Paul Smith wins the Merced County Amateur
Paul Smith graduated from USC in 2015 <br>(USC Athletics Photo)
Paul Smith graduated from USC in 2015
(USC Athletics Photo)

MERCED, California (July 9, 2017) -- Paul Smith of Turlock won the Merced County Amateur Sunday, battling 107 degree Central Valley heat with rounds of 71 and 72 for a 1-under total of 143 at Merced Golf & Country Club.

Smith, 24, played was a USC Trojan golfer (class of 2015) his junior and senior years after transferring from Cal State Stanislaus. He finished three shots clear of Jace Merlo (2-over 146). Tied fourth were Ron Ewing and Troy Williams.


With seemingly every senior golfer in Northern California in attendance, and a few from Southern California thrown in, the Merced County Amateur has a huge senior contingency, and the scores and quality of play reflect that.

This report courtesy Jim Knoll (who humbly downplays his own performance in his weekly email bulletins):

The last group in the Senior Division had quite a day, with some fantastic golf being played, especially over last nine holes. First, Jeff Hoffman hits a hybrid to 18 inches for a kick-in eagle on No. 13 – then Jim Williams dunks his 5 iron for an ace on the very next hole. Both were such perfect shots, sweet to witness! The field was all bunched together at that time, I was fortunate to make a couple of birdies on back nine and squeak out with a 2-shot win at the end. It was good friendly competition -- the reason we play this game.


Kemp Richardson was one of the first timers who played the tournament after a million invites, and was the Super Senior winner -- his 147 score bested the quartet of Herbie Jensen, Rich Tolly, Rob Adolph and Ron Johnson by 4-shots.


Now for the real highlight of the weekend – you’re not going to believe this, but the 14th hole was aced three days in a row! This is not an easy hole – it's 175 yards at a minimum, with O.B. left of green and a large bunker covering right side.

Jim Myers was the Friday ace maker in the skins game, collecting some nice coin for his efforts. Rich Givens made the Saturday ace, 195 yards to a back right pin; then Jim Williams makes his on Sunday.

And it gets better. The phenomenal Alameda Commuters Senior host, Bob Blanchard, another of the first timers this weekend, is playing No. 4 on Sunday. After hitting his first shot into the water left of the green –- no shame here, many of us found that hazard during the tourney -- instead of going down to the drop zone, he chooses to re-tee. And you guessed it, he dunks it for a par!!

It gets better.

Bob has been playing golf for nearly 70 years and has never made a hole-in-one. This was technically his first one and surely a shot he will never forget! Glad Bob could join us this year.

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ABOUT THE Merced County Amateur

NCGA points event. 36-hole stroke play event with three flights: Championship, Senior and Super Senior.

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