Spyglass Hill Golf Course
May 7 – 9, 2021
May 9, 2021
Just moments after their score officially posted, St. Mary’s teammates Ethan Ashbrook and Ethan Farnam received a text from Gaels head coach Scott Hardy.
“Talk about having a great day. Great playing!” the text from Hardy read.
On what was a great day for St. Mary’s golf, Ashbrook and Farnam were simply lights out. The two, who live together, would shoot a championship record 11-under 61 Sunday at Spyglass Hill to come in at 19-under 197, winning the annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship by five strokes over the runner-up tandem of University of San Francisco teammates Matthew Anderson and Tim Widing. The 61 came with the par-5 14th playing shorter due to a temporary green. Regardless, the two Ethans became unstoppable. Their score of 197 was just two off the 54-hole record held by 2016 winners Bobby Bucey and Brett Viboch.
“That score (61) is sick,” Anderson said afterwards. “When I saw that they posted 11-under, you just tip your cap.”
On the day, Ashbrook, a junior from Santa Maria, and Farnam, a senior from Crystal Lake, Illinois, would card 11 birdies. Helping them break away from the pack was a run of 10 birdies over their last 13 holes that led to a back nine 29. And they could’ve gone even lower. On the par-3 12th, Farnam missed an ace by just inches.
“It was at that point that we were like, ‘We got this,'”Farnam said. “That stretch of closing holes was ridiculous.”
In a testament that things can change, the two, who were making their championship debut, opened the first round with a 1-over 37 on the front nine that included zero birdie attempts from holes No.2 through No.9.
“Our first 10 holes were a nightmare,” Farnham said with a laugh. “But then we figured out our strategy.”
By the time it was over, the two carded only five bogeys over their 54 holes.
“We just started building on each others’ momentum,” Ashbrook said.
“We were really good taking the pressure off of one another,” Farnam said. “We’re both extremely negative when we do hit bad shots, but we’re both also really good at bouncing back.”
Along with coach Hardy, who won the event himself in 2005, Ashbrook and Farnam were also able to share a Mother’s Day win with family. On Saturday, Ashbrook’s mom came out to watch. Following the victory, he gave his mom a call. “She was like, ‘Good job!’ I told her happy Mother’s Day.”
Farnam, who called back east, relayed the victory message to his mom through his father. “My dad answered and said, ‘I knew it. I could feel it,'” Farnam said.
Anderson and Widing, who took a one-shot lead into the final round, finished at 202 after a 68. The St. Mary’s tandem of Michael Slesinski and Blake Hathcoat, who both previously competed on the Junior Tour of Northern California, placed third at 205 following a 70.
May 8, 2021
Each of the past three winning teams at the NCGA Four-Ball Championship has consisted of collegiate teammates. It looks as if that trend could very well continue.
Tim Widing and Matthew Anderson, teammates at the University of San Francisco, vaulted to the top of the leaderboard in Saturday’s second round, posting a stellar 8-under 64 at Spyglass Hill. Anderson, from Canada, and Widing, who is from Sweden, went a ho-hum 2-under on the front nine. On the back nine, however, the two caught fire, posting four birdies and an eagle (par-5 11th) for a 30. The two are at 10-under 134 tossing in Friday’s opening round of 70.
The two USF Dons find themselves being immediately chased by a quartet of Gaels. In second place at 135, just a shot back, is the tandem of St. Mary’s teammates Michsel Slesinski and Blake Hathcoat. Both seniors, Slesinski and Hathcoat followed up an opening 68 with a 67 that included five birdies. Hathcoat, who hails from Fresno, was recently selected to compete in the NCAA Regionals as an individual.
In third place, meanwhile, at 136 after a second-round 66 is the tandem of St. Mary’s teammates Ethan Farnam and Ethan Ashbrook. Farnam, from Illinois, is also a senior. Ashbrook is a junior from Santa Maria.
The closest non-collegian team is the tandem of 2016 champions Bobby Bucey and Brett Viboch. Bucey and Viboch, who were coming off a first-round leading 66, could only muster a 71 and sit at 137, just three behind the leaders. Bucey and Viboch have caught fire themselves. When they won in 2016, they finished with a still-championship record score of 21-under 195 thanks in part to a co-record 62.
In fifth place at 138 is another USF tandem—that of Jalen Griffin and Alex Chin. Griffin is a past member of the Dons. Chin, a senior at USF, is the defending NCGA Player of the Year.
The cutline (low 40 teams and ties) came at 3-over 147.
Current St. Mary’s head coach Scott Hardy won the Four-Ball title in 2005 playing with Rick Reinsberg.
May 7, 2021
The team of Bobby Bucey and Brett Viboch are back at it at the NCGA Four-Ball Championship. On Friday, Bucey, who plays out of Oakhurst CC, and Viboch, an E-club Sacramento member, grabbed the lead at this year’s championship, posting a stellar 6-under 66 despite breezy conditions at Spyglass Hill.
Bucey and Viboch, who won the title in 2016, ham and egged it, with Bucey carding four birdies on the front nine and Viboch posting two birdies on the back. Viboch earlier in the week played his way through a U.S. Open local qualiifer.
The two have caught fire in the event previously, When they won in 2016, they set the championship record for lowest 54-hole winning total (195).
Still, it’s early and the event usually comes down to the last few holes. Four teams came in at 68, just two shots behind the leaders. Included in the four teams is the tandem of Michael Jura and Jeffrey Yamaguchi, who won it all in 2018. Also in at 68 is the St. Mary’s tandem of Mikey Slesinski and Blake Hathcoat and the teams of Stephen Hale and DJ Fernando and Ryan Sloane and Daniel Connolly.
The team of Ian Dahl and Jeff Hamm are alone in sixth at 69 along with Anton Ouyang and Evan Chien.
The last three winning teams have consisted of collegiate players. The 2020 championship was canceled due to COVID-19.
After Saturday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 40 teams (and ties) advancing to Sunday’s final round.
May 6, 2021
The NCGA Four-Ball Championship began in 1967 at Spyglass Hill golf course and has been played at the Robert Trent Jones layout ever since. The 54-hole competition consists of two-man teams in which both players play their own ball and the lowest score of the two is counted on each hole.
Only five teams have ever won the event more than once, with Tom Culligan III and Dan James (1968/1975), Casey Boyns and Joey Ferrari (1994/1996), Darryl Donovan and Randy Haag (2000/2010), Ryan Sloane and Taylor Travis (2008-2009) and Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler (2013/2014). Haag has won the event a record four times as an individual, playing with Donovan (2000, 2010) and Bob Blomberg (1987, 1993).
The lowest 18-hole score ever posted was 62 by RC Orr and Scott Roak (2011), Brett Viboch and Bobby Bucey (2016) and Nick Moore and Matt Cohn (2016). The lowest 54-hole total of 195 was recorded in 2016 by Bobby Bucey and Brett Viboch.