NCGA Mixed Team: Champions crowned in 2nd annual
-- NCGA Photo
-- NCGA Photo

CARMEL, Calif. (March 30, 2014) -- The weather soured, but that didn’t stop champions from being crowned Saturday at the second annual Mixed Team Spring Championship at par-70 Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Club.

In the Chardonnay Flight (0-11 handicap index), Rancho Murieta residents John and Angie Friedrich came away with the title, posting a stellar round of 7-under 63 to defeat the runner-up tandem of Terry Levis/Joel Jessel by six strokes. The Friedrichs, who finished with a two-day total of 11-under 129, had entered the final round tied with Chardonnay defending champions Jake Markman/Althea Peng at 66.

For the Friedrichs, the win erased their 2013 Mixed Team debut, which the couple described as “awful.”

“The key was to keep at least one ball in play,” said Angie with a laugh. “That and don’t three-putt. It was a lot of fun.”

The Friedrichs were nearly flawless, carding an eagle on the 487-yard par-5 6th to go with eight birdies and just one bogey. Levis and Jessel made a move with two eagles, but could only muster up four birdies.

Placing third at 136 (69-67) was the Jordan squad comprised of Monty and Diane. The Markman/Peng duo, which was paired with the Friedrichs in the final round, slipped into a tie for fifth after posting a 72.

“There’s a competitive nature there but it’s below the surface,” John Friedrich said. “It’s supposed to be fun.”

The difference in the Merlot Flight (12-17 handicap index) also turned out to be a 63.

There, the tandem of Foster City residents Chris Luczkiewicz and Renee Anderson put up the number to knock off runner-ups Robert Armentrout and Nicki Anderson by four strokes.

Luczkiewicz and Anderson, who’ve been a couple for 13 years and play out of TPC at Stonebrae, were making their Mixed Team debut. They’d make their charge with an eagle, seven birdies and nine pars. The couple’s only miscue was a double-bogey on the par-4 17th.

“It’s awesome. I’m very excited about getting the win,” Anderson said.

“Renee drove the ball well and she putted, and I hit shots onto the greens” Luczkiewicz said. “We complemented each other really well.”

The Richardson team (Jim and Maureen), which took the first round lead with a 63, fell back to fourth place after a 71. Armentrout and Nicki Anderson carded two eagles and five birdies, but had to settle for a 66 due to four bogeys and a double-bogey.

The Shewchuk team of Thomas and Bonnie claimed third place with a 63 of their own that featured an eagle and eight birdies.

In the Zinfandel Flight (18-above handicap index), longtime partners John Lee and Kimlien Tran of Stockton made it tough on everyone else by posting a brilliant 11-under 59. The duo, who erased a four-stroke first round deficit, lit up their scorecard by writing in two eagles and nine birdies to go with just two bogeys to win by two over the tandem of Jim and Sasa Puchbauer.

For Lee and Tran, the breezy conditions were like playing at home. They reside near The Reserve at Spanos Park, where they play at least once a week.

“Playing in Stockton, we’re comfortable in the wind,” Lee said.

Following a disappointing first round 65, the pair spent some time on the Ranch’s driving range.

“We literally hit a pyramid of balls after Friday to work on everything,” Lee said.

According to Tran, the key to their 59 was perfect teamwork.

“I’m a pretty good driver and I was getting them in the fairway today. From there, John was knocking them on,” Tran said.

The Puchbauers did all they could to try and catch up, posting a 63 that included two eagles and seven birdies. First round leaders Dave and Judy Sanchez, who opened with a 63, had to settle for third place after carding a 70.

ABOUT THE NCGA Spring Mixed Team

The championship will be 36 holes of stroke play (18 holes per day) in a Mixed Chapman format. Play will be 60% of the lower course handicap and 40% of the higher course handicap. Open to any male/female team ages 18 and up. Both team members must be members of the NCGA. Format: Mixed Chapman. Play will be 60% of the higher course handicap and 40% of the lower course handicap. The field is divided into three flights by handicap index: Chardonnay 0-9, Merlot 10-18 and Zinfandel 19 and above.

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