NCGA Senior Four-Ball: Comeback victory for Randy Haag and Chip Lutz
Chip Lutz sinks the winning putt on the 5th hole <br>(NCGA Photo)</br>
Chip Lutz sinks the winning putt on the 5th hole
(NCGA Photo)

SEASIDE, CA (April 7, 2016)--Record six-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag and world top-ranked senior amateur Chip Lutz are no strangers to the pressure cooker.

On Wednesday at par-72 Bayonet Golf Course, the duo’s vast experience would carry them through again. Lutz, the defending U.S. Senior Amateur champion, drained a three-foot putt on the 5th hole of a sudden- death playoff to help him and Haag finally get by Doug and Jim Williams and win the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship.

Lutz’ winning putt, which ended a long day of the two teams dueling back and forth, was set up by a nearly perfect 54-yard pitch shot from just beyond the greenside bunker on the par-4 hole. Even the last putt didn’t come easy though, as it horseshoed around the cup before finally falling in.

“I wasn’t sure what wedge to hit. The greens had gotten so firm,” said Lutz, who went with a 60 degree sand wedge. “I hit it in the perfect spot and executed it at the right time.”

Haag, who plays out of the Olympic Club, and Lutz, a member of AmateurGolf.com, shot a 68 to come from two strokes back to tie the Williams brothers after regulation at 13-under 203. Lutz made key putts on both the 15th and 17th holes to keep the duo within striking distance.

“I love being in the hunt, coming down the stretch and making shots,” said Lutz, whose resume also includes a win at the 2011 Senior British Amateur. “The Williams brothers played really well. We were fortunate to get by them.”

On the 18th, both Doug and Jim Williams had putts to win outright, but missed for a 70. On the 5th hole of the playoff, they’d have to settle for par after both of their approach shots came up well short of the flagstick. Last year, the duo missed an agonizing short putt on the 18th hole at Poppy Hills that would’ve forced a playoff with eventual champs Casey Boyns and Terry Foreman.

“We were so close last year and we got to five playoff holes this year. It should have been today. We had our chances,” Jim Williams said. “Chip made a great birdie on the 17th and his shot on the 5th playoff hole was great too. We stood up pretty well with them. We had a lot of fun.”

Haag had his clutch moments too. Earlier in the round, he nearly holed out from the rough on the 5th hole for an easy birdie.

“This kind of pressure is what you aspire for,” said Haag, who’s been friends with Lutz for over 15 years. “You can’t play casual golf and put yourself in the heat of the moment. It was fun to have to grind it out.” Haag, 57, now has two senior victories this year. In March he won the San Francisco City Senior Championship. In that event, he’d defeat Jim Williams in the semifinals.

“It took me a while to warm up to senior golf,” said Haag, “I’m finding out that these guys are really, really good.”

Third place went to the team of Mark Miller and Mitch Harrison, who posted 67 to finish at 207. In the Super Senior Championship, Bruce Loman and Dave Sheff carded a 68 to finish at 207, defeating runner-ups Dennis Younglove and David Hemrick (68) by three strokes.

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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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