Robert Funk (L) and Randy Haag (NCGA photo)
The par-4 1st hole at Poppy Hills finally gave teammates Randy Haag and Robert Funk a break. And the timing couldn't have been better.
Haag rolled in a clutch 15-foot birdie putt on No.1 on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, helping him and partner Robert Funk capture the annual NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship over Mike Rowley and Mark Morgan. Both teams finished regulation tied at 10-under par 203.
Ironically, in each of their three rounds during regulation, Funk and Haag had bogeyed the 1st hole.
"We found a way to win," said Haag, who joins Bob Berg, Rob Thompson and Mark Miller as three-time winners of the event. "After four months of not competing, It's just nice to get back out."
Haag, an NCGA Hall of Famer, had reconstruction surgery on his left ankle in November. Afterward, his doctor said he could possibly return to competition in June.
For Funk, meanwhile, who finished in second place in last year's NCGA Senior Player of the Year race, the win in a way meant going full circle.
About 20 years ago, still trying to believe in himself, Funk had played in an event at Poppy Hills. During the event, Haag commented to Funk that he had the game to win at a high level.
"When a player of Randy's caliber says something like that, anybody who is listening should be able to win," Funk said.
Rowley and Morgan, who were looking to go back-to-back, had made a charge with the low round of the day, a 4-under 67 in at times frigid conditions. In the playoff, Morgan also had a birdie putt, but his long try missed.
The team of Jeff Wilson and Todd Barsotti finished third at 204 after a final round 68. They too had a chance to get to 10-under but Wilson's eagle putt on the 18th skimmed by the cup.
In the Super Senior Championship (ages 65-over), the team of John Watson and Jim Williams posted a final-round 5-under 66 to come in at 9-under 204 for a three-shot win over the runner-up tandem of David Ujihara and Mel Collins.
It marked the first NCGA title for both Watson and Williams, who at 65 were both making their Super Senior debuts. The two Bay Area residents also shot 66 in Monday's opener.
"We both played well in difficult conditions," Watson said. "This is a ball-strikers course and we both hit the ball well."
Ujihara and Collins shot a final round 69 to come in at 207. Third place went to the team of Neil Duffy and Rich Morrison at 211.View results for NCGA Senior Four-Ball
ABOUT THE NCGA Senior Four-Ball
First played in 1999, the NCGA Senior Four-Ball
Championship is a two-person, better-ball scratch
for senior (age 55+) and super senior (65+) golfers.
The format is 54
four-ball stroke play (18 holes per day) over three
days. After 36 holes the field will be cut to the low
teams and ties. Max handicap 9.4.
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