SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 17-year-old Joshua Sedeno had the difficult task of playing in the final group with defending champion, and Sacramento-area favorite Cameron Champ. Thankfully, he had a three-shot lead over last year's winner going into Monday's final round.
Sedeno posted a final-round 69, one-under par at the par-70 Ancil Hoffman Golf Course, to secure a two-stroke win at the Memorial Amateur and become the youngest winner in the tournament's 18-year history.
Entering Monday, Sedeno had fired rounds of 66 and 70, but his four-under par opening round trailed Cal State Fullerton freshman Mark Cobey by a shot.
"It means a lot because it's a local event," said Sedeno, who is a junior at Del Oro High School just 20 miles northeast of Sacramento. "A lot of my friends who have gone off to college now have played and won this so it's just awesome to put my name on this trophy."
Champ, who won by two with a six-under par total of 204 in 2014, posted 68 on Monday but failed to cash in on crucial birdie opportunities on 14 and 15. Still, the runner-up and Texas A&M sophomore displayed another impressive showing.
Sedeno and Champ reached the tee at the long par-four 16th hole a stroke apart. Champ's drive found trees in the left rough while Sedeno caught a piece of the fairway down the left side after clipping a tree. After catching a branch on his second shot and eventually making bogey, Champ watched Sedeno chip in for birdie to send the two to the 17th hole with Sedeno leading by three.
Champ fought back with a clutch birdie on 17 to bring the deficit to two, but matching pars on 18 gave Sedeno the biggest win of his career thus far.
"I was just trying to make a good par," Sedeno said of the 16th hole. "I hit a great drive off the tee but got a little unlucky and hit the tree. Then hit a good hybrid shot that just missed the green and hit the chip just how I wanted to."
Sedeno, donning his Mustang polo in the final round, has committed to play in the fall of 2016 for Southern Methodist University. He'll graduate from high school six months early to give himself a long break before enrolling at SMU, and looks forward to some time to hone his golf game.
"I'm really excited to get some good work in and get ready for SMU," he said. "We're going to have a great team there and hopefully win a couple National Championships.
Last week, the current SMU squad were co-champions at the NCAA Central Regional in Noblesville, Ind., and will shoot for their first national title since 1954 next week at The Concession Golf Club.