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Threepeats denied at The Classic

• History not made by Richards, Shankel

Posted: June 15, 2008 2:19 a.m.
Updated: August 16, 2008 5:02 a.m.
John Pieracci takes an approach shot on his way to shooting a birdie on the first hole on Saturday at Valencia Country Club. John Pieracci takes an approach shot on his way to shooting a birdie on the first hole on Saturday at Valencia Country Club.
John Pieracci takes an approach shot on his way to shooting a birdie on the first hole on Saturday at Valencia Country Club.

For what is essentially a members-only amateur golf event, there were several plotlines on Saturday at The Classic at Valencia Country Club.

At the top of the list was the possibility of the first-ever three-peat by club member Brian Richards of Stevenson Ranch and his guest from Palmdale, Kevin Shankel.

The pair of opposite personalities - Richards is more serious, Shankel has a sunnier disposition - won the St. Andrews gross championship in 2006 and 2007.

The Classic, a three-day, 54-hole golf tournament, was won by the duo of Tucker Brown and Brent Brockermeyer. They had a team score of 279.

The net champion was the brother team of Fred and John Pieracci, with a score of 268.

There were 176 golfers and 88 teams.

While there has been either six pairs of golfers or at least one part of a pair who have won back-to-back net or gross championships, there has never been a three-time champion. Dom Delio and John Corr both came close, winning in 1994, 1996 and 1997.

The net score is the one after the handicap, the gross is the one before the handicap.

But local club history was not in the cards for Richards and Shankel, as they entered the back nine of the shamble-style round at three-over.

Shamble is a format in which the best ball off the tee gets played, then every player plays for himself.

The pair finished with a gross score, or pre-handicap mark, of 292.

"We're not in position to win," Richards said, as he was puffing on a cigar while choosing a cold beverage. "We haven't played well at all. Last year we killed it. We were four-under after the first day, 8-under the second and minus-12 for the tournament. It's hard (to win three in a row)."

Shankel had a more optimistic outlook, telling his partner "...we're champions, man, we can pull this off and win it." He said that it was nice to see someone new win the St. Andrews championship, in which whoever broke 146 and was lowest won.

The Troon flight was for pairs who broke 162 and lower, but not quite 146.

Another possibility for a three-time champion in as many years was the team of Don Ferrera and Nick Hernandez, who took home the Troon gross title in ‘06 and ‘07.

But the pair did not crack the top five in the same flight this year, shooting a combined score of 324.

Thursday was a team scramble, in which the better ball between two golfers was played. Friday was better ball, in which the better score between each pair counted toward the combined score.

The two-day net leader was Billy Minnis and Larry Metter, two employees of Waste Management, Inc. who are in charge of operations in southern California and Hawaii.

Metter is a vice president and Billy Minnis the director of operations.

Minnis and Metter had a two-day score of 119. On the 10th hole, Metter teed a ball off to the left.

"Our strength is we both hit the ball a long way," Metter said. "If one isn't playing well, the other isn't. We pick each other up."

The gross leaders going into today's tournament were the Pieracci brothers.

The two had a two-man score of 131, a six-under score of 66 Thursday and a 65 on Friday. On the par-five first hole, John Pieracci of Valencia grabbed a pitching wedge out of his golf bag and rolled within five feet of an eagle.

He settled for a birdie on a tap-in, while Fred sank one for par after a great recovery shot from the cypress trees.


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