Peterson finds his inner fire in winning San Francisco City
Evan Peterson (foreground) and Jason Anthony (Mike Benham, for AmateurGolf.com)
Evan Peterson (foreground) and Jason Anthony (Mike Benham, for AmateurGolf.com)

Days before they met in the 36-hole final of the San Francisco City Championship, Evan Peterson ran into Jason Anthony after their respective first-round matches at TPC Harding Park. Peterson, a redshirt junior on the St. Mary’s team, had been off the course for some time after defeating his first-round opponent, 7 and 5.

Post-round, Peterson expressed some remorse for ending another player’s day so quickly. Anthony, the 35-year-old defending champion, gave some sage but simple advice: Don’t worry about it, just step on him.

“I kept playing well – better and better throughout the weekend,” Peterson said of his game before laughing about his next encounter with Anthony. “After yesterday, he was like, ‘Just don’t do that to me.’”

Peterson didn’t let up in his 36-hole showdown with the defending champion, but Anthony didn’t make it easy. With both men playing well, the match was competitive well into the afternoon round.

Peterson took an early lead on the second 18 – building his advantage to as much as 5 up by the fifth hole – before losing the tee on No. 6 with a bogey. He didn’t get the tee back again until No. 13.

It was the kind of day where the caliber of golf was celebrated – by both players. When Peterson dropped long putt on No. 12, Anthony fist bumped him before hitting his own shot.

Ultimately, Anthony just ran out of holes against the collegian. Peterson chipped in for par on 13, the two tied 14 and then Anthony conceded on the 15th, giving Peterson a 5-and-3 victory.

“He’s a great guy, awesome competitor,” Peterson said of Anthony, a familiar face even before this week. Both players are members at Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield, Calif.

For Peterson, the San Francisco City title is the biggest win of his career. He has spent the past few seasons gunning for a recurring role in the St. Mary’s lineup, but has only made roughly half a dozen starts with the team in his time there.

“I have a year left to play next year. This will hopefully be the jumping point I need to start playing well,” Peterson said.

TPC Harding Park is roughly 45 minutes from campus, and while St. Mary’s coach Scott Hardy couldn’t be on the grounds Sunday – he sent an inspirational text instead – Peterson’s dad was. He caddied for his son over the weekend, getting a front-row seat to a master performance.

Peterson is a student of the game in every sense, ticking off winners of this event from Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward to Cody Blick and Martin Trainer. The latter won a PGA Tour event last month, which gives Peterson hope.

“I could be that,” he said. “I could be there.”

Peterson learned to be a strong match-play competitor during league play at Central Valley as well as in high-school matches. The way he put words to that skill on Sunday night gave a window into his work at Harding Park.

“I’m a good stroke-play player but match play I’ve always excelled in because I see my opponent and I can rise to the occasion better,” Peterson explained. “It’s a mindset that I need to adapt more into my stroke-play game. . . When it’s match play and I know and see the one guy I’m playing with? You have to beat me so beat me – otherwise I’m going to bury you.”

Danielle Suh
Danielle Suh
• • •

In the women's division, also contested at TPC Harding Park, it was a similar marathon for eventual winner Danielle Suh. The 17-year-old San Francisco native called the City title the first major amateur win of her career.

It took two extra holes, but Suh eventually defeated Aman Sangha on the 38th hole of the day on Sunday.

Before her marathon final match, Suh had also gone 16 holes in Saturday morning's quarterfinals and 17 holes in that afternoons semifinal match. Needless to say, it was a long weekend for Suh, but completely worth it.

Results: San Francisco City Championship
WinCAEvan PetersonClovis, CA180
Runner-upCAJason AnthonyFairfield, CA120
SemifinalsCAAnthony VernaOrinda, CA80
SemifinalsCABobby BuceyConcord, CA80
QuarterfinalsCATravis PetersonSanta Rosa, CA50

View full results for San Francisco City Championship

ABOUT THE San Francisco City Championship


*An NCGA Points Tournament*

**Entry procedure for 2023: Exempt players will have first chance to register. They will be emailed an access code to register, and registration for these players opens on January 3. Registration opens for all other players on January 15.

Exempt players may email results@amateurgolf.com to request an access code.

Exemption categories:

* The past 10 years of the San Francisco City Golf Champions
* 2022 San Francisco City Men’s Championship Match Play Qualifiers
* Top 20 men’s 2021-2022 NCGA Points Lists
* 2022 NCGA Champions (Amateur, Mid-Amateur, Junior)
* 2022 USGA Event Qualifiers (Amateur, Mid- Amateur, Junior)

On January 15 at 8:00 am, registration will open to all players with a handicap index of 6.4 or lower as of the date of entry, and will remain open until the field limit (120 players) is reached. When the field limit is reached, all additional entrants will pre-qualify at Presidio Golf Club on Friday, March 10, 2023.

Players entering pre-qualifying will pay an entry fee of $150 for the pre-qualifier, and those advancing from the pre-qualifier will pay an additional $225 (must be paid prior to playing).

The 36-hole match play qualifier will be held March 11-12, 2023, with 18 holes played at TPC Harding Park and 18 holes at Presidio Golf Course for a combined 36-hole qualifying score.

There will be 156 players in the qualifying round with 64 players advancing to match play. When all qualifying has been completed, the Men’s Championship Flight will consist of 64 contestants. In the event of a playoff to qualify for match play, a player must be present in order to retain his right to participate in the playoff.

Match play will begin on March 18, 2023. All match play for the Championship Flight will be held at TPC Harding Park.

The use of carts is prohibited for players and caddies in the Men’s Championship Flight (Appendix I – Local Rule Applies)

A schedule of all dates of play can be found on the tournament website sfgolfchampionship.com.

The oldest municipal tournament in the USA. Match play event with scratch men's, senior men’s, women's, senior women’s, and open flight divisions. Past champions include Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward, Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg, George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin. Some of the “non winners” include Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the “history” tab for more about this wonderful event.

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