GOLETA, August 13 -- Nick Delio of Valencia fought off current SCGA Amateur champion Austin Graham of San Clemente through 18 holes this afternoon, to win the second SCGA Match Play Championship 1 up at Sandpiper Golf Course.
The No. 4-seed Delio, the 2008 California State Amateur champion and a golfer for Cal State Northridge, was 3 up through 14, but No. 6-seed Graham, a rising junior at UC Davis who also won this year's Long Beach City championship, scrambled to close Delio's gap to 1 up on 17. A chip to 4 inches on the par-3 18th hole gave Delio a par to Graham's par, halving the hole and awarding Delio the championship title.
"My length (off the tee) is a huge advantage in match play," Delio said after his win. "Normally I'm always playing second, so I know what I have to do from the fairway based on what my opponent does."
Delio shot a 67 off his own ball while Graham shot a 68, and only one bogey was had the entire match -- Graham's 4 on the par-3 sixth hole. Each golfer also had five birdies a piece. In the morning semifinals, Delio upset No. 1 seed, 2009 SCGA Mid-Amateur champion Tim Hogarth of Northridge 1 up while Graham defeated 2007 California State Amateur champion Josh Anderson of Murrieta in 19 holes. Anderson drained a 14-foot breaking birdie putt on 18 to take the match to extra holes, but Graham birdied the 19th hole to close the match.
In the senior division, Howie Knodt of Chula Vista continued his domination of Southland senior events, defeating Laguna Niguel's Kemp Richardson 2 and 1 to win. Knodt, the 2009 SCGA Senior Amateur champion and 2008 SCGA Senior Player of the Year, was the No. 1 seed in the championship, and against Richardson, a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur and British Senior Amateur champion, was never less than 2 up after the fourth hole. Knodt, who works for his family's travel agency, collected four birdies and only one bogey on the second hole, which Richardson bogeyed also. Richardson had more of a rollercoaster round, his four birdies cancelled out by four bogeys.
A play-by-play of the regular division round is available at www.scga.org/09matchplay.