PEBBLE BEACH, CA (August 16, 2016) -- Bellarmine High senior Eddy Lai will be the No. 1 seed at this year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship.
Lai, a Youth on Course South Bay member, shot a second round 3-under 69 Tuesday at Spyglass Hill to finish stroke play qualifying with a two-day total of 7-under 137. UNLV junior Shintaro Ban also had a 69 to earn the No. 2 seed with a total of 138. Stanford’s Viraat Badhwar, who shared the first round lead with Lai, slipped back to a 73 to come in at 141, earning the No. 3 seed.
Winner of the 2015 NCGA Junior Championship at Spyglass Hill, Lai had his second straight solid round, posting five birdies to go against just two bogeys. In his two stroke play qualifying rounds, Lai, who’s already committed to UCLA, only carded a total of four bogeys.
Ban, the winner of this year’s California Amateur Championship, has also looked sharp. Knocked out in the semifinals by eventual champion Maverick McNealy last year, Ban had an eagle on the par-5 11th and four birdies to go with three bogeys. Entering the championship, the former Archbishop Mitty High standout held the No. 1 spot in the NCGA Player of the Year points standings.
Trying to make it two wins in a row for the Cardinal, Badhwar wasn’t able to get going. A day after posting an eagle and five birdies, the E-Club South Bay member had only three birdies to go with four bogeys.
The No. 4 seed was claimed by Fresno State’s Greg Gildea, who bounced back from a 74 with a 68 to come in at 142.
Also making a big move when it counted was 2016 NCGA Mid-Amateur champion Zachary Solomon. After nearly shooting himself out of the championship with an opening 77, Solomon rebounded with a 68 to finish T-11.
Others securing precious match spots were defending NCGA Player of the Year Nick Moore (T-7), 2016 NCGA Public Links champ Matt Cohn (T-22) and two-time defending NCGA Amateur Stroke Play champion Robby Salomon (T-22).
The cutline for match play (low 32) came at 4-over 148. It marked the third straight year that there has been a clean cut in the championship.
Among those missing the cutline were 2014 NCGA Player of the Year runner-up Jason Anthony (149), former championship winner Jake Yount (151) and 2015 NCGA Four-Ball champion Ben Corfee (149).
Wednesday’s action will feature both the Round of 32 and Round of 16. Lai will take on No. 32 seed Hunter Rappleye, while Ban will face No. 31 Ben Scribner.