Spyglass Hill GC
May 12-14, 2017
May 14, 2017
Immediately after the conclusion of Sunday’s final round, Cole Nygren got a phone call from his mother.
“She must’ve seen the scores posted online,” Nygren said with a smile.
Stephanie Smith, meanwhile, had earlier told her son Grady. ‘What I want for Mother’s Day is for you to win.”
In Nygren and Smith’s case, the weekend didn’t just start perfectly, it ended that way too.
The Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo teammates shot a final round 4-under 68 Sunday at Spyglass Hill, rolling to a record 10-stroke win at the annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship. Their 54-hole total of 18-under 198, despite blustery winds both Friday and Sunday, was just three shots off the tournament record of 195.
In the first two rounds, Nygren, a senior, and Smith, a junior, were simply in another zone. In Friday’s opening round, they’d shoot a 64 when the stroke average of the day was 80.127. In Saturday’s second round, their 66 was 14 strokes lower than the field average.
While everyone else was getting blown off the course, the duo sailed. It was the first time they’d ever teed off together in a Four-Ball event. On Saturday night, Cal Poly head coach Scott Cartwright sent the two a text reading, ‘Keep it up. You’re killing it.’
“We both have the type of games where we’re not going to miss a lot of shots,” Smith said. “It’s highly unlikely for both of us to miss a shot at the same time.”
Entering Sunday’s finale, the duo held a comfy seven-shot lead but were being chased by not only veteran Randy Haag and partner Jason Anthony but also 2013 Mid-Amateur Four-Ball champs Jeff Gilchrist and Steve Woods. Haag and Anthony, the defending NCGA Mid-Am Four-Ball champs, did all they could to try and hang in there but shot a 71 to come in second at 208. Gilchrist and Woods slipped back to ninth place with a 74.
“We didn’t look at the competition. We had our eyes on the prize and wanted to get the tournament record for total score,” Smith said.
For Haag and Anthony, any chances of making a charge ended with a double-bogey seven on the par-5 7th.
“We wanted to make a run at them and never gave up but it didn’t happen,” Anthony said. “They played a hell of a tournament. Our hats are off to them.”
Nygren and Smith briefly cracked the door open by playing their front-nine at even par. After making the turn, however, it was again business as usual, with the two going 4-under thanks in part to a Nygren eagle on the par-5 11th.
For both Nygren and Smith, the win marked their first NCGA victories.
“It feels really good,” Smith said. “It was a fun three days.”
Finishing tied for third at 209 after rounds of 67 and 68 were the teams of Jason Higton and J.R. Becko and Ryan Sloane and Ben Peters, respectively.
May 13, 2017
Cole Nygren and Grady Smith aren’t just shaking off the blustery weather at this weekend’s annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship. The two are also leaving the rest of the field in their dust.
Teammates at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Nygren and Smith barely missed a beat in Saturday’s second round, posting a 6-under 66 at Spyglass Hill for a two-day total of 130 and a comfy seven-shot lead entering the final round. A day after opening with a stellar 64, the two kept the heat on, carding an eagle and five birdies to go against just one bogey.
They’d start slowly, shooting a 34 on the front-nine courtesy of a Nygren eagle on the par-5 7th. On the back-nine, however the two again caught fire after making birdies on five of their final eight holes.
While the two have a ton of breathing room, they still can’t take afford to pull back on the throttle. Among their nearest pursuers is a group of veterans.
Fellow Olympic Club members Jason Anthony and Randy Haag, who won last year’s NCGA Mid-Amateur Four-Ball title, are seven shots back after a 66. Should Anthony and Haag come back to win it, Haag would tie Casey Boyns’ record (16) for the most career NCGA wins (non-Senior events).
Alone in third place at 138 following a 67, meanwhile, is the tandem of Jeff Gilchrist and Steve Woods. Woods and Gilchrist won the 2013 NCGA Mid-Am Four-Ball crown.
Thanks to their hot start, Nygren and Smith will be chasing more than the title. Should they shoot at least a 65 in the final round, they’d tie the championship 54-hole scoring record (195), set by defending champions Bobby Bucey and Brett Viboch last year.
May 12, 2017
Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo teammates Grady Smith and Cole Nygren were some of the fortunate ones who literally didn’t see their scores blow away.
Smith, a junior, and Nygren, a senior, took advantage of an early morning tee time, posting a stellar 8-under 64 Friday at blustery Spyglass Hill to take the first round lead at this weekend’s annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship.The 64 was only two shots off the championship 18-hole record score of 62, held by three teams including defending champions Bobby Bucey and Brett Viboch.
Despite facing breezy and chilly conditions themselves, the duo was flawless, carding six birdies and an eagle (on the par-5 14th) with zero bogeys. Working as a unit, Smith had four birdies, while Nygren added two birdies and the eagle.
Also jumping out early was the tandem of San Francisco residents John Jennison IV and Amory Davis. The pair are only two shots behind the leaders after a solid 66 that featured eight birdies and two bogeys. Jennison and Davis also split duties, with each posting four birdies.
Alone in third place at 68 is the tandem of former Vista De Lago High (El Dorado Hills) teammates Kevin Huff and Austin Fox. Fox now plays at the University of Pacific, while Huff, still a high school senior, will begin playing for Fresno State this fall.
Bucey and Viboch, who are looking to join the list of teams who’ve gone back-to-back, opened with a 71.
Following Saturday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 40 (and ties) advancing to Sunday’s final round.