Geoff Gonzalez made history last year when he became the first player in 15 years to both medal and win the California Golf Association State Amateur Championship. This year, the San Luis Obispo resident will look to repeat that feat, as he and eight other past champions headline a notable roster of players set to tee off at the 99th California State Amateur Championship, June 21-26 at Rancho Santa Fe GC and La Jolla CC in San Diego.
Defending champion Gonzalez, 22, a golfer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, defeated Fairfield’s Jeff Wilson, 3 and 2 in the finals last year at Lake Merced GC in Daly City. As medalist and winner, Gonzalez accomplished a feat only done 12 times before in the championship’s history, the last by Steve Woods in 1994.
Other past champions participating this year include Nick Delio of Valencia, age 20 (2008 champion and 2009 SCGA Match Play champion); Jordan Nasser of Irvine, 26 (2006); Don DuBois of Newport Beach, 51 (2005 and two-time SCGA Foursomes champion); Darryl Donovan of Morgan Hill, 50 (2001 and multiple winner of Northern California events); Tim Hogarth of Northridge, 43 (1999 and, among a number of accolades, the 2010 SCGA Mid-Amateur champion); Ed Cuff, Jr. of Rancho Santa Fe, 48 (1998); Woods of Campbell, 38 (1994); and Harry Rudolph III of La Jolla, 40 (1991).
There are several featured pairings to kick off stroke play as well:
Past NCGA Junior Champions (8 a.m. at La Jolla): Roberto Galletti of Clayton, Sam Smith of Turlock and Michael Weaver of Fresno are all past NCGA Junior Amateur Champions (Weaver is the current winner)
PAC-10 Challenge (8:10 a.m. at La Jolla): Eric Mina of Fremont and UC Berkeley, Alex Kim of Cerritos and UCLA, and Spencer Fletcher of Los Altos and Arizona State all go head-to-head in an off-season PAC-10 rivalry
San Diego Citizens (8:20 a.m. at La Jolla): Howie Knodt of Chula Vista (2009 SCGA Senior Amateur champion), Patrick Duncan of Rancho Santa Fe and Bucky Coe of Encinitas will all look for a hometown and home course advantage
Roger Lapham Cup 1 (8:30 a.m. at La Jolla): Jason Bittick of Ladera Ranch (two-time SCGA Mid-Am runner-up), Taylor Travis of Fremont (two-time NCGA Four-Ball champion) and Rudolph
Roger Lapham Cup 2 (8:40 a.m. at La Jolla): Delio, Gonzalez and Bhavik Patel of Bakersfield (2009 U.S. Amateur semifinalist)
Roger Lapham Cup 3 (8:50 a.m. at La Jolla): Donovan, Tyler Crawford of Rancho Mirage (two-time SCGA Mid-Amateur runner-up) and Randy Haag of Burlingame (multiple NCGA champion)
Roger Lapham Cup 4 (9:00 a.m. at La Jolla): Jeff Wilson of Fairfield (2008 SCGA Mid-Amateur champion), Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nev. (two-time SCGA Amateur champion and 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur winner), and Scott Hardy of Pleasant Hill (2007 and 2010 NCGA Public Links champion)
Sweet Swingin’ Lefties (10:30 a.m. at Rancho Santa Fe): Matt Hoffenberg of Simi Valley (2008 SCGA Match Play champion), Cole Fisher of Mission Viejo and Greg Moss of Sherman Oaks (2010 Pasadena City champion) are all left-handed and comprise a group that RSF GC and La Jolla member Phil Mickelson would love.
Major Past Champions (10:40 a.m. at Rancho Santa Fe): Robert Funk of Canyon Lake (2006 SCGA Mid-Amateur champion), DuBois and Nasser (past State Am champions) will battle for the ultimate title
AJGA All-Stars (10:50 a.m. at Rancho Santa Fe): Anthony Paolucci of Del Mar, Anton Arbolega of La Canada and Patrick Cantlay of Anaheim (2010 CIF State high school champion) are three of the top-ranked junior players in the country
State Amateur Redeux (11 a.m. at Rancho Santa Fe): Cuff, Woods and Hogarth are all past State Amateur champions from the 1990s.
Also included in the event is the Roger Lapham Challenge Cup, a team play portion of the championship that began its current stroke-play format in 1990. The Northern California team is comprised of Taylor Travis, Gonzalez, Donovan, Randy Haag, Wilson and Scott Hardy. The Southern California team includes Jason Bittick, Rudolph, Delio, Bhavik Patel, Tyler Crawford and Kevin Marsh. Southern California is the defending champion.
Rancho Santa Fe GC and La Jolla CC will share 36 holes of stroke-play duties over the first two days of the championship, which will determine both the medalist and 32 match play participants. Match play will be contested over Rancho Santa Fe GC’s layout. This marks the first year the California State Amateur has been played in San Diego, and only the second time in Southern California.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA STATE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
The California State Amateur Championship is one of the nation’s oldest state amateur golf championships and dates its origins from 1912, when the California Golf Association was organized. Traditionally played in Pebble Beach, in 2007 the CGA broadened the scope of this prestigious championship by rotating the weeklong event to selected courses throughout the state. Monterey Peninsula Country Club hosted the 2007 championship. Lakeside Golf Club and Oakmont Country Club were the host sites in 2008, the first time the event was ever held in Southern California. Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City hosted the event in 2009. The Olympic Club will be the host venue in 2011 when the championship celebrates its 100th anniversary.