July 7, 2009
PEBBLE BEACH – Randy Haag might want to consider moving to Monterey if he keeps up his current streak.
After capturing the NCGA Master Division Championship at Spyglass Hill on the heels of winning the Monterey City at Del Monte GC Sunday, the 50-year-old Olympic Club member concluded a hot weekend.
“If someone had told me I would shoot nine-under over the last five days I would have said, ‘No chance,’” the champion said. After posting a two-over 74 to fall four strokes behind first-round leader Brian Swenson of The Bridges, who would fall to a tie for fifth, Haag came back with a two-under 144 to win by three strokes.
Two other NCGA stalwarts with deep championship pedigree grabbed runner-up and third-place honors – Darryl Donovan and Casey Boyns respectively.
The shot of the day came from Fresno MAGA’s Scott Baker, who aced the 15th hole.
This is Haag’s third Master Division Championship joining others won in 1999 and 2002 (he has also finished second three times). The victory is Haag’s first in an NCGA event since 2002, a long drought for one of Northern California’s most steady and consistently competitive players. The Master Division Championship is an event designed for the player aged 40 and older, and for the first time in 2009, included senior players (previoulsy there was an upper age limit of 54).
With the win, Haag seizes a firm lead in the race for NCGA Player of the Year honors with 2 1/2 months left in the season. Should his lead hold, it would be Haag’s fourth award, joining Casey Boyns as the only players to achieve that status, an achivement that holds special meaning to the champion: “That’s forever. I was in awe of Casey winning for a fourth time after he was 50 (in 2007), and I thought that if I can get healthy enough, it would be great to tie him.”
With the NCGA Stroke Play coming up this weekend in the Monterey area (at Poppy Hills), it would be difficult to bet against him.