August 13, 2021
Back in the spring, good friends Frank Pieper and Rich Cleghorn, who both live in the Santa Cruz area, teamed up to win the NCGA Super Senior Four-Ball Championship.
This time around, they both couldn’t walk away as winners.
The No.5 seeded Pieper yet again was firing on all cylinders, leading to a 4 and 3 win over No.3 Rich Cleghorn in the finals of the NCGA Super Senior Amateur Match Play Championship on Friday at Spyglass Hill. For the 71-year-old Pieper, who resides in Aptos, it marked a record third Super Senior Match Play crown. It was also his sixth career NCGA title.
“It’s been a pretty good run,” said Pieper, who knocked out No.1 seed and defending champion Jeff Burda in the semifinals. “I’ve kept my game in shape and have worked hard at it. You never know how many more of these you can get.”
Following a par win on No.6 and a birdie win on No.7, Cleghorn was the early leader at 3-up. Pieper, however, came roaring back with consecutive birdies on the tough par-4 8th and 9th holes to cut the gap back to one. A third straight win on the 10th hole by Pieper and the match was tied. “Birdies on both 8 and 9 are rare here. They really gave me a lot of momentum,” Pieper said.
Still tied through 11, Pieper would run off four straight wins from holes 12 through 15 to secure the victory.
Looking down the road, Pieper and Cleghorn will be back at it in 2022—as teammates—to defend their Super Senior Four-Ball crown.
“He’s my best buddy, but today I hated him.” quipped Pieper.
August 12, 2021
This past spring, pals Frank Pieper and Rich Gleghorn teamed up to win the NCGA Super Senior Four-Ball title. Now they’ll be going head to head.
The No.5 seeded Pieper and No.3 seeded Gleghorn will meet in Friday’s finals of this week’s NCGA Super Senior Amateur Match Play Championship after the two won their semifinal matches on Thursday.
Pieper, already a two-time winner of the event (2016, 2017), punched his ticket to the 18-hole final via a tough 19th hole win over defending champ and No.1 seed Jeff Burda. Burda was down three holes with three to play, but rallied with three straight wins to tie the match back up. Pieper responded with a win on the 19th hole, however, to claim the victory.
Gleghorn, meanwhile, had a much easier route. He’d advance to the final after his opponent, No.15 Kemp Richardson, withdrew.
Both Gleghorn and Pieper hail from the Santa Cruz area. “I know Frank very well. We’ve played a lot of golf together,” Cleghorn said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”
August 11, 2021
Defending champion Jeff Burda is another step closer to going back-to-back.
The 68-year-old Modesto resident earned a spot in the semifinals of this week’s NCGA Super Senior Amateur Match Play Championship after cruising to a 7 and 6 in Wednesday’s quarterfinals at Spyglass Hill. In Tuesday’s Round of 16, the No.1 seeded Burda was never threatened in winning 6 and 5.
A bigger challenge could come in Thursday’s semifinals when he meets former two-time champ Frank Pieper. The son of amateur legend Ernie Pieper, Frank earned a spot in the semis via a comfy 5 and 4 win.
In the other semifinals match, No.15 seed Kemp Richardson will take on No.3 Rich Gleghorn. Richardson, a two-time winner of the U.S. Senior Amateur, has been the event’s Cinderella. In the Round of 16, he’d knock out former two-time champ and No.2 seed Ron Johnson. In the quarterfinals, Richardson eliminated No.10 Michael Donnelly, 3 and 1.
Gleghorn advanced to the semis via a 2-up win over former NCGA Super Senior Player of the Year Chuck Richesin.
Only Pieper, Burda and Ron Johnson have won the title in the event’s six-year history. Burda so far is the only non-two-time winner.
The semifinals will be held Thursday. The 18-hole final will take place Friday.
August 10, 2021
No.1 seed and defending champion Jeff Burda cruised, while a pair of top seeds met a quick exit.
Burda, the defending NCGA Super Senior Player of the Year, opened the match play portion of this week’s Super Senior Amateur Match Play Championship with a convincing 6 and 5 win over No.16 Joe Zanassi. Following a bogey loss on the par-3 2nd hole, Burda caught fire, going 3-under over the next 10 holes with four birdies.
No.2 seed and former winner Ron Johnson, meanwhile, was an upset victim, falling 2 and 1 to No.15 Kemp Richardson. Richardson is no stranger to pressure, having won two U.S. Senior Amateur crowns during his long career.
Rich Gleghorn, the No.3 seed, advanced with a 5 and 3 win over No.14 Gary Rafferty. Another top seed falling was No.4 Jim Knoll. The record five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year lost via default to No.13 Bob Cayton after failing to arrive in time for his scheduled start.
Frank Pieper, the No.5 seed and a two-time winner of the event, won his first match, 2-up.
Wednesday’s action, which will feature the quarterfinals, will see play shift over to Spyglass Hill. The event, now in its sixth year, has only had three champions–Pieper, Johnson and Burda.
August 9, 2021
Craig Calkins earned medalist honors, posting a score of 1-over 72 in Monday’s stroke-play qualifying round for this week’s Super Senior Amateur Match Play Championship. Michael Donnelly was second with a score of 73.
Overall, eight players advanced through the opening round of stroke play qualifying. Those players will be bracketed against the top eight players from the Points Standings.
Jeff Burda, the event’s defending champion, is the No.1 seed and will open vs. No. 16 Joe Zanassi. The No.2 seed, former winner Ron Johnson, will open match play against No.15 Kemp Richardson.
Tuesday’s action will consist of the opening round of 16. The quarterfinals will be Wednesday, semifinals on Thursday and 18-hole final on Friday. Play will shift to Spyglass Hill starting with the quarterfinals.
Now in its sixth year, the Super Senior has been won by three players–Frank Pieper, Johnson and Burda.
The NCGA Super Senior Match Play Championship was formed in 2016 as an addition to the NCGA Senior Match Play Championship.