4th Annual NCGA Senior Match Play Championship
Spyglass Hill GC
PEBBLE BEACH – The early morning fog and mist quickly burned-off, transforming the tranquil Spyglass Hill into a perfect setting for the finals of the 4th Annual Senior Match Play Championship.
Dan Bieber of Green Valley CC claimed his first NCGA title in 10 years, besting Merced’s Rob Thompson 2 and 1. Bieber, winner of the 2000 NCGA Masters Championship, managed to hold off the NCGA cagey veteran who won this championship in 2007 and 2008 and continues to play at a high level of excellence well into his 60s.
In their fifth match in three days, the Green Valley member took an early lead and would not relinquish it for the rest of the day. On the 2nd hole, Thompson conceded Bieber’s putt for par to give him his initial 1-up advantage. Thompson quickly fired back with a birdie on the downhill par-3 3rd, to pull the match back to all-square. “Rob was tenacious, right from the start,” said the champion.
Thompson had trouble with his short game on holes 5 and 6 allowing Bieber to increase his lead. A slice on the 7th required Bieber to punch out and concede Thompson’s putt for par. On holes 8 through 12 both players shot matching scores, heightening the competition into the back nine.
Bieber’s putt for birdie lipped out on 9 for a tap-in par. The Alamo resident got up-and-down well on 13, increasing his lead to 2-up. Thompson’s par on 14 further narrowed the gap. “Everytime I thought I was good, [Thompson] would two-putt to match me,” said Bieber. On the 17th, Thompson missed a birdie putt and conceded Bieber’s par for a 2-up victory.
Bieber faced last year’s champion Jeff Burda in a closely contested semifinal while Thompson outlasted Doug Johnson in a 22 hole match on the other side of the bracket.
Bieber recently played in the U.S. Senior Open where his son Jake caddied for him. Jake is on the golf team at the University of Arizona and will be playing in the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay at the end of this month where Dan will in return caddy for him. “For those opportunities to both come in the same year – We’re just elated,” said the champion who can now add the NCGA Senior Match Play title to his year’s accomplishments.
Finals Photo Gallery
Spyglass Hill GC
August 12, 2010
PEBBLE BEACH – Dan Bieber will go head-to-head with Rob Thompson in the finals of tomorrow’s 4th Annual NCGA Senior Match Play Championship at Spyglass Hill.
Bieber faced last year’s champion Jeff Burda in a close-cut semifinal. The Green Valley member took his initial 1-up lead on the 4th hole when Burda’s putt for par rolled off the lip of the hole. Burda conceded a birdie putt on the 6th and Bieber went 2-up. “I made a few key putts early to put me in a good position,” said the Alamo resident. Alternating birdies on the back nine increased the suspension of the competition. “The back nine was great. It was very close. I tried to win a hole and then Jeff would come back and make a birdie,” said Bieber. He was dormie 2 going into 17 and again dormie 1 headed to the final 18th hole. “We both kept fighting hard. I was fortunate to make par on the final hole.” Beiber finished 1-up when Burda missed a putt for birdie. “Jeff is consistently one of the best players. It was a real honor to play and compete with him,” said the finalist.
The Fresno State fraternity brothers, Rob Thompson and Doug Johnson, had the longest match of the day, playing 22 holes. Thompson, a two-time past champion of this event, exemplified his knowledge and expertise on the greens while Johnson got up and down extremely well throughout the day. Thompson’s long putts were unstoppable. The Merced CC member took his first lead on the 2nd hole with Johnson conceding his par putt. Again, with no lead greater than 2-up, Thompson maintained his lead until going back to all-square after 12. A pair of bogeys turned over the lead to Johnson who was dormie 1 going into 18. At that point the past champion made a 40-foot birdie putt to force a playoff. With Burda graciously acting as a forecaddie, the competitors both shot even par on the next three holes to hold all square. Thompson then made another long birdie putt to win the match 1-up.
Bieber and Thompson will face off in the championship round tomorrow at 7:15 a.m. at Spyglass Hill.
