PEBBLE BEACH--You could hardly ask for a more intriguing final pairing than Don DuBois and Joseph Bramlett, two players with different backgrounds and golf games.
Bramlett, a 17-year-old who recently completed his junior year at St. Francis High in Mountain View, was vying to become the youngest State Amateur champion in 32 years, while DuBois, an executive vice president for Fidelity National Financial wanted to add another state's amateur championship to his resume. 35 holes later, the 46-year-old DuBois, became the second-oldest player ever to win the prestigious event and joins a list of past champions that includes Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller and Mark O'Meara.
"This is pretty fun," said DuBois. "To have my name on that trophy is special, especially being 46 and competing against all of the young guys."
This year's tournament had been noted for the strong showing of several young players. 17-year-old Jordan Cox of San Mateo, took medalist honors, and six teenagers 18 or younger, made it to match play. DuBois was able to outlast Bramlett, as well as defeat the field's youngest competitor, 16-year-old Trevor Carle in the first round of match play. Preceding the 36-hole final, DuBois had played 11 more holes than his finals opponent. Fatigue could have been a deciding factor for the Newport Beach resident competing against someone 29 years his junior, but the onetime pro never lost his legs.
"I take good care of myself," DuBois would say later. "I keep in good shape and do pilates two to three times a week. I've gotten a lot more flexible in the past year."
DuBois started strong in the morning round and never let Bramlett flex his muscle. Three birdies on the first six holes helped DuBois take a commanding 5 up lead through 12. "I made some great putts in the morning that threw him out his game." A Bramlett birdie on 14 cut the lead to 3 up, but the rising senior's tee shot on No.18 found the hazard and he had to settle for bogey and a 4-down deficit heading into the afternoon round.
The players went on to display some of the best golf ever in an afternoon championship match as they traded birdies on the front nine. DuBois, shot 35 in the afternoon, while Bramlett, who had never played Pebble Beach until this week, shot 34 for his first nine in the afternoon. The numbers could have been lower as several putts burned the edges.
Although DuBois could not convert a handful of medium-length birdie tries, he did bury most of the par putts he needed to make. The only exception was a 2-foot putt he missed on the sixteenth. DuBois decelerated on the putt and admitted it was a "bad stroke." After the missed putt, the match headed to 17 with DuBois holding a precarious 1-up advantage. Playing the hole from 203 yards, neither player found the green with his tee shot from across the road. Bramlett hit a three-iron tee into the wind, but it sailed well over the green on to the 18th green. DuBois, meanwhile, hit his tee shot into the left side bunker. A wonderful up-and-down from DuBois coupled with Bramlett's inability to save par, gave DuBois the championship.
DuBois spent six years as a pro in the '80s, played in two U.S. Opens (1986 and '88), twice has reached the State Amateur quarterfinals and captured the Arizona State Amateur in 1980 during his college years at Arizona State. He admittedly was "not a very good pro," it seems he has found his calling excelling on the amateur stage.
Don DuBois, Newport Beach (4), def. Joseph Bramlett, Saratoga (19), 2 and 1
Note: For more information on the tournament, including medal play qualifying results, click the tournament link on the top of this page (amateurgolf.com premium membership required)