San Diego City Champions from L to R Howie Knodt Ran Oh Keane, Steven Kearney, and Devon Brown - amateurgolf.com Photo
SAN DIEGO, Calif (July 29, 2012) -- There is something about the South Course at Torrey Pines that allows a certain type of player to get comfortable, and win multiple titles of the professional or amateur variety.
Of course, Tiger Woods with his run of Farmer's Insurance titles and the 2008 U.S. Open tops the list. But even for Woods, it was the years of experience (and more wins) in the Junior Worlds that prepared him well before he turned pro.
On the amateur side, Jamie Puterbaugh won four City Championships, before him it was Pat Duncan Senior. Now, Steven Kearney, who today won his second "City" title in three years, is enjoying the rewards of long drives down the middle, and solid iron shots to the firm South Course greens.
That solid play, allowed Kearney to come from three back with a 1-under 71. At 4-under for the tournament, Kearney was the only player to break par - his solid final round punctuated by a driver, 3-iron eagle (from four feet) at the 13th. That's right, Driver, 3-iron.
"Well, it was down wind," explained Stanford player Kearney after the round.
While the tournament is never over with five holes to play, Kearney had things in control and used fairway woods off the tee at Nos. 14, 15, and 17 to stay out of trouble. Owen Taylor of San Juan Capistrano, who plays for Sacramento State, finished in 2nd at even par, while his twin brother Eric, who held the 36-hole lead, slid down the board after suffering an 82.
The affable Taylor took it in stride though. "I found 11 bunkers today, that was my story," he joked.
Joe Ryon of El Camino Country Club (and TaylorMade Golf) posted a solid 73 to finish in third at 1-over.
Devon Brown of Rancho Santa Fe (and Northwestern University, where she is a Junior on the Women's golf team) took the Women's title, despite a brief stumble down the stretch.
She was an amazing 1-under on the day heading into the par-3 16th, but took a bogey there and a double on the par-4 17th before settling down with a solid par on No. 18 and a and a 5-stroke victory over Hillary Packard at 6-over par.
In the Senior Division, Howie Knodt of Chula Vista posted a day-low tying round of 74 on the South to pass leader Frank Merhar and win by a single shot at 7-over 223. Merhar had a two stroke lead with two holes left, but suffered bogeys on the 8th and 9th, while Knodt knocked in a 35 foot putt on No. 9 to win outright.
"I had been leaving it short all day, but not that one," said Knodt.
It should be noted that Merhar, a past champion, finished second at age 70, when the minimum age for the Senior division is 50. Dan Pouliot of Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank finished in 3rd at 9-over 225.
Ran Oh Keane captured the Senior women's title for the second straight year.
San Diego City Amateur Championship: Top Finishers