PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (April 1, 2013) -- The cream rose to the top Monday at Spyglass Hill for the 52nd Annual NCGA Senior Championship. Tomorrow’s final group will feature four previous NCGA major winners, and the final round should be a battle of attrition between the four perennial players.
Leading the way by a single stroke is 2009 NCGA Senior Champion and multiple NCGA and CGA champion Gary Vanier, who fired a two-under par 70. Vanier’s round included three bogeys and five birdies, none more important than the back-to-back birdies he converted to close out his round on Nos. 17 and 18.
“I knocked in two 12-footers over the last two holes, and I’m not sure how they went in,” said a somewhat incredulous Vanier.
While his putting may have been a little too inconsistent for his taste, Vanier’s ball-striking was in top form as he would explain he hit nearly every green in regulation and kept the ball out of trouble. As for how he feels about tomorrow’s round the former champion is keeping a stoic poker face about the whole situation, saying simply that “tomorrow will be interesting.”
Joining Vanier in the final pairing is Dan Bieber of Alamo, a former NCGA Senior Match Play Champion. Bieber held an early clubhouse lead with a one-under 71, but that lasted for all of 20 minutes, until Vanier posted his two-under par round. Bieber’s day did not get off to the start he wanted with a bogey on the par-5 first. However, the 60-year-old wasn’t fooled by the other par 5s as he birdied Nos. 7, 11 and 14, with his only other bogey occurring on the eighth hole.
The other two players to round out the group are Casey Boyns and Terry Foreman, who each posted an opening round score of even-par 72. Boyns, arguably the most storied NCGA golfer in history owning over a dozen NCGA championships to his name, had a steady day with 14 pars, two birdies and two bogeys. The Pacific Grove resident has yet to add an NCGA Senior title to his resume, but he’s itching to do so in his third start, especially coming off a third place finish in last year’s event.
Foreman, who’s playing in only his second NCGA Senior, had a similar type round to Boyns as he made three birdies and three bogeys. Foreman is the most recent senior player of the group to win an NCGA major at Spyglass Hill as he won the NCGA Senior Match Play Championship in August beating none other than Gary Vanier.
The final group will tee off Tuesday at 9:50 a.m. off the first tee at Spyglass Hill.
BRANNAN TRIBUTE: At the conclusion of Monday’s first round, around 3:30 p.m., a few dozen senior players gathered around the upper putting green at Spyglass Hill near the Founder’s Club to honor defending champion, the late Michael Brannan. Brannan, who passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer, was honored by a few words from his peers. NCGA Vice President Brian Morse, who emceed the event asked for Jim Knoll and Casey Boyns to share a few lasting memories of Brannan. Knoll reminisced the days when he played against Brannan in college, as PGA Tour members and most recently in some NCGA senior events. Similarly, Boyns recalled days of playing against Brannan as they attended rival high schools in Monterey County and later in college at BYU and Utah.
After a few words were spoken in his honor all previous champions that were present were asked to putt towards a hole, representing a final putt in Brannan’s memory. Additionally, a flag signed and framed by all senior participants was presented to Brannan’s surviving father and brother.
View results for NCGA Senior Golf Championship (Northern California)