Spyglass Hill GC
August 11, 2010
PEBBLE BEACH- Jeff Burda, Dan Bieber, Doug Johnson and Rob Thompson advanced to the semifinals of the 4th Annual NCGA Senior Championship at Spyglass Hill.
For the afternoon round the sun came out creating a picturesque setting. Some players quickly established dominant leads while other crept in for unforeseen upsets.
The two finalists from last years’ championship, Burda and Adolph, faced one another again this year in the quarterfinals. Adolph conceded a putt on the 4th hole when Burda took a 1-up initial lead. The Medesto resident was 2-up on the front nine then closed Adolph out quickly ending the round on the 14th hole, securing a 6 and 4 win in another strong round.
The biggest surprise came from Johnson’s upset over No. 2 seed Mark Miller of Roddy Ranch. Johnson bested Miller 7 and 6 to make an early advance to the semifinals. Johnson went 1-up on the first hole and maintained his lead through the 12th hole. Bieber had a similar attack on Herb Jensen when he took the lead on the second hole and held on through the 14th ending with a 5 and 4 victory. Beiber went 3-up on the first four holes. After conceding Bieber’s putt for par on 10, Jensen was unable to gain back any ground.
The 2008 champion Thompson is back in the semifinals this year. After taking the lead on the 2nd hole, Thompson bested Jim Knoll at the end of an up-and-down battle, alternating 1-up and 2-up leads through the front nine. Knoll held in there closely going even with Thompson on holes 8 though 13, but conceded his putt for par on the 14th, followed by Thompson’s putt for birdie on the par-3 15th.
Burda will face Bieber in the semifinal match starting tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., while Johnson and Thompson tee off at 8:15 a.m.
Round of 16
PEBBLE BEACH – The first round of the NCGA Senior Match Play Championship began Wednesday at Spyglass Hill with the top 16 senior golfers in Northern California competing for the title.
Defending champion Jeff Burda of Del Rio CC filled the first quarterfinals slot of the day with an early victory over Salinas Fairways GC’s Neil Duffy. After an early 1-up lead on the first hole, Duffy conceded a putt for par on the 8th hole and was unable to recover. Burda recorded a 5 and 4 win for a powerful first round to start this year’s Championship.
Another 2009 finalist, Rob Adolph of San Joaquin CC, nabbed another win over Scott Anderson of San Ramon Valley. Adolph went up-1 the first two holes, while Anderson took the lead up to 3 on the 7th. Adolph was able to recover his early lead on the 13th and finished 1-up through 18.
Green Valley CC’s Dan Bieber bested Michael Harding of Roddy Ranch GC despite a sudden lead change on the 14th hole by Harding. Bieber quickly took over on the 16th to win the match 1-up.
In one of the most competitive matches of the day, Herb Jensen of Del Paso defeated Rancho Murieta’s Don Thames 3 and 2. With three different lead changes and seven changes between a leader and even score, the round ended when Jensen rapidly went 3-up between 14 and 16, leaving Thames no room to recover.
Mark Miller also of Roddy Ranch claimed a quarterfinals spot with a win over Mayacama’s Paul Balatti. Miller had the most dominating lead of the opening round when he went 6-up through hole 11. The Antioch resident finished on 18 at 2 and 1.
Doug Johnson of Fig Garden bested John Enright of Sharp Park in a competitive match where the largest lead was held by Enright when he was up-2 on the 5th hole. The 2009 semifinalist Johnson secured the lead on 12 and finished 2-up.
Rooster Run’s Jim Knoll and Ronald Johnson of Diable had the longest match of the day playing 21 holes. Knoll prevailed in the event of four lead changes.
Rob Thompson of Merced edged out Peter Moren of Blackhawk CC finishing 1-up. Thompson took back his early lead when Moren conceded his birdie putt on the par-5 14th. The quarterfinals matches were played Wednesday afternoon, with the semifinals on Thursday and the final 18-hole match on Friday.