PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (July 6, 2010) -- As the NCGA Master Division Championship demonstrated, fortunes in a golf tournament can literally change in the blink of an eye.
Or in the case of champion Daniel Sullivan of Pasadena, by realizing the rarest achievement in golf, a double eagle, on the tournament’s final hole.
Sullivan’s holed 3-wood from 225 yards on Poppy Hills’ 18th hole propelled him from three strokes back to a tie for the lead shared by defending champion Randy Haag of Burlingame in the event for competitors aged 40 or older.
By the mid-point of the final round, the championship appeared to be another coronation for Haag, an 11-time NCGA champion. The Olympic Club member had stated the day with a one-shot lead, but a birdie binge resulted in five birdies in seven holes and a multiple-stroke lead with eight holes to go. But costly bogeys on nos. 13-15 left the door open for the 43-year-old Sullivan’s double eagle, which resulted in a tie at four-under 140.
“I knew coming into the final round that Casey (Boyns, who started the day one behind Haag) and Randy are really good players, so I had 66 in mind,” the champion said. “You don’t expect to make double eagle; I got really lucky.”
The playoff took two holes with Sullivan, the 2009 Santa Barbara County champion, making two pars to Haag’s par and three-putt bogey on the Poppy Hills’ second hole. “I told myself – just hit fairways and greens in the playoff,” Sullivan said. “Make him beat me and give myself a chance.”
The champion is a member of the NCGA through the Association Member program and is the first male Association Member to claim an NCGA title. The Brookside CC member in Southern California had previously played in the NCGA Four-Ball.
Haag started the final round in a foursome that collective represented 34 total NCGA and State Amateur titles (Boyns, CordeValle’s Darryl Donovan and Jamie Looper of Oakdale rounded out the foursome).
Craig Kilcoyne of the Concord GC took third place, four back of the champion.