CARLSBAD, Calif. (Jun 15, 2014) --
For just the fourth time in its 103-year existence, the California Amateur Championship will be held in Southern California, beginning Monday, June 16 at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad. The event gathers the best 156 amateur players in the state and puts them through 36 holes of stroke play before the low 32 competitors advance on to match play.
Returning to defend his title is Cory McElyea of Santa Cruz, who last year qualified for the U.S. Open at Merion before dominating at the California Amateur. He will look to become the first back-to-back winner since Dr. Frank Taylor in 1954-55.
Among the favorites to challenge McElyea for the title is Xander Schauffele of San Diego State. Schauffele has performed well in SoCal amateur majors the past two years, despite not yet winning. In 2012, he finished as runner-up in the SCGA Amateur Championship at Big Canyon CC. One year later, he earned medalist honors at the California Amateur Championship, before earning his second-straight runner-up finish at the SCGA Amateur.
AmateurGolf.com "Tour" regulars in the field include Jerry Ledzinski of Carmel, 2014 San Francisco City champ Shintaro Ban, perennial player-of-the-year Randy Haag, 2014 US Am qualifier Jason Anthony, multiple Tour winner Matt Cohn, and too many more to mention. More than 50% of the players in the field are members of AmateurGolf.com.
Winning the State Amateur requires a heavy dose of competence in match play, which truly makes it anyone’s game. “Once you get to match play, everyone really has a shot,” says Ed Cuff Jr., a member of nearby Fairbanks Ranch who has been competing in the Championship for more than 20 years. “At my age, that’s now the goal, to make it to match play, because it really can give you a chance.”
Cuff knows this championship about as well as anyone, having won it back in 1998 and earning medalist honors in 1999. But the moment everyone still talks about is his 1994 semifinals win, when he beat Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach to advance to the finals, ending Tiger’s best chance of winning the title.
(The SCGA contributed to this story)