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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
players under the following
* The past 10 years of the San Francisco City
* 2023 San Francisco City Men’s
Match Play Qualifiers
* Top 20 men’s 2022-2023 NCGA Points
* 2023 NCGA Champions (Amateur, Mid-
* The top 3 finishers in each of the 6 AmateurGolf.com Winter
(Dec 2023-Feb 2024)
Registration for exempt players, and for non-
players with a handicap index
of 6.4 or lower
as of the date of
entry, opens on October 1 and will
open until the field limit (120 players including
reserved for exempt players)
is reached. When the field limit is reached, all
additional registrants will be entered in
pre-qualifier at Presidio Golf Club on Friday,
Once entries close, if there are any unfilled
the Men's Championship (due to
fewer than 50 exempt players registering
or withdrawals), they will be filled by Pre-
registrants in the order in which
Players entering pre-qualifying will pay an
of $165 for the pre-qualifier, and
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
9-10, 2024, with
18 holes played at TPC Harding Park and 18
Course for a combined 36-hole qualifying
There will be 156 players in the qualifying
64 players advancing to match play. When all
qualifying has been completed, the Men’s
Championship Flight will consist of 64
In the event of a playoff to qualify for
player must be present in order to retain his
to participate in the playoff.
Match play will begin on March 16, 2024. All
match play for the Championship Flight (Mar
23-24) will be held
at TPC Harding Park.
A schedule of all dates of
play can be found on the tournament website
WITHDRAWALS AND REFUND
Players needing to withdraw should do so by
out the form at sfgolfchampionship.com/contact/
the entry deadline of February 19
refund of their entry fee minus
$50. There will be no refunds after the
The use of carts is prohibited for players and
in the Men’s Championship Flight (Appendix I
SPECIAL OFFER TO SF CITY PLAYERS:
players get 50% off Strackaline Yardage Books! CLICK HERE for
ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY
The oldest municipal tournament in the USA.
play event with scratch men's, senior men’s,
women's, senior women’s, and open flight
Past champions include Ken Venturi, Harvie
Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg, George Archer, and
Dorothy Delasin. Some of the “non winners”
Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the
for more about this wonderful event.
View Complete Tournament Information