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63rd NCGA Senior Championship

September 23-25 | Poppy Hills


First played in 1962, the NCGA Senior Championship is the association’s premier event for players aged 55 and over.  Hundreds of players at multiple sites around the region attempt to qualify for the championship each year.  Traditionally, the final field has played 36 holes of stroke play at a different venue each year; however, beginning in 2009 the tournament has been played annually at Spyglass Hill. In 2016 it moved to Poppy Hills.

The tournament record was set in 2008 by Jeff Burda who beat the previous record by five strokes with a 135 at Saddle Creek GC. The low tournament score at Spyglass Hill GC was Michael Brannan’s 142 in 2012, the only under-par 36-hole total since the tournament has been played there on annual basis.  Jim McMurtrey has won the championship a record five times (1990, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2000). Cornelius Bertolone (1963, 1964 and 1966), Jim Knoll (2011, 2014 and 2018)  and Kai Thomsen (1988, 1989 and 1991) are tied with second most victories, each winning three times apiece.

Current Champion

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Rooster Run Golf Club member and record five-time NCGA Senior Player of the Year Jim Knoll may now be a Super Senior, but he’s still got it. The 66-year-old Sunnyvale resident shot a final round 1-over 72 Friday that included clutch birdies on the 16th and closing 18th holes at par-71 Poppy Hills Golf Course to hold off newly-turned senior Robert Funk and win the annual NCGA Senior Championship


Due to his travel schedule, Straight Down Clothing CEO Mike Rowley admittedly doesn’t get to play that much. As for winning a golf tournament, Rowley had no recollection of the last time he’d held a trophy. “I won our Straight Down Classic in 2017, but other than that I don’t know,” Rowley said. The 57-year-old San Luis Obispo resident will have a quicker answer next time. On Friday, Rowley captured the prestigious NCGA Senior Championship thanks to a clutch birdie on the 18th that helped him hold off runner-up Tony Padilla by a stroke.


On the eve of the final round of the NCGA Senior Championship, second-round leader Robert Funk spent some of his time chatting with his wife, who was back home in Canyon Lakes. The conversation focused on Funk’s lead, but also that the 57-year-old hadn’t tasted victory for over two years. 


William (Corey) West lost it, but then came back in dramatic fashion. A member at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, West bounced back from a painful bogey on the 54th hole of regulation with a 45-foot birdie putt for the win on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Mark Morgan to capture the 60th NCGA Senior Championship on Wednesday at Poppy Hills. 


Despite being an avid surfer, Carlsbad resident Jim Plotkin opted not to catch any waves while visiting the Monterey Peninsula. For one, the water in NorCal is much colder than in SoCal. Another reason, as Plotkin said, was that NorCal waters feature more adult great white sharks. At Poppy Hills, it was Plotkin who became the one to fear, as the 61-year-old e-Club Fresno member cruised to a three-shot win at the NCGA Senior Championship.


Mike Stieler won his first NCGA title as an individual, defeating Terry Foreman on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Stieler birdied the 18th in regulation to forge a tie with Foreman. 

Past Champions

Year Winner Score
2023 Mike Stieler at Poppy Hills GC 70-72-72-214
2022 Jim Plotkin at Poppy Hills GC 70-69-73-212
2021 William (Corey) West at Poppy Hills GC


2020 Robert Funk at Poppy Hills GC 67-68-75-212

Mike Rowley at Poppy Hills GC

2018 Jim Knoll at Poppy Hills GC 71-71-72-214
2017 Tony Padilla at Poppy Hills GC 72-70-68-210
2016 Casey Boyns at Poppy Hills GC 71-71-70-211
2015 Casey Boyns at Spyglass Hill GC 71-75-146
2014 Jim Knoll at Spyglass Hill GC 71-77-148
2013 Gary Vanier at Spyglass Hill GC 70-75-145
2012 Michael Brannan at Spyglass Hill GC 72-70-142

More Past Champions

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