Top-seed Bhavik Patel on the
Calif. State Amateur 2nd Round of Match
SANTA BARBARA, (June 27, 2012) -- Players, spectators and officials have been raving all week about the pristine course conditions at La Cumbre CC, and it seems the competitors didn’t want to quit playing Wednesday as six of the 16 Round of 32 matches at the California Amateur Championship went to extra holes, with two extending to 22.
“The course really allows for a lot of birdie chances,” said SCGA Director of Rules & Competitions Mike Sweeney. “It affords people the opportunity to play aggressively and mount a comeback.”
The most impressive comeback of the day may have come from Saint Mary’s golfer Ben Geyer, who found himself down four heading into the 12th hole before eventually beating Pace Johnson in 20.
“[Johnson] really didn’t make a bad shot all day, but on the front side I let some opportunities slip away,” said Geyer, who caught fire late and birdied five of his final seven holes. “On 12 I hit a nice drive and from there on out I really didn’t hit a bad shot.”
Also advancing on to the Round of 16 is medalist and defending champion Bhavik Patel (pictured), who lit up the La Cumbre course during stroke play for a two-day score of 13-under par. Patel found himself 3 up after his first three holes in his match against Tyler Raber, before letting the lead slip back to one heading into the 17th hole. Looking to put an end to Raber’s comeback, Patel drained a downhill 40-foot putt to complete his victory.
The No. 1-seeded Patel will face a hot Maxwell Marsico at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, in what will be the first Round of 16 match of the day. Marsico had one of the easiest victories Wednesday, defeating Ki Taek Lee of La Quinta 5 & 4, and carding six birdies in his 14 holes of play.
The Santa Barbara locals showed that home course advantage surely is an advantage here, as Kevin Marsh (pictured), Jack Perry, Niall Platt and Shane Lebow all escaped their Round of 32 matches. Perry and Platt each pulled out a stress-free victories, while Marsh and Lebow had to work a little harder for their wins.
Marsh, a favorite entering the tournament and two-time SCGA Amateur Champion, matched up Wednesday against Craig Davis of Chula Vista. Davis led by as many as two early in the match, before the two found themselves all square from holes 13 to 21. Marsh was able to birdie the par 4 376-yard fourth hole to secure the win.
Marsh will be joined in the Round of 16 by fellow SCGA veteran Mark Miller, who defeated rising star Jake Knapp in 19 holes.
“It gets to the point where you know you just have to go,” said Miller, who found himself down to after 16 holes. “The joy of match play is you never know what’s going to happen. He made some mistakes and let me back in the game. If someone lets you back in the game, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”