RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. (June 26, 2010) -- After five days of battling over the 99th California State Amateur trophy, youth overcame experience today, as 22-year-old Scott Travers of Trabuco Canyon defeated La Jolla's Harry Rudolph, 40 and the 1991 champion, 4 and 3 for the state amateur crown at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
Travers, the 2010 West Coast Conference Player of the Year out of Santa Clara University, picked up his biggest amateur win to date, birdieing four of his first six holes in the 36-hole final and picking up an early lead that he maintained until the 33rd and final hole.
"I've really worked hard the last few weeks, and to be honest, the win still hasn't hit me," Travers said with a smile after the win. "I know as a player, you have to be able to finish tournaments, and it's a relief to do it."
Travers, the No. 19 seed, took on the hometown favorite and No. 5 seed Rudolph, an amateur-champion-turned-professional-turned-amateur who grew up playing golf with Phil Mickelson and played on powerhouse University of Arizona's championship golf team in the early 1990s. Rudolph, owner of Harry's Coffee Shop in La Jolla and who opened the shop every morning at dawn before his 7:30 a.m. tee times, had more than 100 spectators in attendance, including his mom and four of his nine siblings.
It was Travers, however, that shined today, with unshakable focus and his eye on the prize. Not appearing fatigued at all, especially after playing 15 rounds of golf in 13 days thanks to participating in last week's Southwestern Amateur in San Diego, Travers carried his bag every round but today (when friend Mike Stewart stepped into save his back) and kept the same routine that was successful in prior rounds.
"My ball striking was hit or miss this week, but what I did well was put myself in good spots," he said. "I putted awesome, everything rolled really true."
With mom Barbara and dad Morse walking the course all week beside him, Travers birdied holes 1, 3, 4 and 6 to go 4-up against Rudolph's solid pars. Rudolph gathered an uncharacteristic five bogeys in 33 holes and was as much as 5 down on the 10th hole. He followed up with an eagle-3 on the par-5 11th and would close the gap to 2 thanks to a Travers bogey on 12 and Rudolph birdieing the par-3 14th, but couldn't overcome the deficit.
"My family knew how badly I wanted to win," Travers said. "It was so nice to have them here. I've had some really close calls, and it was time to win."
Those close calls include coming in third, second and second in three consecutive college tournaments this year, although, he noted, the State Amateur win exceeded his expectations as far as winning a major amateur event.
As for Rudolph, the loss is bittersweet.
"Am I disappointed? Absolutely," Rudolph said afterward. "I didn't quite have my game today, it seemed all my yardages were tweeners that I didn't have the right club for. I just never got it close, and I was having to save par the whole time."
Rudolph dismissed two-time SCGA Amateur champion and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin Marsh, 37, of Henderson, Nev., 1 up yesterday to reach the finals, while Travers defeated Burlingame's Randy Haag, 51, a multiple NCGA champion, 3 and 2.
Both Rudolph and Travers will tee it up in the 111th SCGA Amateur Championship, July 9-11 at La Cumbre CC in Santa Barbara. Rudolph qualified, while Travers was exempt from his quarterfinal status in the 2009 California State Amateur.