California State Am: Delio wins North-South final
BURBANK, (June 21, 2008) -- Combining 320+ yard drives with a deft scrambling short game, 18-year-old Nick Delio of Valencia overpowered 15-year-old Austin Roberts of Carmichael, 7 & 5, in the 36-hole final match to win the 97th California Amateur Championship at historic Lakeside Golf Club today.
The Cal State Northridge sophomore became the third Matador in the past 14 years to claim the coveted gold medal; Jeff Sanday won in 1995 and Tim Hogarth captured the crown in 1999. He also became the second consecutive 18-year-old to win the title (after Josh Anderson last year) and the fourth teen in the last six years to claim the crown. Delio also denied Roberts the opportunity of becoming the youngest champion in California Amateur history.
After an up-and-down morning round that saw the match all square after 15 holes, Delio birdied two of the final three holes to take a 2-up lead at intermission. In the afternoon portion, Delio turned as hot as the 100+ degree heat, making three birdies and an eagle in the first four holes to increase his lead to 6 up.
From that point, Delio scrambled on each of the next nine holes, but he closed with eight pars and a bogey. Roberts, whose drives were frequently 40-50 yards behind Delio, hung tough but simply could not buy a putt. The match ended on the 293-yard 13th hole when, from the center of the fairway, Roberts pulled his approach shot into a bunker, could only get to the fringe, chipped long and conceded the match.
Overall, counting the normal match play concessions, Delio had nine birdies and an eagle in 31 holes; Roberts could muster only three birdies in the two rounds. "Once I got 6 up,"ï¿½ Delio said after his win, "I just told myself to stick to my game plan, hitting fairways and greens and force him to make birdies to win holes. When you're down, making six birdies is a tall order."
Delio began his afternoon by pushing his drive into the right tree line but hit a 140-yard wedge shot stiff to continue his birdie roll. On the 468-yard, par-5 second hole, Delio hit driver-wedge to 16 feet and rolled in the putt for an eagle 3.
After winning the third hole with a birdie 2, Delio rammed his second shot 254 yards to the green on the 568-yard, par-5 fifth hole and two putted for birdie to put himself 6 up. "I didn't play all that badly,"ï¿½ said Roberts after the match (he was 1 over par in the afternoon), "but he just played better."
Delio, the Big West freshman of the year, is so strong off the tee that, for the second time this week, he cracked his Pro V-1x golf ball while hitting a fairway metal on the 11th hole. "I thought I hit the shot pretty well,"ï¿½ said Delio afterwards, "but it just died in the air and I asked the referee to let me check it. It was almost cracked in half."ï¿½ Undaunted, Delio scrambled to a par 4 to maintain his 6-up lead.
Delio, whose CSUN team gets to play Lakeside every Wednesday, continued to thrive on his "home course" advantage as he has all week. He was tied for fourth in the stroke play portion of the venerable event, defeated his college teammate, Erik Jarvey, and defeated the No. 2 seed Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes, 8 & 7, in the semifinals yesterday.
- story submitted by Bob Thomas, for the SCGA. amateurgolf.com wishes to thank both the Northern California and Southern California Golf Associations for their support during the week.
97th California Amateur Championship at Lakeside Golf Club; Toluca Lake, CA; 6,534 yards, par 70
Champion match (36 holes) (seeding numbers are in parentheses):
Nick Delio, Valencia (6) d. Austin Roberts, Carmichael (20, 7 & 5