Josh McCarthy (NCGA photo)
Another top seed fell, and the brackets suddenly took on a distinct SoCal flavor as play continued Thursday with the Round of 16 at this week’s California Amateur Championship on the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
A day after No. 1 seed Sean Yu was sent home, No. 2 seed Thomas Hutchison was ousted, courtesy of a 5-and-4 loss to No. 18 Josh McCarthy. McCarthy, a senior at Pepperdine, grabbed a 2-up lead through three thanks to a pair of birdies and never looked back.
Following yet another McCarthy birdie on the par-3 10th, the lead mushroomed to 4 up. Hutchison, who like McCarthy is a former Player of the Year on the Junior Tour of Northern California circuit, got one hole back with a win on the ensuing 11th. But McCarthy, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 Cal Am at the Olympic Club, slammed the door shut with a birdie win on the par-5 13th and a par win on No.14.
“I got off to a good start. I was hitting my irons close and got a good grip on the match early on,” McCarthy said.
Next up for the left-handed McCarthy will be a quarterfinals showdown with Cal-Berkeley freshman to be Kento Yamawaki. The No. 10 seeded Yamawaki, a former star at La Costa Canyon High, had the big win of the day, a 7 and 6 waxing of No.26 Joey Vrzich. Vrzich didn’t exactly help his own cause, as he’d go 4 over through the 12 holes.
In another quarterfinals tilt, No.3 seed Christian Banke will take on No.6 Devon Bling. Banke, a Danville resident who plays at San Diego State, knocked out Granite Bay’s Gary Dunn, 3 and 1. Bling, meanwhile, went back-and-forth with University of Washington sophomore Noah Woolsey before emerging with a 1-up victory.
Dunn, who at 44 was the oldest player left in the brackets, had a 1-up lead through six, but Banke then won the next three holes.
In the Bling-Woolsey match, Woolsey took a 2-up lead through 10 after he stiffed his tee shot on the par-3 to within a few feet of the flagstick. Bling cut the lead to 1-up with a win on No.12, but Woolsey went back to 2-up with a win on No.14.
Bling, who played in the recent U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, never flinched. The UCLA sophomore would birdie the final four holes to come back and shock Woolsey, who went 1-under over the final four holes.
On the other side of the brackets, it’s all SoCal players. The quarterfinals there will see No.32 seed Ramiz Jamal taking on No.24 William Mouw and No.4 Cameron Sisk facing No.5 Caden Fioroni.
Jamal, who plays at UC Irvine, kept his run going with a tough 1-up win over Olympic Club member Jason Anthony. For the second straight day, Jamal would seal his win via a clutch putt on the closing 18th. Against Anthony, he’d drain a 25-foot birdie putt to match Anthony’s birdie and close out the victory.
“The 18th green has been very nice to me,” said Jamal, who eliminated the No.1 Yu in the Round of 32 via what had appeared to be an impossible 70-footer. “Both Jason and were trying to find our game’s out there.”
Mouw, who’ll begin playing at Pepperdine this Fall, was another one of the day’s big winners. He’d eliminate No.25 Sam Kim, 5 and 3, Trailing by a hole through No.5, Mouw went on a tear, winning holes No.6 through No.9 thanks in part to a pair of birdies. On the back-nine, Mouw carded two more birdie wins to seal the deal.
Sisk shot 63 through 17 holes in knocking out No. 13 Zihao Jin. Fioroni had to go to the 19th hole to get past No.21 Logan Lowe.
Six of the eight quarterfinalists have SoCal ties.
The par-5 9th had numerous victories of its own. For the day, the hole played at 5-over with one X-out.
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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