Blake Bourelle (Taft College photo)
BAKERSFIELD, CA (July 30, 2017) - The final round of the 38th Bakersfield City Amateur golf tournament at Sundale Country Club had a little bit of everything, including a 6-way tie for second place.
Three of those six had a chance to play their way into a playoff, but missed birdie putts on the 18th green.
Blake Bourelle, a 20-year-old Taft College sophomore, made his birdie putt on the par-5 18th, two-putting from 35-feet after reaching the green in two with a 6-iron. The tap-in birdie putt put Bourelle at 4-under-par for the tournament, shooting a final round 4-under-par 68.
He then watched as Jared Kinoshita, Mark Pavletich and Warren Miller all missed their birdie putts to try to force a playoff.
“I was nervous watching them all putt, but I knew that at least I would be in a playoff if one of them made birdie,” said Bourelle, who qualified for the JC Southern Cal Regional Championship this year. “I didn’t know where I stood after finishing, so we (his father and caddy Scott) went back down the 18th fairway ,and then I found out they were all at three under.”
Kinoshita, playing in the group in front of Miller and Pavletich was first to try to force a playoff, but his 6-footer slid a bit right. “Just misread the putt,” said Kinoshita, who shot 1-over-par 73 after a 68 on Saturday.
Miller and Pavletich were next, but Pavletich elected to lay-up with his second on the 18th while Miller just made it over the water but short of the green. Pavletich hit his lobwedge to 20-feet while Miller chipped to around 12.
“I didn’t know that Blake finished at 4-under,” said Pavletich. “We (he and Miller) knew he doubled 15, so we thought he was at three under. We knew Ruffie (Fessler) and Beau (Van Sickle) were both at two under. Had I known he finished at four I probably would have gone for it.”
Pavletich’s birdie try just slid by on the right and then Miller missed his try and Bourelle was the champion.
“I didn’t know for sure, but I kind of knew I had to make it,” said Miller. “I actually thought I made it when I hit it, but it just didn’t break like I thought and it ended up just behind the hole. But I’m happy for Blake. I know he works hard at his game so he deserves it.”
Fessler and Van Sickle, who completed the final group, both made birdie to join the log jam at three-under 141. In fact, all four in the final group shot 4-over-par 74s after all shot 5-under-par 67s in the first round.
“Yeah, no one could get it going and we all just plodded along,” said Miller. “I made a birdie on No. 2, gave it back on No. 6 and then just didn’t play well on the back coming in.”
“This is the fourth time I have played in this tournament and I’ve always wanted to win it,” said Bourelle. “I was five back starting today but I played my way into it and then it didn’t look good after the double at 15. But I was able to get two (birdies) coming in and it was enough. I’m just really happy right now and my Dad, who was my caddy, is really excited, too.”
With the win, Bourelle earned 30 points in the Michelob Ultra/Dick’s Sporting Goods Player of the Year series.
Since this is the first event, he will now lead the six players who tied for second by three points as all will receive 27 points.
Brian Edick was eighth at 142 (9 points) while Brandon Harris and Anderson tied for 9th and will each get six points.
Terry Kerley, who shot a final-round 71 after a 70 on Saturday, was the sixth player at 3-under-par 141, but he added a bit of strangeness to the event when he elected to forgo the senior’s title in favor of a third-place finish in the championship flight after a card-off.
“Terry had to leave right after the tournament and he said that he would take whichever paid the most,” said Bourelle. “He got more for third in the championship, so he gave up the senior win.”
The benefactor of that was Scott Anderson, who shot 70-73 for a 1-under 143 total and was crowned senior champion.
The President’s Flight winner was Jeff Biggar who finished at net 136 after gross rounds of 75 and 77, five strokes clear of Aaron Ellis.
A total of 100 players competed and the net proceeds will benefit Kern Child Abuse Prevention.
-- By Robert Gautney For The Californian and Bakersfield.com