Winter 2018

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56th Senior Championship 54 WINTER 2018 | NCGA.ORG T O U R N A M E N T C E N T R A L Wrapping up the Year End of 2017 NCGA Season Still Exciting Sept. 27–29 | Poppy Hills GC S acramento's Tony Padilla shut the door on any thoughts of a potential playoff. Stuck in a duel with NCGA legend Randy Haag, Padilla finished with the loudest bang, draining a 70-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th to walk away with the title. For Padilla, who turned 55 in May, it was his first victory in just two starts as a senior. "Wow, it feels great," said Padilla, who finished with a 54-hole total of 3-under 210, edging Haag by one. Padilla's good fortune began a hole earlier on the par-4 17th when, trailing Haag by a shot, his approach landed and rolled to within two feet of the flagstick for a birdie. Haag's birdie putt, meanwhile, lipped out, leaving the two tied headed to the 18th. On the pivotal 18th, Haag's drive landed in the fairway bunker, forcing him to lay up. Padilla split the fairway, and took advantage of the position by reaching the green in two. Haag hit a pretty third shot that stopped within seven feet of the pin, but it didn't matter after Padilla's heroics. "When I saw Randy's shot into the green I had a feeling that I had to make my eagle putt to win. But you're not really thinking about making it," Padilla said. For Haag, it was yet another cruel finish. In the Olympic Club member's previous four events–the most recent being The Crump Cup–he'd held at least a share of the lead heading to the 17th hole. He lost all four events –two of the losses coming when he made a double-bogey. This time though, it was Padilla's birdie- eagle finish that did him in. "At least I like all the guys who ended up winning," quipped Haag, who shot a final round 70. "I haven't experienced a run like this in all my years." Padilla, a member at Winchester CC, could be just getting started. A former mini tour player (including Hogan Tour), he had his amateur status reinstated a year ago. He's played in other NCGA events, but has mostly competed with the younger corps. At the 2017 NCGA Valley Amateur, he'd finish 10th. "So far, my senior career is off to a really good start," Padilla said with a smile. Fellow Olympic Club members Bruce Hanavan and Mike Staskus finished T-3 at 219 after rounds of 75 and 77, respectively. Oct. 9–10 | Poppy Ridge GC L ongtime pals Danny Paniccia and Mike Stieler came through when it mattered the most. Paniccia, 40, and Stieler, 50, who formerly worked together at Riverbend Golf Course (now Dragonfly GC) in Fresno, made birdie on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to defeat the formidable tandems of Mark Hill and Brandon Toll and Brett Viboch and Rick Reinsberg. While it was their first victory together in the Mid- Am Four-Ball, the two already had proven to be a lethal combo. In 2013 and 2014, Paniccia and Stieler went back-to-back at the NCGA Four-Ball Championship. "It's always nice to win," Stieler said. "You never know how the ball is going to bounce." Paniccia and Stieler, who finished with a two-day total of 14-under 130, posted only one bogey in regulation. In the playoff, Stieler knocked his approach shot to within 6 feet of the flagstick but he'd never have to putt, as Paniccia sank his 10-foot putt. Viboch had a chance to extend the playoff but his 9-footer slipped past the cup. "Going into the playoff was fun," Stieler said. "Converting in the playoff was even more fun." Hill and Toll had shot a tournament record 10- under 62 with 10 birdies to get into the playoff. Viboch and Reinsberg had also made a big second-round move, carding a bogey-free 63 that featured nine birdies. 1 4 t h M i d - A m a t e u r F o u r - B a l l C h a m p i o n s h i p

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