O'Donnell tops defending champ for Santa Cruz City title
Mike O'Donnell (Santa Cruz Sentinel photo)
Mike O'Donnell (Santa Cruz Sentinel photo)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (Aug. 12, 2018) – Mike O’Donnell overtook defending champion Ben Peters at the Santa Cruz City Championship as both players made a come-from-behind bid in Sunday’s final round. O’Donnell had a one-shot edge to start the day, and when the two tied at even-par 70 in the final round, O’Donnell came out on top.

O’Donnell, of Chico, Calif., opened with 3-over 73 at DeLaveaga Golf Course, and trailed six players. There were five more tied with him on that number. The crowd ahead of him thinned out as O’Donnell climbed the leaderboard with his second-round even-par effort.

O’Donnell had three bogeys and three birdies in the final round. He made a left-to-right breaking 10-footer for birdie on No. 15 and a 30-footer on No. 17 for his final-round 70. Peters, who opened with 74, was right behind him. O’Donnell finished with 3-over 143 for the tournament while Peters was at 4-over 144.

“After the first round I thought I was kind of out it, to be honest,” O’Donnell, a 37-year-old financial adviser and former player for UC Davis, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “I thought I’d have to shoot mid-60s today. But the scores were really high yesterday, like over par was the leader. The course played tough; pins were tucked, greens were firm.”

Peters, who won the 53rd NCGA Public Links Championship at Poppy Hills Golf Course in late April, finished with six birdies and six bogeys in his final round. Bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 ultimately kept him from repeating as champion.

“It is what it is,” Peters told the Sentinel. “I worked hard to get back in position today. I just didn’t get it done at the end. It sucks, but it’s also fun to be able to keep yourself in it for the most part. That was one of my main goals today. The most I’m disappointed about is making bogey, bogey.”

Peters and O’Donnell have a history of going head-to-head. Peters beat O’Donnell in a playoff to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall in Elverson, Pa. The Santa Cruz City was a little bit of redemption for O’Donnell.

The only player to shoot a round under par was Chico State’s Serge Kiriluk. He had a final-round 67, but his first-round 78 had left him too far back to contend. Kiriluk finished third, one shot behind Peters. This is the second consecutive year he has finished third.

Mike Loustalot won the senior title at 12-over 152 while Rich Gleghorn was the top Super Senror at 7-over 147. Sarah Garcia and Vanessa Watkins tied for first in the women’s division before Watkins won on the first hole of a playoff.

Information from the Santa Cruz Sun Sentinel used in this report

Results: Santa Cruz City
1CAMike O'DonnellChico, CA7573-70=143
2CABen PetersRedwood City, CA5074-70=144
3CASerge KirilukSonora, CA2578-67=145
T4CACameron HenryLos Gatos, CA2575-71=146
T4CADeane RinaldiSanta Cruz, CA2571-75=146

View full results for Santa Cruz City

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36-hole stroke play championship with open, senior, super senior and women's divisions. NCGA points event.

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