Sam Choi watches a shot on Friday
RANCHO MIRAGE, CA (July 7, 2017) - A leader has emerged from a crowded leaderboard after second round action at the 118th SCGA Amateur Championship as Sam Choi fired a 5-under 67 to take the lead by two strokes.
Choi, an 18-year-old high school senior from Anaheim, produced a blemish-free scorecard with five birdies and no bogeys on Mission Hills CC's Dinah Shore Tournament Course on Friday. Starting his round on the 10th tee, Choi was hot out of the gates. He birdied No. 10, No. 13 and No. 15, setting himself up for short wedges into the greens after monster tee balls.
“My driver was great today,” said Choi. “I only missed two fairways and made all kind of putts inside of 20 feet.”
Making the turn at 3-under, Choi threw on the after burners and birdied No. 1 and 2 before parring out, completing his impressive second round on a familiar track.
“I’ve played in the AJGA event here so I have some knowledge of the course,” said Choi. “I know where to hit it, but also where to miss. I’m familiar with these firm greens too.”
Choi has a two-shot lead over two recent college graduates at 6-under. Cody Hall of Cal State San Bernadino had the second-best round of the day with a 68 while Danny Ochoa of USC shot his second consecutive 69. Ochoa again took advantage of his length off the tee, looking at an eagle putt on the iconic 18th hole for the second straight round. He would again settle for birdie, but he is the only player to reach that green in two during both rounds, as the hole as played 618 and 565 yards.
Ten other players are within three shots of the lead.
A number of notables are still within striking distance, including the two past champions in the field, 2004 Champion Tim Hogarth and three-time winner Scott McGihon, who are at 2-under and 1-under, respectively.
In an event that typically hosts a 36-hole opening round, the format was changed this year to address the high temperatures. Today’s cut was at +3, affording 43 players the chance to compete in two more 18-hole rounds this weekend, which begin at 7:30 a.m.
ABOUT THE SCGA Amateur
This is the longest standing championship
by the SCGA. Started in 1900, this event
best amateur player of the Association. Since
inaugural event, the SCGA Amateur has
illustrious history of great champions, including
Woods and Al Geiberger to more recent stars
including Beau Hossler and Patrick Cantlay. The
event is open to members with a Handicap
5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes
qualifying play in order to reach the final field
players. In the Championship, players compete
72 holes of stroke play with the top 42 and ties
advancing after the first 36 holes. The
site is traditionally held at the home club of the
current SCGA President.
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