Mel Collins, David Ujihara go low at NCGA Sr. Four-Ball
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (June 13, 2012) -- Mel Collins and David Ujihara came out firing on all cylinders Wednesday for the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship at Poppy Hills GC. The duo tied the lowest 18-hole score in the event’s history, posting a score of 63, 9-under par. Starting off on the 10th tee, the duo made back-to-back pars before a barrage of birdies started coming their way. On the par-5 12th hole with another par looking imminent Collins chipped-in for birdie off the front of the green.

“From there we just started rolling,” said Collins of the importance of the shot.

Sure enough birdies followed on holes 13 and 14 and then to close out the nine on 17 and 18 for an immaculate front-nine score of 31. But they didn’t slow down at all as they opened their back nine with birdies on Nos. one and two, to make it four consecutive birdies, and seven in 11 holes.

“Some days you have momentum and you lose it, but today we were just lucky to keep it going,” said Ujihara.

The only semblance of losing momentum came between holes three and seven, where the duo went cold—by their day’s standards—settling for five straight pars. The two got back on track though as they finished with birdies on the eighth and ninth for a bogey-free 63.

“It was just one of those days where everything seemed to work for us,” said Collins.

In general scores were particularly lower than last year as 27 teams shot under-par with 13 of those scores being 4-under or better. Last year after the first round of the championship only six teams broke 70 as three teams had a share of the lead at 4-under 68. This year a 4-under 68 was good enough for a seven-way tie for seventh place.

Joe Beato and Gregory Saiki played exceptionally well today, firing a 6-under 66 to put themselves alone in second. After a birdie on their opening hole, the par-5 10th, the two reeled off 10 straight pars before they saw their next one. Then their last seven holes Beato and Saiki converted three birdies (Nos. three, four and eight) and finished fashionably with an eagle on the par-5 ninth.

In a four-way tie for fifth place after posting 5-under 67s are 2011 runner-ups Casey Boyns and Mark Miller, Bob Fleming and Peter Moren, James Duncan and Ray Kong, and Rich Gleghorn and Jeff Newkirk. The teams of Boyns and Miller and Gleghorn and Newkirk carded bogey-free rounds with five birdies and 13 pars, respectively. Fleming and Moren had six birdies and one bogey in their round, while Duncan and Kong had five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the day.

Defending champions Jeff Burda and Jim Knoll posted a first round score of 3-under 69 to find themselves in a tie for 14th place. Currently 32 teams are at even-par 72 or better. At the conclusion of tomorrow’s round a 36-hole cut will be made with the low 30 teams plus ties qualifying for Friday play. Players will tee off Thursday at 7:30 a.m. with first round leaders Collins and Ujihara teeing off of No. one at 9:20 a.m.

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ABOUT THE NCGA Senior Four-Ball

First played in 1999, the NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship is a two-person, better-ball scratch event for senior (age 55+) and super senior (65+) golfers. The format is 54 holes four-ball stroke play (18 holes per day) over three days. After 36 holes the field will be cut to the low 30 teams and ties. Max handicap 9.4.

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