Finalists Shintaro Ban (left) and Isaiah Salinda
PEBBLE BEACH, California (August 17, 2017) -- Shintaro Ban and Isaiah Salinda are no strangers to one another, having routinely competed against each other in the West Catholic Athletic League during their high school days.
Now, the two will face each other for the NCGA’s ultimate prize.
Ban, now a senior at UNLV, and Salinda, a junior at Stanford, each punched their tickets to Friday’s 36-hole final of this week’s annual NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship after yet another grueling day at Spyglass Hill.
Looking to become the first back-to-back champion since John Catlin (2010-2011), the No. 3 seeded Ban moved on with a 1 up win over Matt Cohn in the quarterfinals, followed by a 2&1 victory over No. 7 Daniel Connolly. In the match against Cohn, Ban trailed for 10 holes, and didn't take the lead until a birdie on the par-3 15th. Against Connolly, he fell behind two holes through seven.
Having won last year, however, Ban knew he just had to hang in there.
“It’s a grind. It kind of hit me today….the fatigue,” said Ban, who birdied the 11th and 15th holes to shake off Connolly. “I know it’s a long week. You can’t ever get ahead of yourself. You just have to stay in the moment.”
The No. 2 seed was sent packing, while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds marched on.
Stanford senior Bradley Knox, the No. 2 seed, saw his run end when No. 7 Daniel Connolly eagled the 19th hole (the par-5 1st) to dramatically end their match.
Defending champion Shintaro Ban, the No. 3 seed, also had a tight match. The UNLV senior had to come back from a two-hole deficit before finally edging No. 11 Matt Cohn. All square through 14 holes, Ban finally grabbed a 1 up lead with a birdie on the par-3 15th. He and Cohn, the 2015 runner-up, went on to halve the remaining three holes.
Also squeaking out a win was No. 4 Isaiah Salinda. Salinda, a junior at Stanford, knocked out No. 28 Jason Anthony, 2&1. The pair were all square through 14 before Salinda won with a birdie and par on 15 and 16. Anthony entered the event leading in the points standings for NCGA Player of the Year honors.
Bryan Baumgarten, a sophomore at the University of Illinois, didn’t sweat as much. The Granite Bay GC member won his quarterfinals match over Jesse Bratz, 5&4.
Related: NCGA Match Play: Ban and Anthony Advance, Tilly Upset
ABOUT THE NCGA Match Play
The oldest of the NCGA’s major events, the Amateur
Match Play Championship, dates back to 1903 when
was first played at San Rafael GC. Varying formats
been used over the 100+ years of competition but
the tournament is 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying,
followed by a 32-person seeded match play bracket.
Pre-qualifying required for non-exempt players.
must have a handicap index of 5.4 or less.
View Complete Tournament Information