April 6, 2018
Steve Donnelly and James Camaione were already aware of some of the big names on the NCGA Senior Four-Ball trophy. The duo will now have their own names engraved, having beaten one of the big names to earn it.
Donnelly and Camaione, both members at Bayonet/Black Horse GC, shot a final round 2-under 69 and defeated Randy Haag and David Nelson on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff Friday at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course to win the 20th version of the championship. On the second hole (par-3 2nd), Camaione two-putted for par after Nelson went out-of-bounds and Haag three-putted, his first attempt coming from off the green.
For Camaione, it was his first NCGA victory. Donnelly’s previous NCGA victories came in net events such as the Mixed Spring, where he competes with his wife, Dorothy.
“I don’t think so much about winning. You remember the losses more before wins. I’m numb after this,” Camaione said.
The win was just as special for Donnelly. “I can’t get over winning, and all the past winners. Guys like Randy (Haag), Gary Vanier, Casey Boyns, Jim Knoll. We did the same thing as them,”
A day after carding a 63 to get within one of Haag and Nelson, Donnelly and Camaione got off to a sluggish start, posting a front-nine 1-over 36. “It was rough,” Donnelly said. “Both of us were playing tight.”
On the back-nine, however, the two got going thanks in part to a 30-foot birdie putt from Camaione on No.10. It was the first time that Donnelly and Camaione held the outright lead.
Then the see-sawing began.On the 14th, Camaione made a 24-footer to take a two shot lead. But Haag and Nelson had some magic of their own, as Haag would hole out from the fairway for an eagle on the par-4 16th to tie things up. A hole later on the 17th, Donnelly and Camione each made par to Haag and Nelson’s bogeys, but on the 18th the script again flipped, as Haag and Nelson made birdie while Donnelly and Camaione had to settle for par leaving both squads at 11-under 202.
“Those last six holes Steve hit some great shots that kept us in it,” Camaione said.
With both teams scoring par on the first hole of the playoff, it was on to the par-3 2nd. Nelson’s tee shot hit a mound on the right side and bounded out-of-bounds. Haag’s tee shot went through the green to the back. Both Donnelly and Camaione struck their shots into the heart of the green.
“When David’s ball went OB, we figured Randy would need a 3,” Camaione said. “He just left his first putt short. We got lucky.”
Haag, who was looking for his third straight title as an individual (he won in 2016 and 2017 playing with Chip Lutz), lamented his attempt. But it wasn’t Haag and Nelson’s lone missed opportunity. In both the second and final rounds, he and Nelson were in the middle of the fairway on the par-4 14th. Both days, they’d score bogeys after mis-hitting their wedges.
“We didn’t play well enough to win. We had too many bogeys. It’s golf, those things happen,” Haag said. “It was exciting though.”
Third place went to the team of Casey Boyns and Jeff Britton, who came in at 206 following a final round 65. Boyns and Britton defeated Tony Padilla and Dick Cartmell in a card-off.
Jim Knoll and Kemp Richardson caught fire at the right time.
Knoll, a record five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year, and Richardson, a two-time winner of both the U.S. Senior Amateur and British Senior Amateur, carded a stellar 8-under 63 to finish at 11-under 202, defeating the runner-up team of Mark Miller and Frank Pieper by five strokes.
Knoll and Richardson, who began the day three behind Miller and Pieper, carded nine birdies and just one bogey in making their charge. Knoll, who recorded his first NCGA Super Senior title and eighth career NCGA Senior crown, had four birdies of his own on the back-nine including one on the par-4 16th that left Miller and Pieper shaking their heads. From the fairway bunker, Knoll, 65, hit a quick-running shot that hit a mound on the green, with the ball stopping within 3 feet of the flagstick. If his ball hadn’t hit the mound, it possibly would’ve ended up on the 18th hole.
“I just bladed it out,” Knoll said. “Overall, we got off to a good start. We made a lot of birdies early.”
The 71-year-old Richardson’s contributions included a pair of birdies on the par-3 6th and 15th holes. “If you’re going to play, you may as well win,” Richardson said.
Miller and Pieper, who have both won the Senior Four-Ball title but never a Super Senior crown, fell back to second place at 207 following a 71. Third place went to the team of Chuck Richesin and Bob Thomason at 209 after a 70. Richesin and Thomason had been the defending champs.
April 5, 2018
Randy Haag and partner David Nelson are still in the lead at the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship, but things are hardly over.
