Beating the desert heat, Sam Choi wins SCGA Amateur
SCGA Amateur champion Sam Choi (SCGA photo)
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.

Results: SCGA Amateur
1CASam ChoiAnaheim, CA40069-67-67-68=271
2CADanny OchoaCarlsbad, CA26069-69-68-70=276
T3CAJoshua MatzAgoura Hills, CA16069-71-70-70=280
T3CAAndrew LevittLadera Ranch, CA16072-69-69-70=280
T3CADonald KaySan Diego, CA16069-70-70-71=280

View full results for SCGA Amateur


This is the longest standing championship conducted by the SCGA. Started in 1900, this event crowns the best amateur player of the Association. Since the inaugural event, the SCGA Amateur has enjoyed an illustrious history of great champions, including Tiger Woods and Al Geiberger to more recent stars including Beau Hossler and Patrick Cantlay. The event is open to members with a Handicap Index of 5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes of qualifying play in order to reach the final field of 84 players. In the Championship, players compete over 72 holes of stroke play with the top 42 and ties advancing after the first 36 holes. The championship site is traditionally held at the home club of the current SCGA President.

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