What everyone is playing for at La Costa this week (SCGA Twitter photo)
CARLSBAD, CA (June 18, 2018) - The 107th Califonia Amateur Championship teed off at La Costa Resort today, with 156 players completing round one of stroke play qualifying.
Four players – Thomas Hutchison (San Jose), Brad Reeves (Woodbridge), Colt McNealy (Portola Valley), and Tyler Guo (Irvine) – share the first-round lead after rounds of 3-under 69.
They got there in different ways, and none of them had a clean scorecard. Guo, a high schooler at Crean Lutheran, and Reeves, who plays at the University of Arizona, both eagled the par-5 10th hole and made four other birdies. Hutchison, who plays college golf at UC Davis, made six birdies and McNealy, younger brother of former Stanford player Maverick McNealy, made five.
Though the race for medalist honors is tight – a whopping 20 players are within 2 shots of the lead and 32 are within 3 – the real concern for everyone in the field is getting inside the top 32 who will advance to the match play stage after the second stroke play round.
And after round one, no one is safe. Even the low scorers are only three shots above the cut line of even par. In all, 68 players are within three shots of the cut line after round one.
Among those at 2-under 70 are the 1994 champion Steve Woods (Campbell, CA) who, if he were to win this week, would set the record for the longest span between California Amateur victories. Woods won the title at Pebble Beach as a 22-year-old.
If Woods does not win, then the champion will be a first-timer, as there are no other past champions in the field.
In addition to the individual competition, the North/South Challenge is being contested over the first two stroke play rounds. Six-man teams from the NCGA and SCGA are playing for the Roger Lapham Trophy, and after the first round the NCGA leads by three shots (364-367) in the best-5-scores-out-of-6 format.
Daniel Connolly and Eddy Lai led the NCGA team with 1-under 71s, while Hidetoshi Yoshihara shot the same score for the SCGA.
The stroke play qualifying features one round on the Champions Course and one on the Legends Course, after which the field will be cut to the low 32 players for match play. Given all of the players currently in contention, a playoff for the final match play spots is almost a certainty.
ABOUT THE California Amateur
The Championship is open to amateur golfers
who have established current indexes of 4.4
and are members in good standing of the
Southern California Golf Association, the
Northern California Golf Association, or the
Public Links Golf Association of Southern
California. Nonexempt players must qualify. An
entrant may play in only one qualifying event,
belongs to clubs in both Southern California
and Northern California. The 18-hole
rounds will determine the qualifiers.
The championship field will play 36 holes of
qualifying at a Northern or Southern California
Location, with the low 32 golfers from that
combined field moving on to match play (with
playoff, if necessary, to determine the final
Two rounds each of 18-hole match play will
follow on Thursday and Friday and the 36-hole
final match will be on Saturday.
The location will rotate yearly between
Northern and Southern California locations.
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