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Sam Choi, 17, leads SCGA Amateur with one round left
Sam Choi is in position to validate his move to the U.S. (SCGA photo)
Sam Choi is in position to validate his move to the U.S. (SCGA photo)
RANCHO MIRAGE, California (July 8, 2017) -- With one round to play at the SCGA Amateur Championship, two players have separated themselves from the field.

Second round leader Sam Choi continued his flawless play on Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course.with a second consecutive 5-under 67, extending his bogey-free streak to an amazing 41 holes.

Choi recorded back-to-back birdies twice during the round on Nos. 2 and 3, and Nos. 7 and 8. After making the turn in 4-under, Choi birdied the par-5 11th before coasting home with seven straight pars, taking a 3-shot lead into the final round.

“This would be my biggest tournament victory in the United States,” said Choi, who moved to the U.S. five years ago from South Korea to focus on his golf game. “I’m obviously a little bit nervous but I’m going to come out here tomorrow and give it my best.”

Choi will attend the University of New Mexico in the Fall.

Following two straight 3-under 69s to begin the Championship, recent USC graduate Danny Ochoa used his power to bomb around Mission Hills to the tune of six birdies against just two bogeys.

On the 18th, Ochoa hit a shot that nobody in the field would dare try. After pounding a drive down the center of the 646-yard par-5, he was left with 299 yards to the water-guarded green, deciding to go for it in two with a 3-wood.

“I absolutely smashed my drive into the best part of the fairway,” explained Ochoa, who reached the green in two during the first two rounds with the hole playing at 618 and 565 yards. “I knew if I crushed a 3-wood I’d be perfect. I heeled it a bit and it flew into the water but I figured worst case scenario I take a drop and make par.”

Ochoa did just that, sinking his downhill 6-footer for par to get into the clubhouse just three strokes behind Choi.

“The game plan tonight is to just get a little rest,” said Ochoa. “Then come back out here tomorrow and honestly do the same exact thing I’ve been doing all week.”

-- The Southern California Golf Association contributed to this story

ABOUT THE Southern California Amateur

The SCGA Amateur is one of the nation’s oldest continuously contested amateur golf championships. The first SCGA Amateur was held less than one year after the Southern California Golf Association was formed on July 29, 1899. Only the Utah Amateur, begun in 1899, has a longer consecutive string (the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur both predate the SCGA Amateur, but both USGA events were suspended during war years).

Since the inaugural event, the SCGA Amateur has enjoyed an illustrious history of great champions, including Tiger Woods and Al Geiberger to more recent stars including Beau Hossler and Patrick Cantlay. The event is open to association members with a Handicap Index of 5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes of qualifying play in order to reach the final field, who compete over 72 holes of stroke play with the top 42 and ties advancing after the first 36 holes. The championship site is traditionally held at the home club of the current SCGA President.

View Complete Tournament Information

Results For SCGA Amateur (Southern California) Golf Championship
1CASanghyun (Sam) ChoiAnaheim, CA40069-67-67-68=271
2CADanny OchoaCarlsbad, CA26069-69-68-70=276
T3CAJoshua MatzAgoura Hills, CA16069-71-70-70=280
T3CAAndrew LevittLadera Ranch, CA16072-69-69-70=280
T3CADonald KaySan Diego, CA16069-70-70-71=280

View full results for SCGA Amateur (Southern California) Golf Championship

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