2023 NCGA Senior Championship
September 21, 2023 / by Jerry Stewart
Sept. 27, 2023
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 G&CC caught Terry Foreman with a birdie on the 18th hole at Poppy Hills, and went on to defeat Foreman on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff (par-4 1st) 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. Coming in, however, he'd bogey both the 17th and 18th holes to open the door for Stieler.
On the first playoff hole, both players found the fairway. Foreman, who carded a final round 71 despite the two bogeys, hit his second shot fat, however, 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 at 216 after a final round 75.
Sept. 26, 2023
There are still three players at the top of the leaderboard after day two of this week's NCGA Senior Championship, but two of the names are new.
Well, at least new to the top of this week's leaderboard.
Robert Funk, who won the event in 2020, and 2018 NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jeff Wilson joined Dennis Martin as co-leaders at 1-under 141 after a spectacular day at Poppy Hills.
Funk, of Canyon Lake, and Wilson, of Fairfield, each moved up after rounds of 2-under 69. Martin, who opened with a 70, slipped back just a stroke with a 71.
Chris Miller and Mike Stieler also are in the immediate at 142 after rounds of 71 and 72, respectively.
Also carding a 69 to share for low round of the day was Ron Ewing, who jumped 21 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for eighth at 145.
The cutline (low 30 and ties) came at 10-over par 152. Defending champion Jim Plotkin was among those coming in right on the number.
Sept. 25, 2023
Scores in the red were rare as the 62nd NCGA Senior Championship got underway Monday at par-71 Poppy Hills.
Only three players--Bobby Schaeffer, Dennis Martin and Mike Stieler--were able to crack par, with each coming in with matching first-round scores of 1-under 70.
Two players--Rob Campbell and Chris Miller--are just a shot back at 70.
Robert Funk, who won the title in 2020, Jeff Wilson and Steve Schroeder are among six players tied for sixth at 72.
Following Tuesday's second round, a cut will be made with the low 30 players and ties advancing to Wednesday's final round