2018 Pacific Coast Amateur Champion Isaiah Salinda
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (July 27, 2018) — Playing at The Olympic Club against a field of the top amateur players in the game, Stanford golfer Isaiah Salinda
was able to keep his composure, taking home the biggest victory of his golf career.
Tying the all-time course record in round three, Salinda entered the day with a three shot lead over red hot Oklahoma State golfer Austin Eckroat, and with Isaiah’s friend and former Stanford teammate Bradley Knox on the bag, Salinda grinded together a 1-over-par final round that was good enough for 13-under for the tournament (71-67-62-72=272), edging out Eckroat by one shot.
“It feels awesome,” offered the 2018 Pacific Coast Amateur Champion following his round. “It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet…It was really close all day and I was just trying to hold on and I just barely did. I’m pretty stoked.”
At points it looked like Eckroat might catch Salinda, as on No. 12 when Eckroat rolled in a birdie after Salinda was forced to pitch out from a tough spot after missing his tee shot right, resulting in a bogey for the Stanford player and ultimately a two shot swing in Eckroat’s favor. But each time Salinda missed the green and seemed like he might lose his edge, he was able to muster up some short game wizardry and save par when he needed to. And only winning by one shot, he needed every one of those pars en route to the title.
When the South San Francisco native made birdie on No. 16 to push his lead back to the three stroke margin that he entered the day with, and barring a blowup on his final two holes, many spectators believed that the tournament was his for the taking.
“I had a pretty good idea (of where I stood on 16.) I asked my caddy if anyone in front of us took it low or if I needed to do something special or if it was just between me and the other two guys in my group. The birdie on 16 was pretty big.”
Eckroat wouldn’t let him off the hook without a sweat though, making a birdie to a Salinda par on No. 17 to bring the gap back to two. The OSU Cowboy played first, leaving himself a ten-foot right-to-left breaker for a birdie. Salinda mis-hit his approach, leaving a tough chip shot from short right, fortunately missing the world famous I.O.U. bunkers by a hair. Favorably for Salinda who wound up closing with a bogey, Eckroat wasn’t able to convert his birdie and the local player took a one-shot win.
Interestingly enough, Salinda himself thought his lead was slimmer, believing that the bogey jeopardized his potential victory.
“I asked him before he hit his first putt, ‘Do you know where you stand?’,” said his caddy Knox. “He tells me, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it’…and he misses it top edge and rolls it right by. Then he comes up to me after and asks, ‘That was to win outright wasn’t it?’”
Fortunately for Salinda, he had another stroke in his pocket.
His caddy Knox, who had a solid collegiate career himself in his four years at Stanford, seemed to be a good fit for the champ, the two enjoying laughs together throughout the week regardless of where the ball was ending up. Hopefully we will see more of the duo in the future.
“It’s a lot different playing with the lead.” said Knox. “He was a little bit more tense. I just had to keep on talking to him and trying to loosen him up because unless you get off to a great start, you’re going to be fighting with the people behind you the entire time. He held it together really well.”
Next up for Isaiah Salinda will be the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, where he will look again to show that he can beat the best of the best and should be in the 2019 Walker Cup Team conversation.
ABOUT THE Pacific Coast Amateur
Although its present history only dates from
1967, the Pacific Coast
Amateur Championship's roots make it one of
golf championships in American history. The first
held on the links of San Francisco Golf Club at
Presidio, April 24-
27, 1901. Championships were held annually
through 1911, all being
conducted in California except for the 1909
championship, which was
held at Seattle Golf Club in Washington. The
Pacific Coast Amateur
then ceased to exist, only to be reconstituted at
Seattle Golf Club on
August 10-12, 1967 with the Pacific Northwest,
Southern California, Oregon and Arizona golf
Today, 15 member Pacific Rim golf
the Pacific Coast Golf Association. Players can
invited to this 72-
hole stroke play event by their Pacific Coast G.A.
association, or as an individual.
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