By Robert Gautney
BAKERSFIELD, CALIF. (Aug 1, 2011) -- Six rounds of competitive golf in six days. Bhavik Patel and Manav Shah both admitted they were exhausted Sunday afternoon as they played the final nine holes of the 32nd Bakersfield City Amateur Golf Championship at Sundale Country Club.
Trailing Patel by a shot as they made the turn, Shah put himself into a hole when he made a bogey on the tough par-4 10th. It would be his lone mistake of the day but it proved to be costly.
Patel rode a bogey-free, 3-under-par 69 to finish at 8-under 136 to win his first City title and beat Shah by a single stroke. In the process, he became the sixth player to have won both a Kern County Amateur and a Bakersfield City Amateur. Patel won the KC Amateur in 2008.
Shah finished at 7-under 137 with a final-round 68.
Patel, who won the California State Amateur in June, and Shah, who was the runner-up in the SCGA Amateur earlier this month, both competed in the prestigious Pacific Coast Amateur Tuesday through Friday in Lake Tahoe and both were running on empty in the final round."Yeah, I'm a little tired right now," said Patel, a senior at Fresno State, "but I've wanted to win this tournament for a few years now so it's good to finally get it."Patel made three birdies on the day. His first came on the par-4 third hole, and when he birdied the par-5 No. 5, he found himself tied for the lead with first-round leader Brian Sunker and Brian Wells. It wasn't until he made his last birdie on the par-5 14th that he knew he had the lead."I got a glance of the leader board and saw that I was in the lead at that point, so after that it was just trying to hit fairways and greens, give myself some putts at birdie and try not to make any mistakes," he said of his late round strategy.Although he didn't make another birdie, he did use some course management down the stretch.
After his own birdie on the par-5 14th, Shah birdied the par-3 17th to get to 7-under but a "flyer" second shot on the par-5 finishing hole put him over the green in two. Shah chipped to five feet but missed the birdie putt, and at 7-under, Shah could only hope for a mistake from Patel.
"I knew that was it," said Shah, who also finished runner-up in this event last year by a single shot. "I knew Bhavik wasn't going to make bogey on either of the last two holes, so I had to get to 8 under to have a chance for a playoff."
Patel hit his tee ball into the left rough behind some trees on the 18th and that forced him to chip out and hit a wedge over water for his third shot, but he knocked it about 10-feet away and two-putted for the win.
"If I was trailing by a shot I would have gone for it," said Patel of his second on No. 18. "I had a small opening but with a one-shot lead, the smart play was to just chip it out."
After a first-round ,record-tying 65, Sunker shot 74 to finish tied for fifth at 5-under 139, along with Wells, who had a final-round 73, Chase Goodvin, Scott Anderson and Bryan Hogan. Goodvin had the best round of the day with a 5-under 67.
Tied for third a stroke behind Shah were M.J. Morin and Jeff Campbell at 6-under 138. Morin had a final- round 70 and Campbell a 68.
Rounding out the top 10 were Ruffie Fessler and Jeff Acebedo, who finished tied for 10th at 3-under 141.
Frank Rizo won the President's Flight with a net total of 10-under 134 with Bill
Donaldson second and Vyn Goodman third. The Senior Flight winner was Brian Branson with a 149.
Bob Paillet aced the par-3 17th in the final round and that helped him to second low net in the Senior Flight behind Mike Hassett.