PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (June 20, 2013) — Plenty of competitive matches occurred in the round of 16 of the 102nd California State Amateur Championship at Monterey Peninsula CC with four of the eight matches going at least 18 holes, two of those requiring extra holes.
The longest match on Thursday featured Riverside’s David Gazzolo (No. 18 seed) and co-medalist Corey Pereira (No. 2 seed) of Cameron Park, which was decided on the 21st hole. The match went back-and-forth with Gazzolo taking an early lead after the opening hole, before Pereira fought back to go 2-up on the ninth hole. Gazzolo would then win three straight holes before losing Nos. 14 and 16 to go 1-down, but then birdie the 18th to force extra holes.
After exchanging pars on Nos. 1 and 2—the 19th and 20th hole—Gazzolo won the match on No. 3 of the Dunes Course—the 21st hole—with a par. Pereira looked to be in prime position to win the match leaving himself with a 20-foot birdie putt while Gazzolo left his approach shot in the left greenside bunker. However, Gazzolo got up-and-down blasting his shot to five-feet away and sinking his putt, while Pereira ran his birdie putt three-feet by and lipped out his par putt coming back.
“It’s kind of sad, you never want to see a match end that way,” said Gazzolo, the only surviving SCGA player remaining in the field.
Gazzolo will be matched up against Cory McElyea on Friday as the Santa Cruz native beat Mac McClung 2-up. Neither player held a lead of greater than 1-up over the first 13 holes, and when McElyea captured the first 2-up lead of the match on No. 14 it was rather short-lived when McClung cut the lead to one hole. McElyea would win the match in style two holes later however, by making a birdie on the par-5 18th.
Another match to go extra holes featured No. 29 seed Bryson DeChambeau and No. 20 seed Johnny Macarthur. It looked as if Macarthur would walk on to victory after taking a 3-up lead with a birdie on 13th hole, but then disaster struck for the Newhall resident as he’d lose the next three holes with two bogeys and a double-bogey. After halving the 17th, 18th and 19th holes, DeChambeau would win with a six-foot birdie putt on the 20th hole.
“I really wasn’t worried about [going 3-down after 13 holes],” said DeChambeau. “I was more focused on my game and trying to shoot an under-par round today.”
Facing DeChambeau in the quarterfinals tomorrow will be Nick Moore, the 21st seed, who got past No. 5 seed Mark Anguiano 4-and-3. The 30-year-old Moore took a 1-up lead on No. 3 and never looked back, winning five more holes to Anguiano’s two.
“The key today was just keeping the ball in play and getting the ball on the green. I made some nice putts, which definitely helps,” said Moore, who had four birdies on the day.
No. 32 seed Jonathan Garrick of Atherton continues to play with house money as he advanced to the quarterfinals beating No. 17 seed John Catlin 3-and-2. Earning the last spot via a playoff on Tuesday, Garrick’s game continues to shine as he’s able to play pretty loose.
“I got off to a bad start in stroke play [on Monday] and I’ve fought back ever since, so it’s kind of a rebirth,” said Garrick. “I didn’t fully expect to be in the match play [field] and now I’m playing much better and giving myself some good opportunities, and fortunately I’ve been able to capitalize on them.”
After going back-and-forth the first six holes of the match, Garrick went on tear winning four straight holes Nos. 7-10. The highlight of that stretch, which the 18-year-old will forever take with him is holing out for a double-eagle on the par-5 ninth. Choosing to play a hybrid off the tee with the tees playing up, Garrick then went for the green with his second shot from 260 yards out using a 3-wood.
“I thought I overcut it and it came up a little short, but then we got up to the green and couldn’t find it anywhere,” said Garrick, who went on to explain they thought the ball plugged in the bunker before ever looking in the hole.
Garrick’s quarterfinal opponent will be No. 24 seed Matt Hansen of Los Osos, who beat No. 25 seed Sam Johnston 3-and-1. Hansen was in control the majority of the match with a slight slipup on Nos. 6-8 where he lost three straight holes to go 1-down. However, the rising senior at UC-Davis got things together on the back-nine, not losing a single hole from that point forward, while winning Nos. 9,12, 13 and 17.
Hansen, who has qualified for match play the previous two years, losing in the round of 32 in 2011 and the losing in the quarterfinals last year, sees himself progressing in this event nicely.
“This year, [I’m] just more comfortable, [especially] on pressure putts,” he said.
The highest seed remaining, now that No. 2 seed Pereira lost on Thursday is No. 3 seed Cody Blick of Danville, who won his match 5-and-4 over No. 14 seed Jeremy Sanders. Blick grabbed a quick 2-up lead after the first four holes and stayed in control throughout, only losing two more holes while winning five of his own.
“My ball-striking was solid pretty much all day,” said Blick, who estimated he had 10 of 14 greens in regulation.
Blick, a 19-year-old who just finished his freshman year at San Jose State, is playing in his first ever California State Amateur Championship and having quite a bit of success. The Danville native hadn’t thought about ever entering the championship until winning the San Francisco City Championship in 2012, when he discovered the similar match play format.
The final match to conclude the day was Pace Johnson of Fresno beating Costa Mesa’s Jacob Knapp 1-up. Johnson was down early in the match before squaring it on the 11th and taking his first lead on No. 15 and expanding it on No. 16 going 2-up. However, Knapp fought back and birdied the 17th to force an 18th hole, where both players birdied.
On Friday quarterfinal play will begin in the morning at 7:30 a.m. with the last match going off at 8:00 a.m. The players who win their matches will then play Friday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. and 1:20 p.m.