Padilla Takes NCGA Senior Match Play Title

Tony Padilla of Sacramento knocked off two-time defending champion Randy Haag of Orinda, 4 and 2, to capture the 12th Northern California Golf Association Senior Match Play Championship at Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach.

The 55-year-old Padilla also beat the highly-decorated Haag by one stroke for the 2017 NCGA Senior Championship last September at Poppy Hills Golf CoursePoppy Hills Golf Course with a 70-foot eagle putt on the last hole.

“Randy is one of the most accomplished players in the country, so you gotta make sure you don’t make mistakes, or he’ll take advantage of them,” said Padilla, who is a college basketball official.

“Today again, I was just trying to hit fairways and greens, and I pretty much accomplished what I was after.”

Padilla never trailed after taking the lead on the par-5 first hole with a birdie and followed with nine consecutive pars to take a 2-up lead into the back nine, before making it 3 up with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole.

It was over three holes later.

“When I made birdie on 13, that was huge,” Padilla said. “Randy was in there about eight feet. I made a 30-footer and he ended up just missing his putt. That swung the tide in my direction.”

It was a rare defeat for Haag, who has won more that 100 amateur tournaments in Northern California tournaments and has been named NCGA Player Of The Year four times.

Haag also has won national events such as the Stocker Cup and the Crump Cup, and has been selected Player-of-the-Year three times.

Ron Johnson of Walnut Creek won the NCGA Super Senior Championship with a 1-up victory over Frank Pieper of Carmel.

Johnson won the first hole with a birdie and built a 5-up after eight holes before Pieper fought back by winning four of the next eight holes, and his deficit was only 1 down.

“My putter got a little balky starting at the ninth, I three-putted from about eight feet to lose the hole,” said Johnson, who won the 2015 Sacramento County Senior Championship and the 2013 NCGA Super Senior Championship.

“If I had made it, I’m 6 up, or even if I two putt, I’m 5 up at the turn. And that just gave him a little bit of momentum. He made birdie on 11, and then I made bogey on 15 and 16, and all of the sudden I’m only 1 up.”

However, Johnson got up-and-down for a clutch par on the 17th hole and won it with a routine par on the last hole.

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