Riverside Takes NCGA Team Match Title

PEBBLE BEACH, CA (October 24, 2009)--After months of league competition Riverside and Tehama almost needed extra holes Saturday to determine the last one standing. A clutch two-putt allowed Riverside to hang on and defeat Tehama to capture the 21st Annual Team Match Championship title at Poppy Hills.

Riverside’s victory in the final was its second in as many days, capturing the Saturday league title with a win over Spring Creek the day before. Both finalists moved forward on the strength of convincing 23-13 margins in the semifinals. Tehama was seeking to win its second title since 2005 with several players from the championship squad, including club head pro Rick Leibovich and team captain Bill Yakobovich anchoring the current team.

The championship match was all square heading into the 18th hole with Tehama’s Yakobovich and Riverside’s Bill Duarte both on the front of the green in regulation more than 60 feet away. Duarte benefitted from seeing Yakobovich putt first. The Fresno resident cozied his first putt to the hole within tap-in range placing pressure on team captain Yakobovich to make a double-breaking putt from thirty feet. After Yakobovich was unable to save par he graciously conceded Duarte’s winning par putt.

Duarte displayed calm and grit down the stretch after bouncing back from an unnerving penalty on the back nine. The Riverside team member was assessed a loss of hole penalty for touching his line of putt. He persevered on the closing stretch at Poppy Hills to claim the winning putt.

The magnitude of the win was not lost on Riverside. “This is the biggest victory the club has ever had,” explained team captain Manuel Herrera. “We were most definitely nervous but we kept playing hard and waited to see what happened.”

The popular championship is the conclusion to a summer-long competition involving more than 200 teams from across Northern California. The 12-man teams competed in four-ball (best ball) matches concurrent with singles’ matches, with each match worth two points, or a total of six in each group. More than 15,000 rounds were played to bring the final four clubs - Tehama, Riverside, Whitney Oaks and Spring Creek - to the Monterey Peninsula.

“Each club selects its own team members and nobody has to qualify,” explains Jim Moriarty, NCGA board member and chairman of the Tournament Committee. “The maximum index is 18.4 and thus players who are not otherwise eligible for other NCGA tournaments can participate. Approximately 3,500 different players participated in 2009. For the players making it to Poppy Hills it is the equivalent to their Presidents Cup. They take it seriously and have gotten this far for a reason.”

Whitney Oaks advanced to the final four at Poppy Hills for the second straight year. Like 2008 the Rocklin club lost on Friday and settled for a spot in the consolation match on the weekend. It was Spring Creek who captured third place honors though after a dominant 27-9 victory over the Rocklin Club. In a true team effort, every member of the Spring Creek squad contributed a point to the 27 point-total Saturday.

Championship Match

Tehama GC Riverside GC
Rick Leibovich 2 Keith Berry 5&4
4&3 David Gill 2 Aaron Hensley
Leibovich/Gill 2 Berry/Hensley 3&2
Tom Zoller 2 Ryan Wiezycki
Gerry Schwartzel 2 Jason Flores 1UP
Zoller/Schwartzel 1 1 Wiezycki/Flores AS
Dick Brown 2 Javier Soto 1UP
Marc Bromley 2 Manuel Herrera 1UP
Brown/Bromley 2 Soto/Herrera
Bill Kiely 2 Jose Espinoza 2&1
David Eckles 2 Robert Jacobs
Kiely/Eckles 2 Espinoza/Jacobs
Bill Yakobovich 2 Bill Duarte 1up
2&1 Pat Sullivan 2 Robert Atkinson
2&1 Yakobovich/Sullivan 2 Duarte/Atkinson
Lon Mollentine 2 Jeff Berry
Joe Fogel 2 Alan Axt
Mollentine/Fogel 2 Berry/Axt
Total: 17 19 :Total

Third Place Match

Spring Creek GCC Whitney Oaks GC
Shea Rollins 2 Kyle Gillmore 1UP
2&1 Kyle Huckell 2 Gary White
1UP Rollins/Huckell 2 Gillmore/White
8&7 Andy Ward 2 Mike Poetsch
Mike Kinch 2 Scott Straub 2UP
4&3 Ward/Kinch 2 Poestsch/Straub
5&3 Danny Castallon 2 Fred Huston
Alan Wilbur 2 Steve Ronan 3&2
4&3 Castallon/Wilbur 2 Huston/Ronan
5&4 Mike Weintz 2 Ed McGreehan
3&2 Gil Huckell 2 Greg Larson
4&3 Weintz/Huckell 2 McGreehan/Larson
5&4 Mike McNulty 2 Doug King
AS Eric Armstrong 1 1 Mike Barnes AS
1UP McNulty/Armstrong 2 King/Barnes
4&2 Gary Lopez 2 Chuck Roberts
Paul Kaminski 2 Terry Siler 2&1
4&3 Lopez/Kaminski 2 Roberts/Siler
Total: 27 9 :Total
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