SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2008) — Bryan Hogan of Bakersfield and Matt Hoffenberg, two of the last players to make it into the field for the inaugural Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) Match Play Championship, each won two matches convincingly today to join Daniel Wax of Pacific Palisades and Poway’s Josh Dupont in tomorrow morning’s semifinals at Sandpiper Golf Course.
The semifinals will begin at 7:30 a.m. to be followed by the 18-hole championship match, which will start at 11:40 a.m.
In the senior division, Boyd Martin of Corona del Mar holed out from the fairway on the 421-yard 17th hole to defeat Warren Caves of Newport Beach, 2 & 1, and will face Chip Bridges of Encinitas in the 18-hole championship match beginning at 7:50 a.m. tomorrow. Bridges birdied the first playoff hole to defeat 1998 SCGA Senior Amateur champion Frank Merhar of La Jolla in their semifinal match this afternoon.
The 20-year-old Hogan rallied from an early deficit to take out 2006 SCGA Mid-Amateur champion Robert Funk of Canyon Lake, 4 & 2, in the morning, then won the last five holes to pulverize Ben Murray of La Quinta, 7 & 6, in the afternoon’s quarterfinals.
Hogan will meet Dupont, a Northwestern University rising sophomore, who edged 2008 CIF-SCGA Southern Regional High School champion Johnny Mac Arthur of Valencia, 1-up, in the morning, then made three birdies in his last seven holes to turn aside 17-year-old Bhavik Patel of Bakersfield, 3 & 2, in afternoon.
Hoffenberg, a sophomore-to-be at San Diego State who turned 19 two days ago, defeated 2007 California Amateur champion Josh Anderson of Murrieta, 3 & 2, in the morning, then knocked out 2005 California Amateur champion Don DuBois of Newport Beach, 3 & 1, in the afternoon.
Hoffenberg will meet Wax, 21, a rising senior at the University of Denver, who finally had to play beyond the 14th hole in turning back 47-year-old Gary Havro of Claremont, 2 & 1, in their quarterfinal match. In the morning, Wax sailed by Fresno State student Brad Wyatt of La Verne, 5 & 4; yesterday he defeated Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes, 6 & 5.
Havro and the 49-year-old DuBois were the last remaining veterans in the field, which began Tuesday with 32 golfers.
Hogan, who has transferred from Cal State Bakersfield to Fresno State where he will be a redshirt sophomore, was satisfied with his play.
“Funk didn’t play really well in the morning,” said Hogan. “Every time I saw him in the junk, I just tried to play safe.”
In the afternoon, Hogan posted four birdies while his 19-year-old opponent could not make a single birdie in the short round.
“The course played really tough this afternoon,” said Hogan. "Because the wind dried out the greens and made them scary fast.”
The 19-year-old Dupont was also pleased with his play, especially in the afternoon.
“I finally began to make some putts in the afternoon,” he said after his win. “I struggled with the putter in the morning and Johnny played pretty well, but I was able to escape. “
All square after nine holes in the quarterfinals, Dupont made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and a 20-foot par putt on No. 11 to put the pressure on the 17-year-old Patel.
“Those two putts gave me some momentum,” said Dupont. “Bhavik played pretty well but I was making lots of birdies and that’s usually a good thing in match play.”
Hoffenberg, who committed to the tournament last week while he was shooting 66-66 to finish third at the Pacific Coast Amateur in Victoria, BC, is riding a high from that finish and it showed in today’s play.
The 2008 Southwestern Amateur champion had six birdies and an eagle 3 on the 509-yard fifth hole and never trailed against Anderson, who was his Morse Cup teammate at the Pacific Coast Amateur lost despite shooting 3-under-par for 16 holes.
Playing against the veteran DuBois, Hoffenberg never trailed, making three birdies and two bogeys before winning the match when DuBois conceded an eagle 2 on the 17th hole.
“I didn’t make a lot of putts today,” said Hoffenberg. "But I really love this course even though it’s playing quite hard.”
Wax was calm about his march through the field this week.
“I’ve just been hitting it in the fairway, on the green and making putts,” said Wax. “At least I got to play 15, 16 and 17 today.”
Wax birdied the first hole this morning to take a 1-up lead and never relinquished it as Wyatt made nine bogeys and just one birdie. In the afternoon, Wax eagled the 502-yard, par-5 first hole to take a 1-up lead and again never trailed (although Havro twice squared the match). Wax made nine pars and a bogey over his final 10 holes to hold off Havro.
Fatigue took its toll in the Senior division. The 61-year-old Bridges took down the No. 1 seed, Steve Rhorer of Costa Mesa, 4 & 3, in the morning before rallying from 2 down with four holes to play to finally overtake the 64-year-old Merhar. Neither golfer played well in the afternoon; they each made just one birdie while posting 13 bogeys between them plus two double bogeys by Bridges.
The 57-year-old Martin made a birdie 2 on the final hole to edge Larry Grant of Westminster, 1 up, in their quarterfinal match this morning. Martin never led until that final hole. In the semis, Martin trailed early against Warren Caves of Newport Beach, but rallied with three birdies in his final 10 holes before ending the match in dramatic fashion when he holed a wedge shot from 128 yards.
“That was exciting,” said Martin later, who paired with Rich Tolly to win the 2007 SCGA Four-Ball Net title last year.
--Story by Robert D. Thomas, SCGA