SEATTLE, WA (July 28, 2016) -- Some of the top names in collegiate golf have made themselves known, passing KK Limbhasut, who took a 4-shot lead into today's third round.
Playing at Seattle Country Club, Nahum Mendoza of San Diego State posted a nearly flawless round of 4-under 68 (one of the lowest of the tournament) to vault to a tie at the top of the 54-hole leaderboard at 5-under with Rico Hoey.
With just a single bogey on the third hole, Mendoza took advantage of a stretch of four holes (Nos. 7-10) with four-straight birdies, two of them on par fives. He also birdied the 14th (again a par five) and made four straight pars coming in. The only par five he didn't take advantage of was the last.
But Mendoza won't argue with his position as co-leader in the clubhouse, especially giving the quality of the field and the player he's tied with -- Rico Hoey of USC. Hoey posted 69 today to get to 5-under.
Playing in the final group, 36-hole leader KK Limbhasut posted 3-over 75 on the day after recording 4 bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-3 11th hole. He'll tee it off with Hoey and Mendoza in the final pairing tomorrow, one shot back.
Aaron Whalen of Ephrata, Wash., is well within striking distance of Mendoza and Hoey, needing to make up only two-shots to secure a tie for the lead after a 54-hole total of -3 (71-70-72). Trans-Miss amateur champion Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas has also moved into a viable position to lift the Dr. Ed Updegraff trophy as champion, carding rounds of 74-69-70 to sit tied in fourth with Whalen.
2014 champ Corey Pereira posted 66 today to make a big leap upward, but he will enter the final round a full 8-shots back of the leaders thanks to a disastrous opening round of 79 where he went 5-over for his final three holes. Still, the Californian has a chance to be part of the mix with another low round on Friday. And in the last two rounds, he finished birdie-birdie, so take that holes 17 and 18! (more later)
ROUND TWO RECAP
It wasn’t the best of days for players hailing from Northern California, but Cal junior KK Limbhasut continued to do his thing.
Limbhasut, an NCGA member through AmateurGolf.com, fired a second round 3-under 69 Wednesday at par-72 Seattle Golf Club to keep his hold on first place at this week’s annual Pacific Coast Amateur Championship.
A day after taking the lead with a 68, Limbhasut was nearly just as good, posting four birdies to go against a lone bogey. The bogey was only his second through his first 36 holes, and his steady play has led to a two-day total of 7-under 137 and a comfy four stroke cushion.In second place is Washington’s Aaron Whalen, who’s at 141 following a 70. Stuart Mcdonald, who plays at Purdue, USC standout Rico Hoey and Carl Yechun are all T-3 at 142, five behind the leader.
The last NorCal player to win the prestigious event was Cameron Park’s Corey Pereira in 2014.
Perry Cohen, who plays at St. Mary’s, slipped back to a 75 and is T-11 at 144. Recent California Amateur Championship winner Shintaro Ban, Cameron Champ of Sacramento, Cal sophomore Collin Morikawa and Carmel’s Luke Vivolo are among a group of seven players at 146.
ROUND ONE RECAP
It’s a Bears affair early at the annual Pacific Coast Amateur Championship.
Cal sophomore KK Limbhasut grabbed the lead in this week’s championship on Tuesday, firing a 4-under 68 at par-72 Seattle Golf Club. Just two strokes behind is fellow Bears sophomore Collin Morikawa, who opened with a 70.
Limbhasut and Morikawa are coming off a fantastic season at Cal where they were named second and third-team All-Americans, respectively.
Limbhasut, who originally hails from Thailand, posted five birdies on his round. His lone hiccup would be a bogey on the par-4 3rd, good enough for a one shot lead over Perry Cohen of La Jolla, who came in at 69.
Following birdies on No.12 and No.14, Morikawa got to a total of 3-under. He’d play his final four holes at 1-over, however, thanks to a bogey on the par-3 16th.
Joining Morikawa at 70 are four other players including recent California Amateur Championship winner Shintaro Ban. Ban, who plays at UNLV, started slowly with a pair of bogeys within his first three holes. He’d bounce back nicely though, going 4-under through the next 15 holes after carding six birdies.
In the annual Morse Cup competition, which takes the best two out of three scores from each team over the first two rounds, the Southern California Golf Association took the lead with an opening score of 4-under 140.
The defending champion Team NCGA–Ban, Justin Suh (74) and former champion Corey Pereira (79)–are in second place at 144. The NCGA has won the Cup three times in the last five years.
Past champions of the Pacific Coast Amateur who have gone on to successful professional careers include PGA Tour winners Billy Mayfair (1987, 1988), Jason Gore (1997) and Ben Crane (1998) as well as Web.com Tour winners and brothers Michael Putnam (2004) and Andrew Putnam (2010). Bryson DeChambeau finished T-4 whilst representing the NCGA last year.
The 72-hole championship will run through Friday.
-- NCGA and PCGA contributed to this story