SCGA Amateur champion Sam Choi (SCGA photo)
RANCHO MIRAGE, California (July 9, 2017) -- Sam Choi
had a 41 hole bogey-free streak birdie run going at the Mission Hills CC Dinah Shore Course heading into today's final round of the SCGA Amateur. Not that he was worried about that.
With a 3-shot lead over his next closest competitor, and six shots between Choi and third place, the tournament was his to win or lose. But when was the last time "the rest of us" played bogey free golf, even for 18-holes? It isn't easy to do.
So when Choi recorded 4 straight pars to start the final round, the streak was a nice tidy 45 holes. A bogey on the 5th may have stopped the streak, but it didn't stop the 17-year-old Korean born Choi -- who moved to California 6 years ago to focus on golf -- from playing another solid round and winning a tournament that has a legendary list of past champions, including Tiger Woods.
Choi made history in the desert, and not just because the 118-year old tournament was played in the Coachella Valley for the first time. That's because the tournament now has a new "youngest-ever" champion.
Choi, at just 17 years and one month of age, become the youngest winner in the event’s long and prestigious history.
“It’s an honor to win this historical tournament,” said Choi, a rising senior at Anaheim Discovery Christian School.
Choi was out front all day, but to his credit runner-up Danny Ochoa overcame a double-bogey start (that put him five shots behind quick) to record four birdies against no other blemishes to keep some pressure on Choi.
After an Ochoa birdie on No. 15 put him within three strokes, Choi answered with three-straight birdies to finish the round, putting the icing on the cake of this major victory. In the first year that the SCGA Amateur was played in the desert, temperatures topped 120 degrees at times during the week.
Choi will attend the University of New Mexico in the Fall. It can get hot there, but we're sure he can handle it.
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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