Brannan Wins Northern California Senior
-- photo NCGA
-- photo NCGA

Pebble Beach, Calif. (April 13, 2012) -- After his first round 72, Michael Brannan talked about how he got away with his mistakes. Well today was as close of a mistake-free day as he could have. Brannan shot an impressive 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill with four birdies and two bogeys. “If you get ahead of yourself, Spylass will chew you up,” he said. “You know you’re going to make bogeys here you just try to limit them.”

He did exactly that as his back-nine was bogey free and he made birdies down the stretch on the 15th and 18th holes. “I don’t know if I hit the ball any better today than yesterday,” he said, “but I managed my game well and hit some good shots when I needed to.”

Brannan’s 36-hole total of 142 gave him a two-shot victory over first-round co-leader Herb Jensen, who followed yesterday’s 71 with a 73 for a 144 total. Coming in third was Casey Boyns who posted one of three under-par scores with a 71. His 74-71-145 was good enough to add another NCGA medal to his collection. The other under-par score was a surging Gary Vanier, who played in the fifth to last group. His 2-under par 70 put his two-day total at 146 and gave him a solo fourth place finish. Defending champion and first round co-leader Jim Knoll followed his 71 with a 77 to finish in a tie for sixth.

An accomplished golfer, Brannan added a fourth NCGA major to his resume. What makes his case unique though is the last one he won was more than 35 years ago. It was in 1976 when Brannan beat Scott Hoyt 3&1 for the NCGA Amateur Match Play title. “It’s been a long time,” said Brannan. “Almost 40 years later, it’s very nice to win again.”

Boyns isn’t surprised to see Brannan back in the winner’s circle. He’s been competing with him since the two were in high school at different Monterey county schools. After high school Brannan went on to play golf at BYU and Boyns went on to play his college golf at its rival Utah. “This is how it’s always been,” said Boyns, who went on to reference one of his first collegiate tournaments where he finished second to Brannan.

Brannan indeed is a well-deserving champion. Besides his 1976 NCGA Amateur win, he won the 1973 NCGA Junior and the 1973 NCGA Four-Ball with Jim Lathum. Furthermore, Brannan won the 1971 U.S. Junior Championship and two California State Amateur titles in 1973 and 1976. A dominant player in the 1970s he won three of the first five NCGA Player of the Year awards (1973, 1974 and 1976) when the program was adopted in 1971.

With the win and a move up near the top of the Senior Player of the Year list, Brannan still says he will pick his spots where he plays, but he’s glad to be out on golf course competing and spending time with fellow senior players.

“I came out here thinking that at least I can be out here in the competition, that’s what it’s all about it, [competing],” he said. “Winning is great, but just being out here and playing [with others] is all I wanted to do.”

TOURNAMENT NOTES: Last year competing in his first NCGA Senior Brannan finished in a tie for second place shooting a 151. This year he beat that score by nine strokes and shattered the previous 36-hole record at Spyglass in the four years it’s been here. Since the move to the Pebble Beach address in 2009 no score has been lower than 146. This year alone four players matched or bettered that. In fact, prior to this year only three scores had been shot in the 140s—all champions—while this year 12 players shot 149 or better.

A reason for that according to Brannan was due to softer conditions because of the rain. Yes, it was a rain-filled Thursday night and Friday morning until there was a break in the action around 9:30. Rain then was scattered through the rest of the morning until noon when finally the sun came out, but the wind picked up.


First played in 1962, the NCGA Senior Championship is the association’s premier event for players aged 55 and over. The championship will be 54-holes of stroke play (18 holes per day). After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 30 individuals and ties. Pre- qualifying required for non-exempt players. Players must have a handicap index of 7.4 or less.

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