Down to 8 at the California Amateur
DALY CITY - Sam Smith defeated Martin Trainer 2 and 1 in the Round of 16 of the California State Amateur. Co-medalists Nick Delio and Geoff Gonzalez also advanced.
True Lake Merced summer weather, featuring swirling winds and fog, returned for the first time all week, making scoring conditions more difficult.
Scott Oxandaboure continued his impressive play, crushing 2007 champion Josh Anderson 5 and 3. After establishing a 6-up lead, the 27-year-old Carlsbad resident cruised to a win on the 15th hole, continuing a hot streak that has seen the former USC Trojan and California Community College state champion in red numbers the entire week. He faces co-medalist and #1 seed Geoff Gonzalez of Diablo, who showed no signs of the “medalist jinx,” dispatching Matt Grush 1-up.
USC Trojan coach Chris Zambri had to enjoy the match between two members of his incoming recruiting class – Martin Trainer of Palo Alto and Sam Smith of Turlock. Both players had very successful junior careers – Trainer capturing the San Francisco City title as a 16-year-old and Smith winning the NCGA Junior at Lake Merced in 2007. The 18-years olds put on quite a show as their see-saw match danced back and forth (there were five ties throughout) with neither player able to establish momentum. Smith finally took a 1-up lead on the par-3 15th and held on for the 2 and 1 win. “I was hoping we both would play well,” Smith said. “It was fun because every hole counted. You couldn’t afford to give one away.”
Jason Bittick of Ladera Ranch made easy work of E.J. Kahn of Los Angeles, winning going away 4 and 3. The 41-year-old will face Smith in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.
Defending champion and #2 seed Nick Delio of Valencia continued his impressive play, defeating Micah Burke of Los Angles 4 and 3. The Cal State Northridge student has yet to really break a sweat this week, but is mindful of the challenges ahead: “There’s still a long way to go (to defend his championship). It was tougher today because of the weather so I knew that par was a good score – so that was my goal.” Delio is seeking to become the first repeat champion since Dr. Frank Taylor did it more than 50 years ago.
Delio will face Scott Travers of Trabuco Canyon, who came back from two down in his match against Kevin Fryer of San Ramon, winning 2 and 1. Travers didn’t take his first lead in the match until the 16th hole.
Jeff Wilson of Fairfield upended 19-year-old Grant Rappleye of Elk Grove, 3 and 1. Wilson’s ticket to the quarterfinals was punched via his deep experience in USGA match play events, including runs to the semifinals of two U.S. Mid-Amateurs. Wilson will face 1994 State Amateur champion Steve Woods, a 3 and 1 victor over Brett Kanda of La Crescenta. Both Wilson and Woods have qualified for match play at the State Amateur in recent championships, but a spot in the quarterfinals represents their furthest advancement in many years.
Interestingly, in an event that has come to be dominated by college golfers, who have captured five of the last six state titles, half the quarterfinal field is comprised of mid-amateurs (Oxandaboure, Bittick, Wilson and Woods).
The quarterfinals and semifinals are contested tomorrow at Lake Merced, with the scheduled 36-hole final set for Saturday beginning at 7:30 a.m.