NCGA: Defending champions Paniccia, Stieler make run
Cameron Champ
Cameron Champ

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (May 10, 2014) -- The wind picked up at par-72 Spyglass Hill on Saturday, leaving the annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship completely up in the air.

Coming off a stellar opening round 6-under 66,the best first round leaders Cameron Champ and Gary Dunn in the second round was an even par 72. That opened the door for among others defending champions Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler, who shot 67 to tie Champ and Dunn at the top of the leaderboard after the morning tee times at a total of 6-under 138.

A day after shooting a bogey-free 66, Champ, an 18-year-old home schooled senior who hails from Sacramento, and Dunn, a 39-year-old medical salesman from Granite Bay, struggled straight from the start.

On the par-4 1st, Champ, who’s headed to Texas A&M University in the fall, had his approach shot get stuck in a tree. On No.2, Champ tried to drive the green but his ball went right and hit the cart path, sending it further right into the dunes for a second straight bogey. A Dunn birdie on No.3 after sticking his tee shot to within 15 feet of the flagstick finally stopped the bleeding.

But the two never really recovered. Despite three other birdies, they’d card two more bogeys on No.8 and No.16 to bring themselves back to the pack.

“We just got off to a rocky start,” Dunn said. “We had some great chances to make up ground on the back-nine but we missed some easy putts.”

While Dunn and Champ scrambled to stay even, Paniccia and Stieler made a huge push by playing their last eight holes at 5 under.

Paniccia and Stieler, who used to work together at Riverbend Golf Club in Madera and had entered the day five strokes off the lead, penciled in birdies at Nos.11, 13 and 15 before closing out with back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th. Paniccia got the pair going on No.11 by pitching in after his approach shot bounced through the green. On the 17th, it was Stieler’s turn as he knocked in a birdie putt.

“It was an epic last eight holes,” Paniccia said.

Coming in at 141, just three behind Saturday’s early leaders, was the tandems of Steve Woods and Jeff Gilchrist and former Stevenson School teammates Michael Decker and Seb Crampton.Woods and Gilchrist, who paired up to win last year’s NCGA Master Division Four-Ball Championship, also opened with a bogey on No.1. From there though, they’d epitomize steady, carding 14 pars and three birdies for a 70.

Decker and Crampton, who helped Stevenson School in Pebble Beach win its first California Interscholastic Federation State Championship title in 2013, had five birdies but also slipped with a double-bogey on the par-3 12th for a 71. Crampton will be a freshman at Cal in the fall, while Decker now plays at Vanderbilt University.


The NCGA Four-Ball Championship began in 1967 at Spyglass Hill golf course and has been played the Robert Trent Jones layout ever since. The 54-hole competition consists of two-man teams in which both players play their own ball and the lowest score of the two is counted on each hole.

18 holes qualifying four-ball stroke play. The championship proper will be 54 holes of four-ball stroke play, 18 holes per day. After 36 holes, the field is cut to 40 teams and ties. Both partners must meet eligibility requirements, holding a handicap index of 5.4 or less.

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