VENTURA, Calif. (June 27, 2010) --Aaron West has been working hard on staying in the moment when he plays a round of golf, so when he reached the 18th hole during Sunday's Ventura City Championship, the Woodland Hills resident had no idea he was just one stroke behind leader Marshall Colby.
Instead of worrying about what score he needed to catch Colby, West said his only objective was to hit a good drive and approach shot.
He did both, putting his second shot just 10 feet from the hole for eagle.
Colby, a former Westlake High standout who now plays at the University of Oregon, knew exactly how far ahead he was as he stood on the final tee box.
His intent was to hit his approach shot in the middle of the green and two-putt for birdie, forcing West to make the eagle to tie.
But instead, Colby pulled his approach shot long, resulting in an out-of-bounds penalty. Colby went on to make bogey, but it didn't matter, as West drained the eagle putt, giving him a final-round 65 and a two-shot win at 6-under 136. Colby was second at 4-under 138. Former Ventura College player Satch Hermann and Jerry Sanders tied for third at 141.
West said he's new to competitive golf, having quit his job two years ago to see how good he can get at the game.
"This is only my 12th tournament, so to win this early in my career feels really good," said West, who is a student of Westlake teaching pro George Gankas.
West started the day one shot behind Colby, but after birdies on three of his first four holes, West made the turn with a two-shot lead.
Colby erased the deficit with three consecutive birdies to open the back nine.
It looked like West might be done after making bogeys on 13 and 14, but he righted the ship to hang close.
Colby increased his lead to two with a great birdie on the par-4 15th, but gave the shot back with a bogey on 16.
After a great tee shot on the par-3 17th, West had a chance to tie Colby, but he missed a 4-foot birdie putt, sending him to 18 down by one.
"I had 180 yards to the pin, so I hit a punched 7-iron and it ended up being good," West said.
Colby's ball off the tee on 18 ended up in the rough, and was buried a bit in the tall grass. Colby dug it out with a 9-iron but in doing so pulled the ball, sending it flying over the back of the green, where it came to rest out of bounds.
"I really didn't hit the ball well either day, but I made some putts to keep me going," Colby said. "I was struggling with my game coming in, so I actually take some confidence out of this, even though I didn't win."
Like West, Santa Paula resident Steven Ramos has only been playing competitive golf for a few years, but he too came up with a big effort this weekend.
Ramos won the A Flight by 13 shots, shooting a net 127. Mark Weidmann was second at 140, followed by Brian Tiffany at 142.
"It was a great round, but I actually left a lot of birdies out there," Ramos said. "Everything was working. I drove it long and straight. I made a 45-foot birdie putt on No. 5 to get me going. It was just a good day."
Abraham Placencia of Santa Barbara won the B Flight with a net 129, a total that included a net 60 on Sunday. Loren Fenske was second at 134, followed by Darryl Gordon at 135.
Placencia started seven shots off the lead, but came out firing.
"I was more aggressive because I figured I had nothing to lose," Placencia said. "My ball striking was really strong today and when I missed a green, I was able to get up and down."
Elwood Webster came from behind to win the C Flight with a net 138. Wesley Winther was second at 140.
"I just tried to manage my shots and make as many pars as possible," Webster said.