Haag, the defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year, and Nelson, who plays out of Poppy Ridge GC, posted a solid 6-under 65 Thursday at par-71 Poppy Hills GC, giving the duo a two-day total of 10-under 132. The two would make a move on the front-nine, carding a 32. Overall, they’d card eight birdies to go against just one big hiccup, a double-bogey on the par-3 6th.
Haag and Nelson, who took a share of the lead with a 67 on Wednesday, needed every birdie they could get.
That was due for starters to the hard-charging duo of Steve Donnelly and James Camaione. Donnelly, coming off a recent win at the Salinas City Amateur, and Camaione caught fire, posting a sizzling bogey free 63 that featured eight birdies, including four straight from the 15th to 18th. The 63 put Donnelly and Camaione at 133, just a shot behind the leaders.
Going even deeper, meanwhile, was the team of Mark Hill and James Hay, who shot a 62 to get to 134, just two shots behind the leaders. Hill and Hay’s run included seven birdies and a closing eagle on the 18th by Hay. Their score of 62 tied the championship record for lowest round, previously held alone by 2014 winners Frank Pieper and Mike Staskus.
Haag, who won in both 2016 and 2017 playing with Chip Lutz, is aiming to tie the event record for wins as an individual (three), which is currently held by Mark Miller.,
The team of Mark Miller and Frank Pieper grabbed control of the Super Senior division, posting a 5-under 66 to get to a two-day total of 6-under 136.
Miller and Pieper, who have both won the Senior Four-Ball title but never a Super Senior crown, made their move by posting six birdies to go against just one bogey. The two had entered the second round just a stroke behind leaders Rich Gleghorn and David Hemrick. Hemrick and Gleghorn fell back into a tie for fifth following a 75.
In Friday’s finale, Miller and Pieper will find themselves trying to hold off the duos of Jim Knoll and Kemp Richardson and Chuck Richesin and Bob Thomason, who are at 139 after rounds of 69 and 68, respectively. Knoll is a record 5-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year, while Richardson is a two-time USGA champ. Richesin and Thomason are the event’s defending champions, having won at Bayonet GC last year.
April 4, 2018
A pair of very familiar names are at the top of the leaderboard following Wednesday’s first round of the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.
Defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year Randy Haag and partner David Nelson and defending Super Senior Player of the Year Gary Vanier and partner Scott Anderson took the early lead, posting matching scores of 4-under 67.
Haag, who won in both 2016 and 2017 playing with Chip Lutz and is aiming to tie the event record for wins as an individual (three, Mark Miller), and Nelson carded five birdies and a bogey.
Vanier, who won in 2013 playing with Miller, and Anderson also had five birdies and a bogey.
Tied for third at 68, just a shot back, are the tandems of John Jaramillo and Robert Blair and Bill Rich and Dean Prince. Another five teams, including NCGA Hall of Famer Casey Boyns and Jeff Britton, are only two behind the co-leaders after opening rounds of 69.
Bob Johnson had the shot of the day, acing the par-3, 188-yard 6th hole.
Following Thursday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 20 Senior teams advancing to Friday’s final round.
Pajaro Valley GC member Rich Gleghorn and partner De Laveaga GC member David Hemrick are the duo to chase early on following a first round 69 that featured four birdies and two bogeys.
Looming just a stroke back at 70 are three tandems: record five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll and partner Kemp Richardson, David Dimmick and Steve Poletti and Mark Miller and Frank Pieper. Richardson is a two-time winner of the U.S. Senior Amateur.
The defending champion team of Chuck Richesin and Bob Thomason are T-5 after shooting 71.
April 3, 2018
First played in 1999, the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship is a two-person, better-ball scratch event for senior golfers. The tournament expanded from two rounds to three rounds in 2006. Joe Dudley and Bob Pipkin won the inaugural event, while the team of Robert Berg and Rob Thompson have the most titles, three, winning in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Mark Miller has won the event three different times with three different partners: Herb Jensen (2006), Casey Boyns (2012) and Gary Vanier (2013).
Miller and Jensen hold the record for lowest 54-hole score, 196, set in 2006. Miller and Vanier hold the 36-hole record with a score of 128 at Silverado Resort in 2013. 2014 winners Frank Pieper and Mike Staskus hold the record for lowest round, a 10-under 62 the pair shot at Saddle Creek.
In 2015, a Super Senior Four-Ball Division was added to the event.
Olympic Club member Randy Haag will be looking for his third title in a row. In both 2016 and 2017, Haag won with partner Chip Lutz.
Following Thursday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 20 Senior teams and ties and low 10 Super Senior teams and ties advancing to Friday’s final round.