PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (May 22, 2011) -- Sometimes in order to win it takes the least amount of mistakes to come away victorious. For Jason Higton and J.R. Becko that’s exactly what they did to rise above the rest of the field and win the 45th Annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship.
The duo did not play the most glamorous golf, only recording 12 birdies during the 54-hole event, but they went 41 consecutive holes without a bogey to finish the tournament. Their consistency paid off as they put together three solid rounds of 68-68-69 for a 205 total (11-under).
After an inconspicuous 68 on Friday, as five other teams posted 67s and Orr and Roak fired a tournament record of 62, Higton and Becko replicated Friday’s score on Saturday to put themselves in the second-to-last group for Sunday. Going into the final round the two thought it might take a 66 for them to win, but once the round started they knew it might be a different story.
“When we got to that second shot on number one you realize that ‘oh my goodness, it’s cold and windy today,’” said Higton, “this is going to be a harder day.”
It was tough for the players as neither of the 36-hole leaders Peterson and Davis or Roak and Orr could break par shooting 72 and 73, respectively. Peterson and Davis looked to be in the driver’s seat as the two were at 12-under after a birdie on 15. Then disaster struck as they took a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 16th.
Hardy and Reinsberg (Higton and Becko’s fellow-competitors) also were in great position to add another Four-Ball title to their resumes as they came to the 15th at 12-under par. However both players hit their tee shots into the pond on the short par-3 and ended up with a double-bogey 5.
More importantly, the 15th proved to be a critical hole for the eventual champions. Knowing at the time that they were down one shot to Hardy and Reinsberg, the two saw their fellow-competitors get themselves in trouble after hitting it in the water. That’s when Higton mimicked the other two and did the same. So, after seeing three balls go in the water, Becko got up to his ball and stuck it seven feet away from the hole, leading to a birdie.
Asked after the round if he felt pressure before hitting that shot, he said simply “I just relaxed and trusted my swing.”
This is the first time the two have played in this tournament together and are excited to win the Roger Val Trophy.
“We both grew up in Northern Califronia, so it’s definitely nice,” said Becko.
Added Higton, “the only bad thing though, is that we have to go back to work tomorrow.”
View results for Northern California (NCGA) Four-Ball Championship