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Big Canyon comes up big, again

Jones Cup

Club repeats as Jones Cup champs and wins eighth title with stunning finishing hole to beat Mesa Verde in a playoff.

June 27, 2012|By Bryce Alderton, Special to the Daily Pilot
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Independence Day is next week, but Big Canyon Country Club brought the fireworks early to Newport Beach Country Club Wednesday in a Jones Cup for the ages.

The defending champs went birdie-eagle on the par-five 18th hole to force a playoff with Mesa Verde Country Club as both teams finished 18 holes at 12-under-par 130.

Big Canyon men's champion Mike Carpenter echoed roars of four years ago with a heroic 25-foot eagle putt to help secure a playoff, also on the 18th hole, after assistant pro Mike Castillo got up-and-down for a birdie.

Mesa Verde and Big Canyon then played the 18th as one group. When it was settled, Big Canyon senior champ Gary Singer's birdie was the difference. Big Canyon added a par to edge Mesa Verde, which finished the hole even, and win this tournament for the eighth time in its 13-year history.

"Unbelievable, what a fun day," Big Canyon head pro Robert Pang said.

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Pang led Big Canyon with four birdies, none of greater significance than a chip-in on the par-four 16th hole that moved the team to nine-under.

Singer and women's champion Lisa Brennan, playing in her first Jones Cup, both parred the par-three 17th, keeping Big Canyon's hopes alive.

"We are just a great team. We know what we can do. That putt Mike hit on the final hole was so amazing," Pang said.

Carpenter said the pressure helped him on the last hole. Still, caddie Kenny Wertzberger called the putt "incredible."

Big Canyon only bogeyed once, the par-four ninth, but it hardly fazed them. They came out on the back nine strong, with three birdies combined on holes 10 and 11. Pang contributed two of those birdies on the par fours while Brennan hit her approach to nine feet and sank her second birdie of the round.

Brennan admitted afterward that she was nervous, but both her demeanor and swing tempo said otherwise. Her smooth slow swing is reminiscent of Ernie Els or Fred Couples.

"I'm really proud of her," Pang said of Brennan. "She was a true champion today. She made some pars and had opportunities at birdies.

"We made some putts and missed some putts. We gave it away on nine. Anytime you make a bogey in this format, you don't want to go backwards. To do what we did on the back and make birdie at 16 and make birdie and eagle to tie this thing is crazy."

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