champion Gary Vanier continues to have a hot hand. And this time, he’s got help.
Vanier, a member at Olympic Club, and partner Scott Anderson of Bridges GC took the first round lead at the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship on Monday, posting a 4-under 68 at par-72 Bayonet GC in Seaside.
Having started after most of the morning fog had burned off, Vanier and Anderson epitomized teamwork. On the front-nine, Anderson picked up three birdies (holes No.4, No.8 and No.9). After making the turn, it was Vanier, the 2016 NCGA Suoer Senior Player of the Year, who got hot, carding birdies on No.12, No.14 and the closing par-5 18th.
Overall, Vanier and Anderson had seven birdies to go against just three bogeys.
There’s still two rounds left though, and the two have plenty of company near the top.
Just a stroke behind the leaders is a pack of two teams—Jamie Looper and Dale Bouguennec and Casey Boyns and Jeff Britton.
Looper and Bouguennec, the defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year, were solid, splitting four birdies to go against just one bogey on the par-4 13th. Boyns and Britton, the two locals, were sparked in part by a Britton eagle on the par-5 10th..
Right behind the three teams that are just a stroke back is another four that are just two off the pace after coming in with matching scores of 70. Included that group is the tandems of record five-time Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll and partner Thomas O’Grady and defending champions Chip Lutz and Randy Haag. Haag is a record six-time Player of the Year, while Lutz is a former winner of the U.S. Senior Amateur.
Last year, Haag and Lutz made a huge push in the second round by carding a 66.
Following Tuesday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 22 and ties advancing in the Senior Championship and low eight advancing in the Super Senior Championship.
Super Senior Division
Over in the Super Senior Championship, things are also bunched up.
Emerging from the first round as co-leaders at 71 was the tandem of Serrano CC members Michael Davis and Sherman Haggerty and the team of De Laveaga GC member Rich Cleghorn and Pajaro Valley GC member David Hemrick.
Gleghorn and Hemrick managed to rack up four birdies, but the two would also post three bogeys.
Three teams are in at even-par 72, including the tandem of 2015 NCGA Super Senior Player of the Year Herb Jensen and Mark Miller.
March 30, 2017
It’s going to be another showdown.
Come Monday when the 19th annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship gets underway at par-72 Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside, the field will as usual be loaded with some of Northern California’s best senior amateurs.
Among the heavyweight tandems that will be chasing the trophy include defending champions Randy Haag and Chip Lutz, locals Jeff Britton and Casey Boyns, 2016 runner-ups Jim and Doug Williams, Jamie Looper and 2016 NCGA Senior Player of the Year Dale Bouguennec and recent San Francisco City Senior champ Gary Vanier and Scott Anderson.
Other teams to keep an eye on include record 5-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll and Tom O’Grady and Rob Adolph and Ken Noonan.
At last year’s championship, things were so tight that it would take extra holes to determine a champion. Lutz, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, drained a three-foot putt on the 5th hole of a sudden-death playoff to help him and Haag finally get by the Williams brothers. Both teams finished regulation tied at 13-under 203.
As per the norm, there will also be a championship for Super Seniors. There, teams that could make a run include Mark Miller and 2015 NCGA Super Senior Player of the Year Herb Jensen and Chuck Richesin and Bob Thomason.
The 54-hole championship will consist of 18 holes of stroke play each day. Following Tuesday’s round, a cut will be made with the low 22 and ties advancing in the Senior Championship and low eight advancing in the Super Senior Championship.