Editors Note: Story by Sandy Painter of Southwestern Amateur
SCOTSDALE, AZ (June 18, 2016) -- P.J. Samiere of Kailua, Hawaii shot a final-round three-under- par 67 on Saturday to capture the 101st Southwestern Amateur Golf Tournament at the Desert Mountain Club’s Cochise Course in northeast Scottsdale.
Samiere (67-66- 67-67- 267) a rising junior at San Diego State University, entered the final round one shot behind third-round leader Nick Heinen of Edmond, Okla. Samiere built some early momentum by birdieing the 397-yard first hole and had a four-shot lead over the field when he recorded consecutive birdies at the 424-yard, par-four 10th and 189-yard, par-three 11th hole.
Heinen (68-67- 64-73- 272), a red-shirt sophomore at Oklahoma State University, got off to a shaky start with a bogey and double-bogey in his first four holds and finished in fourth place at eight-under par 272.
Braden Bailey (68-67- 67-68- 270) of Groves, Texas and Derek Bayley (65-71- 66-68- 270) of Rathdrum, Idaho tied for second at 10 under par.
“I played really solid golf the entire week,” Samiere said. “To shoot four rounds under 70 on Geronimo and Cochise is a great accomplishment. This win is certainly my highest achievement in the game of golf which I have been playing since my dad got me started at the age of six.”
The field of 69 players played under clear skies, hot temperatures approaching 105, and swirling gusty winds.
Bailey, a sophomore at Baylor who started the day at 208 – two shots behind Samiere -- said the winds and difficult pin positions created quite a challenge to all of the players. “The winds made the golf course play much more difficult than yesterday, and P.J. played a great round of golf to win the tournament.”
Nineteen of the 69 players who made the cut shot par or better for the 72-hole event. David Snyder, a native of McAllen, Texas, who spends part of the year in Scottsdale, tied for fifth at four-under- par 276, while Matthew McCarty and David Ricciardelli, both of Scottsdale, tied for 14th at even-par 280.
With the win, Samiere joins some illustrious past Southwestern Amateur champions, including PGA Tour stars Mark O’Meara (1980), Corey Pavin (1981), Tom Pernice, Jr. (1982), Ryan Palmer (2002) and Nick Watney (2002).
Now in its 101st year, the Southwestern Amateur has been played at a variety of sites throughout Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada and New Mexico on an annual basis with the exception of a three-year hiatus from 1943-45 because of World War II. On four occasions the event has been played in Mexico.
Since its founding in 1915 as a regional match play invitational tournament for private golf course members to compete against the nation’s best amateur players, the Southwestern Amateur has developed a stellar reputation as a high-quality competition for the nation’s top players. The tournament was changed to a stroke play event in 1966 to meet the growing demands of thetournament and the increased popularity of the game created during the Palmer-Nicklaus era.
For the past four years, the Southwestern Amateur has been played at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale on one of Desert Mountain’s six Jack Nicklaus-designed signature golf courses.