MODESTO – For the third straight day, a different name found the top of the 21st Annual CGA Senior Amateur Championship leaderboard at Del Rio GCC. But unlike the previous two days, Wednesday was the day where it mattered most. In the end, Casey Boyns came back from four shots down to win the title and be crowned the top senior amateur in the state of California.
Boyns was buoyed by an exceptional back nine, which included four birdies, none bigger than the one on the 18th hole. Going into the hole tied for lead at four-over par with fellow-competitors David Delich and Jim Knoll, the three squared off in what felt more like a match play showdown.
Knoll hit his drive in the right rough, while Boyns and Delich both hit their drives on the short par-4 18th within five yards of each other down the left side of the fairway, leaving themselves with shots of less than 100 yards. Knoll was the first to play his approach shot, hitting his ball into the bunker left of the green. Boyns was next and hit his ball 20 feet above the hole, while Delich went last, leaving his approach shot just off the front of the green about 18 feet away. After Knoll hit his ball within a foot of the cup for a tap-in par, Boyns was next to play and had an unbelievably quick downhill putt with several inches of break. The 56-year-old played it perfectly though, as it remained on line until it found the bottom of the cup. A few moments later, Delich slid his uphill putt by, giving Boyns the win.
“I had a great read,” said Boyns. “It was fun to watch it go down that hill and keep turning and turning into the hole.”
Only three holes earlier, Boyns was hoping just to get into a playoff, as Delich held a two-shot lead after the 15th hole when he made his fourth birdie in six holes. However, back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 by Delich allowed both Boyns and Knoll to recapture a share of the lead going into the 18th.
Boyns and Delich got off to similar starts on the back nine as Boyns birdied Nos. 10 and 11, while Delich also birdied those two and No. 12. Boyns fell behind though with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14, and thought he was going to come up short.
“When I got two or three strokes back, I thought, here we go again, close but no cigar,” said Boyns.
However, it worked out in Boyns’ favor, something he felt very relieved of, having not won an amateur tournament of this stature in some time.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve won something,” he said. “I have won a lot of little things and had lots of seconds and thirds, but I really wanted to win this.”
Boyns’ 219, three-over par total was good enough for first place, while Delich and Knoll finished tied for second with a score of 220, four-over par. Alone in fourth place was 36-hole leader Jeff Burda at 221, while Gerry Simoni and Michael Turner at 222 tied for fifth place.
Burda, who had a one-stroke lead going into the day, struggled on the front-nine to a 39, but still maintained a lead at the turn. However, what did him in was a double-bogey-6 on the 12th hole, hitting his approach shot in the water after having a perfect lie from the middle of the fairway.
Going into the day, it looked like history was going to be made by three-time winner Burda, who was on course for an unprecedented fourth title. Instead, another bid of history was made as Boyns became only the second player, along with Gary Vanier, to win both the CGA Amateur and Senior Amateur in a career.
“This was a bucket list thing,” said Boyns of winning a CGA Senior Amateur title. “To be on the same page as [Vanier] is an honor.”
View results for California Senior Amateur Golf Championship