SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 1, 2008)--Two years ago, Matt Grush's application to play in the California State Fair was denied due to lack of major tournament credentials.
He joined the field last year, finishing 27th, and continued his solid play in 2008 taking 19th at the Memorial Amateur and making it to the PNGA Amateur quarterfinals.
On Labor Day, Grush proved he belonged by hanging on to take victory at the State Fair, opening with a scorching 64 and following it up with rounds of 68-71 to finish at 13-under-par.
His one nerve-wracking moment came when he converted a sand-save on 15 after finding the bunker despite splitting the fairway with his drive.
"That was the turning point," he told the Sacramento Bee. "If I miss that putt … I don't want to think what might have happened."
He was three-strokes clear of Cal teammates Stephen Hale and Chris Johnson.
In the women's division UC Davis golfer Brittany Smith topped teammate Chelsea Stelsmiller by a stroke to take the title at 2-under-par 142.
Her opening round was her all-time tournament best.
"This is the beginning of good things to come," Smith told the Sacramento Bee.
Smith redshirted her junior year because of health issues involving her contracting Lyme disease and forcing her to watch Davis advance to the the NCAA championships without her in the school's first year of Division I eligibility.
In the Masters flight, Jeff Hoffman birdied the first playoff hole to win a four-man playoff over Tom Scarlett, Jamie Looper and Ken Crawford at the Bing Maloney Golf Course.
Jeff Burda continued to roll through the NorCal senior ranks, using a 6-under final round to pull off a 10-stroke Senior division victory over Chris McKenna at Mather Golf Course.
Bill Donaldson's 207 was enough to take the Net flight flight title.