October 15, 2019
Monterey Peninsula Country Club member Frank Pieper already had an NCGA Super Senior Amateur Match Play title under his belt. In fact, he had two.
Now, he’s also got a stroke play crown.
The 69-year-old shot a final round even par-72 and held off charges from co-runners-up Jeff Burda and Herb Jensen to win the annual NCGA Super Senior Championship by one on a sunny Tuesday at par-72 Merced Golf and Country Club. For Pieper, the son of amateur legend Ernie Pieper, it’s his fourth career NCGA crown. He also won the NCGA Senior Four-Ball crown in 2014 playing with Mike Staskus.
“It means a lot to me,” said Pieper, who finished with a two-day, 36-hole total of 4-under par 140. “It’s a big tournament and a good start to the new (points) year.”
He certainly earned it. A day after opening with a stellar 68, Pieper was the epitome of steady down the stretch, carding 10 straight pars to close out play. The pars were huge, as both Burda and Jensen did their best to catch the leader before falling a stroke short at 141.
The 2018 champion, Burda could’ve tied Pieper in regulation but missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th leaving him with a 71. Just moments earlier, Pieper’s 20-foot birdie try had lipped out.
Jensen, meanwhile, who won the event in 2014, also made a run with a final round 69. He’d birdie the 17th to get within one but had to settle for a par on 18. Jensen (pictured below) would win the Legends title for players age 70-over.
Two holes earlier on the 16th, Pieper had come up with a critical up-and-down for par after hitting into the hazard. On the 15th, Burda had crept within one shot with a birdie.
“I hit the ball well and got up-and-down when I missed greens,” Pieper said. “That up-and-down on 16 was really key.”
Along with getting to celebrate now, Pieper had another reason to smile. In winning, he earned an automatic exemption into the 2020 California Senior Amateur, which will be contested on his home turf at MPCC.
“I really wanted to play in that event because it’s at MPCC,” Pieper said. “Maybe that’s my swan song.”
October 14, 2019
The leaderboard is crowded with familar names after day one of the annual NCGA Super Senior Championship at par-72 Merced Golf and Country Club.
Sharing the lead after a pair of 68’s on Monday are Monterey Peninsula CC member Frank Pieper and E-Club Sacramento member Greg Durst.
Pieper, winner of the 2016 and 2017 NCGA Amateur Super Senior Match Play Championship, was flawless, posting four birdies and 14 pars. Durst, meanwhile, carded seven birdies which helped offset a bogey and double-bogey. Durst would post a front-nine 32.
Just two shots behind the leaders is defending champion Jeff Burda. Burda, who’s trying for what would be a record-tying 10th NCGA Senior crown, penciled in four birdies and two bogeys. With a win, Burda would also join Gary Vanier as the only two-time champions of the event. Vanier won titles in 2015 and 2017.
Three players–Herb Jensen, James Camaione and David Ujihara—are T-4 at 72. Jensen won the title in 2014.
Tuesday’s second round will tee off at 8 a.m.
October 11, 2019
The Super Senior Championship was created to give golfers 65 and older their own championship. The first championship was held in 2010 with Gene Ackerman winning the inaugural event, firing a 36-hole score of 147 at Merced GCC. The championship is a 400-point event for the Senior Player of the Year race. Dennis Younglove set the single round championship record in 2014, shooting a 5-under 67 at Valley Hi CC. 2016 winner Chuck Richesin set the 36-hole scoring record of 139.