PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (June 19, 2013) -- Upsets were omnipresent in the opening round of match play in the 102nd California Amateur Championship at Monterey Peninsula CC with 10 of the lower-seeded players advancing out of the 16 matches.
None was more apparent than No. 32 seed Jonathan Garrick of UCLA who beat co-medalist Xander Schauffele 4-and-3 in the opening match of the morning. It was a wild 18 hours for Garrick, who had to sink an eight-foot birdie putt on Tuesday evening to capture the final match play spot over six other players, but now he finds himself advancing to the round of 16.
“I had a 15-foot putt that I had to make at the end of regulation [yesterday] and fortunately I made it and that carried some confidence into the playoff where I made birdie,” said Garrick. “I had a lot of confidence going into today and felt refreshed and fortunate to be in the match play field.”
Garrick’s win gives him a matchup tomorrow against two-time NCGA Amateur Match Play champion John Catlin, who was another lower seed to win on Wednesday. Catlin, the No. 17 seed, faced Jay Hwang of Fullerton, the No. 16 seed, battling for all 18 holes, which included 13 halves. Catlin wasn’t thrilled having to go a full 18 holes, but was pleased to advance.
“I was frustrated,” said Catlin. “I hit the ball well really well all day, but I just wasn’t making any putts.”The recently graduated University of New Mexico golfer though made a putt when it counted most, sinking an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th to win 1 up. The Gold River resident hopes to continue winning matches as this will likely be his final California Amateur as he has plans to go pro later this summer.
The third and fourth matches also produced upset-by-seeds as No. 25 seed Sam Johnston and No. 24 seed Matt Hansen both advanced and will face each other in the round of 16. Johnston of Carlsbad beat fellow-SCGA member Stewart Hagestad of USC 2 up with Johnston winning the 17th and 18th holes after an all-square status at the completion of the 16th hole. Hansen won his match over 16-year-old Sean Crocker 3-and-1, with his key stretch coming on Nos. 12-14 winning all three, two of which were birdies.
The fifth and sixth matches of the day also had lower-seeded players advancing, with neither upset winner trailing in either match. 2012 SCGA/CIF High School Champion Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis (No. 29) beat fourth-seeded Tyler Raber 3-and-1. The soon-to-be sophomore at SMU won his first two holes and never relinquished the lead from that point forward. Johnny Macarthur (No. 20) defeated Lorens Chan (No. 13) 5-and-4 after what looked to be a promising start. After halving the first three holes and having the match get back to all-square after the seventh, Macarthur would close out the match early by winning Nos. 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13.
The first match to feature a higher-seeded player advancing was the seventh match of the day as Mark Anguiano, the No. 5 seed, beat Brandon Gama, the No. 28 seed, 5-and-3. Anguiano dominated in his match getting to 6-up through 10 holes, despite being admittedly nervous in his first match ever in the California Amateur.
“After making birdie on No. 5, I started calming down a bit,” said the soon-to-be senior at Cal State Fullerton. “I was pretty nervous because I haven’t played match play in a while.”
Anguiano will face Nick Moore, who won the eighth match of the day beating 2012 California Amateur runner-up Ben Geyer. Moore defeated Geyer in 19 holes in a match that was truly a roller-coaster with Geyer re-squaring the match three different times after losing the first hole.
In the lower half of the bracket, No. 2 seed and co-medalist Corey Pereira advanced, but it took all 18 holes to beat the 31st seed Kevin Lee of La Palma. Both players played outstanding golf with Pereira firing an unofficial one-under-par 71, while lee fired an unofficial even-par 72. The 18-year-old, Pereira, is proving to be a strong player at MPCC with three straight rounds in the low 70s.
“The greens are pure here and I consider myself to be a pretty good putter, so I think this course plays a little bit to my advantage,” he said.
His round of 16 match-up will be against David Gazzalo, the No. 18 seed, who defeated Christopher Petefish, the No. 15 seed 2-and-1 in the 10th match of the day. Gazzalo never trailed in his match getting 4 up through seven holes before cruising to the finish.
Mac McClung (No. 7) beat 2012 SCGA Public Links Champion Dan Sullivan (No. 26) in the 11th match, winning 2 up. Sullivan was actually in control most of the match, having a 3-up lead through 10, but losing holes 11, 12 and 13 turned the match around as McClung would win the 15th and 18th coming in. McClung will face Cory McElyea of Santa Cruz who defeated Danny Paniccia of Clovis 4-and-2. McElyea (No. 10) never trailed Paniccia (No. 23) and played rather tough only losing a single hole.
Cody Blick, the No. 3 seed, ousted Joseph Sanders, the No. 30 seed, 4-and-3 in the 13th match of the day. Blick also never trailed in his match and was 3 up after first seven holes. Blick will face another “Sanders” in the round of 16 as Jeremy Sanders defeated Benjamin Lein in the 14th match of the day. Sanders of Chatsworth beat Lein in 19 holes, which was arguably the most volatile match of the day. Sanders relinquished two leads greater than 2 up at two different junctures before winning on the 19th hole with a par.
The final two matches of the day both produced seeded-upsets as Pace Johnson (No. 27) and Jake Knapp (No. 22) advanced to face off against one another on Thursday. Johnson of Fresno defeated Dalan Refioglu, the sixth seed 2-and-1 in a match which didn’t feature a single halve over the first nine holes. Knapp, a UCLA golfer, defeated No. 11 seed Eric Sugimoto 3-and-1, despite making two sevens on the day.
Match play will continue on Thursday morning on MPCC’s Dunes Course with the round of 16 beginning at 7:30 a.m.