Grady Smith and Cole Nygren capture the NCGA Four-Ball
Grady Smith (L) and Cole Nygren (R) <br>(NCGA Photo)
Grady Smith (L) and Cole Nygren (R)
(NCGA Photo)

PEBBLE BEACH, CA (May 14, 2017) - Immediately after the conclusion of Sunday’s final round, Cole Nygren got a phone call from his mother.

“She must’ve seen the scores posted online,” Nygren said with a smile.

Stephanie Smith, meanwhile, had earlier told her son Grady. ‘What I want for Mother’s Day is for you to win.”

In Nygren and Smith’s case, the weekend didn’t just start perfectly, it ended that way too.

The Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo teammates shot a final round 4-under 68 Sunday at Spyglass Hill, rolling to a record 10-stroke win at the annual NCGA Four-Ball Championship. Their 54-hole total of 18-under 198, despite blustery winds both Friday and Sunday, was just three shots off the tournament record of 195.

In the first two rounds, Nygren, a senior, and Smith, a junior, were simply in another zone. In Friday’s opening round, they’d shoot a 64 when the stroke average of the day was 80.127. In Saturday’s second round, their 66 was 14 strokes lower than the field average.

While everyone else was getting blown off the course, the duo sailed. It was the first time they’d ever teed off together in a Four-Ball event. On Saturday night, Cal Poly head coach Scott Cartwright sent the two a text reading, ‘Keep it up. You’re killing it.’

“We both have the type of games where we’re not going to miss a lot of shots,” Smith said. “It’s highly unlikely for both of us to miss a shot at the same time.”

Entering Sunday’s finale, the duo held a comfy seven-shot lead but were being chased by not only veteran Randy Haag and partner Jason Anthony but also 2013 Mid-Amateur Four-Ball champs Jeff Gilchrist and Steve Woods. Haag and Anthony, the defending NCGA Mid-Am Four-Ball champs, did all they could to try and hang in there but shot a 71 to come in second at 208. Gilchrist and Woods slipped back to ninth place with a 74.

“We didn’t look at the competition. We had our eyes on the prize and wanted to get the tournament record for total score,” Smith said.

For Haag and Anthony, any chances of making a charge ended with a double-bogey seven on the par-5 7th.

“We wanted to make a run at them and never gave up but it didn’t happen,” Anthony said. “They played a hell of a tournament. Our hats are off to them.”

Nygren and Smith briefly cracked the door open by playing their front-nine at even par. After making the turn, however, it was again business as usual, with the two going 4-under thanks in part to a Nygren eagle on the par-5 11th.

For both Nygren and Smith, the win marked their first NCGA victories.

“It feels really good,” Smith said. “It was a fun three days.”

Finishing tied for third at 209 after rounds of 67 and 68 were the teams of Jason Higton and J.R. Becko and Ryan Sloane and Ben Peters, respectively.

View results for NCGA Four-Ball


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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