CARMEL VALLEY – On the silver anniversary of the NCGA Team Match Play Championship, something special was bound to happen. Sure enough it did, and it came in the form of Whitney Oaks GC defending its title and becoming only the third team to accomplish that feat.

Whitney Oaks GC defeated Lake of the Pines CC 26-10 to win the 25th NCGA Team Match Play Championship at Carmel Valley Ranch GC on Saturday, in a format where two players from a side face off against two players from an opposing side in a four-ball and individual match concurrently, with players/team earning two points for a win and one point for a halve.

A second consecutive title was in Whitney Oaks GC sights early as the first two groups swept all six points to get off to a 12-0 lead.

Pat McDonald defeated Terry Cross 3-and-2 and Spencer Page took down Joe Slane 1 up, while the duo won their four-ball match over Cross and Slane 2-and-1. Then in the second group Jeff Burkhead and Whitney Oaks captain Gary White each won their respective matches by 3-and-2 margins, and won their four-ball match by 1-up. Burkhead beat Lake of the Pines’ Steve Drew and White beat Colin McDonald.

“Pat McDonald and Spencer Page, who are really are top-2 players, have been nails the whole time,” said White. “They were our first group out and really led us [today].”

In the third group another four points nearly sewed things up and extended Whitney Oaks lead to 16-2. There Jeff Lafleur beat Robert Jacobson 2-and-1, while Lake of the Pines got on the board with a 5-and-4 victory by Scott Cunnigham over Mike Poetsch. However, Whitney Oaks Lafleur and Cunnigham secured the two points for the four-ball with a tight 1-up victory.

Lake of the Pines looked to have some life in them winning the fourth group, securing four points to two points, but at that stage any sort of a comeback was too little, too late. Whitney Oaks locked up the title in the final two groups winning the majority of the points in both earning four of the six available points to win in a dominating fashion.

White credits Whitney Oaks team match success for the continuity of the program as the majority of the team has been playing together for other a decade.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie,” he said. “It’s a really good group.”

And in 2014 the 26th year of the team match program, the Whitney Oaks team really hopes to be making history and become the first to ever three-peat.

“Next year we want to come back and win it a third time,” said White.

In the consolation match Tehama GC beat Green Hills CC by a score of 20-16. The consolation match was much more competitive as after the first four groups the two teams were in a 12-12 tie. However, the fifth group was the difference maker as Tehama’s Dave Eckles and Bob Simpson swept all six points to take an 18-12 lead. Eckles defeated Manny Macheda 4-and-2 and Simspon beat Herb Kwok 1-up, while winning the four-ball match 2-and-1.

The NCGA Team Match Play Championship will return to newly-renovated Poppy Hills in 2014.

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