Mike Stieler (Northern California Golf Association Photo)
Ripon resident Mike Stieler
was no stranger to winning an NCGA title.
In 2013 and 2014, he won the NCGA Four-Ball Championship playing with buddy Danny Paniccia. In 2017 and 2019 too, the pair won the NCGA Mid-Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
This time, Stieler got his own title.
The 56-year-old superintendent at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club caught Terry Foreman
with a birdie on No. 18 at Poppy Hills, and went on to defeat Foreman on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff on No. 1 to claim his first individual NCGA crown.
"It's hard to win," said Stieler, who finished with a three-day total of 1-over 214. "All of the years that I've played. All of the attempts I've made. It's great that it paid off."
Foreman, 10 years older than Stieler at 66, looked to be in great shape to claim his first NCGA individual since the 1977 Public Links Championship. However, he'd bogey both No. 17 and No. 18 to open the door for Stieler.
On the first playoff hole, both players found the fairway. Foreman, who carded a final round despite the two bogeys, hit his second shot fat, leaving him short of the green. He'd have to settle for a bogey. Stieler, meanwhile, got on in regulation and two-putted for a par and the victory.
"I just chunked it," said Foreman, whose last NCGA win came at the 2015 NCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship with partner Casey Boyns. "I still had a great event. It'll sting, but it is what it is. Mike's a great player."
Stieler made his biggest move in the first round when he carded a 1-under 70. Coming into the tournament, Stieler had been working with Kevin Wentworth, a former Tour professional who played with Stieler on the Spring Creek Team Match Play squad.
"He has helped me a ton with my irons," Stieler said. "He's really tightened up my irons play."
Third place went to Jeff Wilson after a final round 4-over 75.
ABOUT THE NCGA Senior
First played in 1962, the NCGA Senior Championship
association’s premier event for players aged 55 and
championship will be 54-holes of stroke play (18
holes per day). After
36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 30
individuals and ties. Pre-
qualifying required for non-exempt players. Players
must have a
handicap index of 7.4 or less.
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