DALY CITY, Calif. — Satch Herrmann's early-morning second round was unassuming until he hit the par-five 14th at Lake Merced Golf Club.
The former Cal State Northridge golfer from Ventura posted 70 on day one of the California Amateur, and through 13 holes he was one-under and headed for another solid round — one that would have put him in the middle of the pack amongst the 32 eventual players bound for match play.
But then things clicked. He birdied 14, 15, and 16. Then he parred 17, and closed with an eagle at the par-5 18th to post 66 and medal at the 104th California Amateur Championship.
Herrmann, whose final season as a Matador was 2010-2011, is playing in his first California Amateur, and managed to beat a field stacked with current collegiate talent by three shots to earn the tournament's No. 1 seed heading into match play.
"I hit the ball longer, so coming into this I really wanted to take advantage of some reachable par-5s," Herrmann told the SCGA. "The first day I didn't do that, playing the par-5s even, but today I was able to take advantage."
Other than a par on the first par-5 he reached on day two, the 6th hole, Herrmann went four-under on the three remaining par-5s en route to his 66, including the spectacular eagle at 18. The damage had already been done, however, as he would have claimed medalist honors by a stroke even with a par at the last.
The '3' he marked on his scorecard was just the second eagle made at the 18th during the two rounds of stroke play, and the only one recorded on Tuesday.
Herrmann's first-round opponent is Eric Sugimoto, a USC graduating senior who originally hails from Japan.
A group of five players, including Jonathan De Los Reyes, Max Marsico, KK Limbhasut, Lorens Chan, and Jake Knapp shared the opening-round lead at four-under 68, but were not able to catch up to Herrmann's eight-under par number.
Knapp, a UCLA senior who was one of 16 amateurs at last week's U.S. Open, and Limbhasut, a sophomore at UC-Berkeley, had the best rounds on Tuesday of the initial five leaders. After posting 71 in the second round, the pair tied for second place at five-under with Knapp securing the No. 2 seed and Limbhasut grabbing the fourth seed.
Also tying for second was high school sophomore Puwit Anupansuebsai of Anaheim. At no more than 150 pounds, and hitting drives over 300 yards, Anupansuebsai fired a 69 on Tuesday despite a triple-bogey on the par-4 11th. He used seven birdies, including four in a row from holes 6 to 9, to post five-under 139 and earn the No. 3 seed. He'll face Dan Sullivan of Pasadena, who at age 49 is the oldest player remaining in the tournament by 20 years, in the round-of-32.
The cut line fell perfectly at three-over as exactly 32 players finished at two-over par or better.
Intriguing matches lined up for Wednesday include an all-California Bear grouping as teammates Ben Doyle and Shotaro Ban will square off against one another. Doyle, a sophomore from La Jolla, fired back-to-back 71s while Ban, a senior from San Diego, fought back nicely from an opening 76 to shoot 70 in round two and be one of eight players to finish on the number at two-over.
In the 7/26 match, De Los Reyes will meet Joshua Sedeno in a matchup of recent winners. De Los Reyes, a senior at St. Mary's who won this year's Alameda Commuters Tournament, will dual the Southern Methodist University commit Sedeno who was victorious at the Memorial Amateur at the end of May.
The Herrmann/Sugimoto grouping will be first off the tee Wednesday morning at Lake Merced to begin the first round of match play.