Shotaro Ban with his California State Amateur Trophy (NCGA)
DALY CITY, Calif. -- A long and emotionally draining week came to a happy end for Shotaro Ban, the winner of the 104th California State Amateur via a 5-and-4 win over Joshua Sedeno.
On a windy Saturday at Lake Merced Golf Club, Ban got off to a fast start with three birdies on the opening nine to put him 2 up. Ban was 3-up after hole 13 when Sedeno won hole 14 with a conceded eagle and hole 15 with a par. Sedeno’s momentum would be short-lived, however, as Ban would win back both holes on 17 and 18, taking a 3-up lead into the afternoon.
In the afternoon, Ban kept his strong play going, winning holes 5 and 7 with pars to go 4-up in the match. A birdie on the par-4 13th hole moved Ban to 5-up and led him to a 5-and-4 victory just one hole later.
“I didn’t feel like I had it won until that last putt,” Ban told NCGA. “I’ve seen too many crazy things happen. My mentality all day was to take it one hole and one shot at a time.”
Ban, from San Jose, Calif., had to battle just to get into the round of 32 match play, as a first round 76 put him well outside the cut line. Ban shot a 2-under par 70 in the 2nd round and sneaked into match play as the 25th seed. The senior at California Berkeley faced two of his teammates, Ben Doyle and Keelan Kilpatrick, in the first round and second rounds of match play. Ban scraped by in 19 holes in both matches including coming back from being two shots down with two to play against Kilpatrick.
From there, a pair of 1-up victories against Pete Fernandez and Stanford’s Franklin Huang put Ban in the final and gave him a chance to become the first-ever Cal Bear to win the championship. A chance he did not let pass.
“The whole week is a grind, and this golf course is phenomenal. Throughout the week we had sun, wind, fog, just about every condition. Add those conditions to the course and it’s even harder,” Ban said to NCGA. “I just tried to stay within myself.”
Ban will have a quick turnaround as he heads to Sammamish, Wash. for the Sahalee Players Championship, beginning on Monday.
While Sedeno would have loved to win the title, a runner-up finish is an excellent result for the Del Oro High senior from Roseville, Calif. En route to the final, the Memorial Amateur Champion took out the likes of recent US Open Contestant Jake Knapp and St. Mary’s standout Jonathan De Los Reyes.
“It’s a good experience going forward,” Sedeno told NCGA. “Not a lot of kids my age get this kind of experience against this quality of players.”
Sedeno is committed to play for Southern Methodist University in the fall of 2016 and looks forward to playing in the U.S. Junior Amateur this July.