Brooke Riley is the California Women's Amateur Champion
Brooke Riley (L) has a long way to go to catch Hall-of-Famer and five-time major<br>winner Amy Alcott (R), but putting her name on the California Women's Amateur<br>trophy is a good start (CWAC photo)
Brooke Riley (L) has a long way to go to catch Hall-of-Famer and five-time major
winner Amy Alcott (R), but putting her name on the California Women's Amateur
trophy is a good start (CWAC photo)

CARMEL, CA (July 29, 2017) - In her California Women’s Amateur Championship debut in 2016, Brooke Riley had a spot in the match play brackets but never did anything. Instead she withdrew to go tee off in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. This time she not only stuck around but ended up walking away with the big prize.

A 19-year-old sophomore at Northwestern, the No.3 seeded Riley won the title at this year’s annual CWAC Women’s Amateur, defeating runner-up Ziyi Wang of Beijing 2 and 1 in Saturday’s 18-hole final at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Riley, who joins the likes of World Golf Hall of Famers Amy Alcott and Juli Inkster as champions of the event. “The field had some amazing names and the trophy has some amazing names on it.”

The four-time Valley Oak League MVP at East Union High School, who hadn’t trailed in any match since the Round of 16, again put her foot on the gas pedal and never let up. A birdie on the opening par-5 1st and par wins on hole Nos. 3, 5 and 8 gave her a quick 4-up lead.

But it was match play, where anything can happen. Still 4-up through the 12th hole, Wang, a sophomore at Stanford, first made things interesting with a two-putt par win on the 13th after Riley missed the green in regulation. Following a halve on the par-5 14th, Wang’s second shot on the par-5 15th headed straight for a pine tree. Miraculously, it never hit a branch, leading to a crucial birdie to cut the lead to just 2-up. Riley had again missed the green in regulation, leading to a par.

“Even though I lost that hole, I told myself that I had to just win one more hole,” said Riley, who picked up golf at the age of 12 from her grandfather.”

For the No.8 Wang, meanwhile, there was still hope. “I knew it would get through the tree. But it was close,” Wang said.

On the ensuing 16th hole, the door opened a bit further for Wang when Riley missed her 4-foot par putt. Wang, however, would see her 3-foot par putt lip out.

The two halved the par-3 17th with pars. Wang again had a chance to push it further, but her 16-foot birdie try missed.

“On 17, I was really focused on the tee shot. I just wanted to make sure I cleared the bunkers,” Riley said.”The whole week was such a grind.”

For Wang, meanwhile, it was also another week of learning. On both Friday and Saturday, the 19-year-old’s caddie was Stanford Mechanical Engineering emeritus professor Dennis Carter. The two met at last year’s Cardinal team/club event.

“I hit the ball as well as I did yesterday. I just didn’t putt as well,” Wang said. “I still had a great week. This gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Alcott, who won the title in 1973, was on hand to help present Riley the trophy afterwards.

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ABOUT THE California Women's Amateur

The California Women’s Amateur Championship was founded in 1967 and played at Pebble Beach Golf Links until 1987 when the Championship was invited to Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, where it was played through 2019.

36-hole stroke play qualifying round, 18 holes each day, to determine 32 players for match play. Prizes will be awarded to the Champion, Runner-up, Semifinalists, Quarterfinalists and the 36-hole Low Gross Medalist from qualifying rounds.

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