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Haag, Padilla move on as Senior NCGA semis set
Randy Haag (NCGA photo)
Randy Haag (NCGA photo)

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 22, 2018) – Only four players remain at the Senior Match Play Championship after both the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals were completed Wednesday at Spyglass Hill in a long day of golf for competitors.

Two-time defending champ and top seed Randy Haag remains the favorite, after he won two matches to advance to the semifinals. Haag cruised through the morning round, defeating No. 27 seed Dean Prince by a 4 and 3 margin. In the 15 holes completed, Haag was 3-under par, carding five birdies along with a double-bogey. In the afternoon quarterfinal match, Haag trailed for the majority of the round against No. 8 seed Corey West. West held the lead for the first ten holes and was 3-up on two occasions. But Haag turned it on for the back nine, opening with two birdies to square up the match, and cruised to the clubhouse with six consecutive pars to win, 2 and 1.

Haag will face an underdog on a hot streak in the semifinal match, after No. 28 seed John Watson of San Francisco GC soundly defeated No. 12 seed Rick Sepp in the morning, 9 and 7, and then beat fellow underdog No. 29 seed David Halvorson, 4 and 3, in the afternoon. Watson, who made it through qualifying Monday at Poppy Hills shooting a 7-over 78, played his 26 holes Wednesday in level par, making just three bogeys and three birdies.

On the bottom half of the bracket, No. 2 seed Tony Padilla remains unscathed after winning his morning match against No. 18 seed Steve Wilson, 3 and 2, and then beating the No. 10 seed Jeff Britton in 19 holes in the quartefinal match. In the afternoon grudge match against Britton, Padilla did not hold the lead for a single hole on the back nine, squaring up the match on 18 with a par, and then taking the win with a birdie on the extra hole.

The last player advancing to the semifinals is No. 14 seed John Mack, another player who advanced from the stroke play qualifying on Monday. Mack upset No. 2 seed Casey Boyns in the morning round, winning, 2 and 1. In the afternoon match against No.27 seed Bobby Davis, Mack sailed into the clubhouse by a 5-and-4 margin. Mack made eight birdies in the 32 holes he played Wednesday, including an impressive six birdies in his morning match against Boyns.

ABOUT THE NCGA Senior Match Play

The NCGA Senior Match Play Championship was historically an invite-only event in which the top 16 players on the NCGA Senior points list were invited to participate in the Senior Match Play Championship, held concurrently with the NCGA Amateur Match Play at Spyglass Hill, over a three- day period. However, beginning in 2012 the event was modified to a 32-player match play field, still allotting 16 spots to the top 16 of the NCGA Senior points list, while allowing the other half of the field to qualify.

Senior players must have a handicap index of 7.4 or less. There is no handicap limit for super seniors.

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