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Player Profile: Shintaro Ban, San Francisco City Champion
By Brentley Romine, Golfweek

Shintaro Ban picked up the biggest victory of his young career as the 18-year-old UNLV signee from San Jose, Calif., won the San Fancisco City Men's Amateur on March 9 at Presidio Golf Course.

Ban defeated Rick Reinsberg, 8 and 7, in the final match.

Golfweek caught up with Ban to chat with him about the big victory in San Francisco, his older brother, Shotaro, who plays at Cal, and his future college team:

Talk about the big victory in San Francisco. Now, you were the stroke-play medalist at the 2012 U.S. Junior in Straham, N.H., but this one has to be the biggest win of your young career, am I right?

Definitely one of the biggest wins for my career because it's not a junior golf tournament. It was an amateur event where everyone's there. I'm really honored. . . . I lost in the Round of 16 last year (at the event) and made it to the semifinals my first year (in 2012). . . . Being medalist at the U.S. Junior, that was my first big accomplishment, and I've won several small tournaments around the Bay Area and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur, but this one was pretty big.

You're signed to play for UNLV in the fall. Have you kept up with the Rebels this season?

I've been texting coach (Dwaine Knight) after every match, asking him what I could do to improve and stuff like that. They had a big win Sunday (at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters).

And what made you ultimately decide to sign there?

There were three main reasons. First of all, obviously, the coaches. Coach Knight, he's pretty much a legend and short-game guru. He's the old-timer with more experience while his assistant J.C. (Deacon) has more of the youth thing. He can relate to most college golfers and is a really good player. No one on the team has beaten him yet on the golf course, he tells me. Second, almost every year someone goes on to play pro golf at a high level. And third, the courses and facilities are amazing, especially Shadow Creek. When I first saw it, I'm like, 'Wow. I get to practice and play here whenever I want.'

Your older brother, Shotaro, plays at Cal and also won an amateur event on March 9 at the Diablo Valley Amateur.

Yeah, he called me as soon as I finished. My mom and his friends were watching me. He called me and he's like, 'Good win, but dude guess what? I won, too.' That was pretty awesome.

Why didn't you follow in his footsteps and sign with Cal?

It just didn't feel right. He told me their coach was looking at me after the (2012) U.S. Junior, but I'm glad I chose UNLV.

Who's the better Ban brother and how often do people get you guys confused?

I don't know. We're both at the same level. Whoever has their day is the better one that day. He always says I'm younger so I have the advantage, though. His mental game is stronger, but I have more accomplishments. He hasn't played in a USGA event yet – I've played in two. And yeah, people get us confused a lot, especially at the (San Francisco) City. They thought I was my older brother and asking me how I like Cal, and I'm like, 'I'm only a senior in high school.'

What's your schedule like for the rest of the spring and summer?

I'm going to play in amateur tournaments around the Bay Area for the rest of the spring and then in the summer, I'm going to try to get into some invitationals like the Monroe Invitational, the Trans-Miss Amateur, etc.

What is your biggest goal right now?

I'd love to play in the U.S. Amateur again.

Describe your game for those who aren't familiar with it.

My strength is my tee shot with driver. I'm short – 5-foot-8 – and 135 pounds, but I can constantly hit the ball 300 yards. I also set myself up pretty good off the tee. Putting is probably my second strongest part of my game. I've been working a lot on it.

What's one thing most of your fellow golf peers don't know about you?

Most of the time, if there's daylight, I try to (play) golf as much as I can. I like to play basketball, too, and I actually used to swim competitively with my brother when I was younger. That was our main sport before we turned over to golf. We actually both picked up golf pretty late, too (12 years old).

Results: San Francisco City Championship
WinCAShintaro BanSan Jose, CA180
Runner-upCARick ReinsbergLafayette, CA120
SemifinalsCARyan KnopPleasanton, CA80
SemifinalsCARyan WilsonSan Francisco, CA80
QuarterfinalsCAIan CoffmanSan Diego, CA50

View full results for San Francisco City Championship

ABOUT THE San Francisco City Championship

*An NCGA Points Tournament*

**New Entry Procedure for 2024: Registration opens for all players on October 1. There will be 50 spots held for exempt players under the following categories:

* The past 10 years of the San Francisco City Golf Champions
* 2023 San Francisco City Men’s Championship Match Play Qualifiers
* Top 20 men’s 2022-2023 NCGA Points Lists
* 2023 NCGA Champions (Amateur, Mid- Amateur, Junior)
* The top 3 finishers in each of the 6 AmateurGolf.com Winter Tour events (Dec 2023-Feb 2024)

Registration for exempt players, and for non- exempt players with a handicap index of 6.4 or lower as of the date of entry, opens on October 1 and will remain open until the field limit (120 players including spots reserved for exempt players) is reached. When the field limit is reached, all additional registrants will be entered in the pre-qualifier at Presidio Golf Club on Friday, March 8, 2024.

Once entries close, if there are any unfilled spots in the Men's Championship (due to fewer than 50 exempt players registering or withdrawals), they will be filled by Pre- Qualifier registrants in the order in which they registered.

Players entering pre-qualifying will pay an entry fee of $165 for the pre-qualifier, and those advancing from the pre-qualifier will pay the remainder of the entry fee (must be paid prior to playing).

The 36-hole match play qualifier will be held March 9-10, 2024, with 18 holes played at TPC Harding Park and 18 holes at Presidio Golf Course for a combined 36-hole qualifying score.

There will be 156 players in the qualifying round with 64 players advancing to match play. When all qualifying has been completed, the Men’s Championship Flight will consist of 64 contestants. In the event of a playoff to qualify for match play, a player must be present in order to retain his right to participate in the playoff.

Match play will begin on March 16, 2024. All match play for the Championship Flight (Mar 16-17, 23-24) will be held at TPC Harding Park.

A schedule of all dates of play can be found on the tournament website sfgolfchampionship.com.

WITHDRAWALS AND REFUND POLICY
Players needing to withdraw should do so by filling out the form at sfgolfchampionship.com/contact/. Players withdrawing before the entry deadline of February 19 will receive a refund of their entry fee minus $50. There will be no refunds after the entry deadline.

CART POLICY
The use of carts is prohibited for players and caddies in the Men’s Championship Flight (Appendix I – Local Rule Applies)

SPECIAL OFFER TO SF CITY PLAYERS:

SF City players get 50% off Strackaline Yardage Books! CLICK HERE for details


ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
The oldest municipal tournament in the USA. Match play event with scratch men's, senior men’s, women's, senior women’s, and open flight divisions. Past champions include Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward, Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg, George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin. Some of the “non winners” include Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the “history” tab for more about this wonderful event.

View Complete Tournament Information

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