San Francisco City champion Charles Porter (AmateurGolf.com photo by Pete Wlodkowski)
It was Charles in charge today at the San Francisco City Championship.
San Francisco native Charles Porter -- who will turn 21 in March -- gave himself an early birthday present with a 7-and-5 victory over Domingo Jojola of Carmichael at TPC Harding Park, which will host the PGA Championship in May.
The left-handed Jojola, 33, hung tough in the morning match as Porter made up for missing fairways with his driver by holing several long par saving putts. The morning session turned in Porter's favor on No. 15. After bombing a drive into the rough short-siding his approach into the tucked-left flag, Porter chipped in for birdie to go 2-up. He then took advantage of Jojola's tee shot into the trees left on No. 18 with a steady par to take a 3-up lead into the afternoon.
It was all Porter on the second 18, where a change in strategy off the tee made all the difference.
"I had a game plan [in the afternoon] because he is such a good player that I wanted to hit fairways and give myself putts for birdie," said Porter. "And it worked well."
So well, in fact, that after the 5th hole of the afternoon match, Porter was 5-up and seemingly out of reach. But back-to-back wins by Jojola kept things interesting until the par-3 8th hole, where Jojola got back to 4-up. From there, cruise-control set in with a final blow on the par-5 12th hole, where Porter hit his second shot to a closely-mown area over the green, then deftly pitched to four feet and made birdie while Jojola failed to get up-and-down from the bunker.
The match would end on No. 13, with Porter making a steady par to win 7-and-5.
Asked how much more fun watching the PGA might be in May, Porter smiled and joked, "Can I get in?"
Maybe some day. But for now it's back to Napa Valley College, where Porter is a member of the golf team.
Emily Hou (Pete Wlodkowski photo)
Emily Hou, playing in her first City Championship, followed in the footsteps of Dougherty High School (San Ramon) teammate Danielle Suh, the 2019 Women's champion.
While Suh lost in the first round, Hou, 15, went through opponent after opponent -- including an 8th grader Leigh Chien who gave her a tough test in the semi-finals -- before outlasting Andrea Gomez of Santa Clara in today's final match.
"She was one of the first to text me after the match today," said Hou.
Gomez played steady golf all day, often matching her younger opponent shot for shot as the two battled into the third nine of the 36-hole final. The turning point for Hou came on No. 10, when she was faced with an uphill third shot of 155 yards, while her opponent had just 100 yards in.
After launching a mid-iron to within 8 feet of the back-right hole location, Hou drained the putt with the pin in, as both she and her opponent did all day. Hou followed with another birdie on the par-3 11th, cashing in a solid pin-high tee shot with a 15-foot birdie putt.
She stayed 3-up through No. 15 (when a three putt gave Gomez an opening) but closed the door on No. 16 after saving par from a tough lie in the penalty area on the left. After chopping out of some spinach, Hou deftly chipped to 4 feet and won the match 3-and-2 when Gomez missed her comeback par putt after charging for a birdie.
In the Women's Inskter Flight, Aman Sangha won a close final match, defeating Mika Lin on the 19th hole.
SENIOR, SUPER-SENIOR DIVISIONS
Defending champ Jim Knoll (Sunnyvale) took a commanding 4-up lead into the back nine in his scheduled 18-hole final match against Larry Salk and never looked back, winning the match 5-and-4. For the 67-year-old Knoll, known to California senior golfers for his informative tournament-related email updates, it was business as usual all day. Steady ball striking, finding fairways and greens and relying on the putter as necessary.
His opponent had seen just about enough of Knoll's putting after it caught fire on the front nine.
"I might give up one of my kids to putt like he did on the front nine," joked Salk as the duo walked up the 10th fairway.
Herb Jensen of Carmichael won the Super-Senior division over David Bosley of Fairfield, 2-and-1, while Soran Lim of Villa Park made her trip to northern California pay off with a close win over Kelly Simpson (Dublin) for the Women's Senior title, 1-up.
In the Venturi Flight, Christian Quint defeated Ken Harrington in a tight match that ended on the 19th hole.
The Susko Flight final also went to an extra hole, with Abi Vickram prevailing over Guillermo Barton.
Frederick Meiswinkel won the Archer Flight by a 3-and-2 margin over Enrico Diaz.
Rod Kho won the Ward Flight, defeating Jay Chatfield 1up.
Untrue to form, San Francisco rain hardly played a part in the tournament after the driest February since 1864. But mother nature dished out plenty of wind during the tournament, enough to suspend matches at Lincoln Park in the middle of the month when limbs being knocked out of trees made being on the course dangerous.
Since its return to glory under the guidance of former USGA President Sandy Tatum, Harding Park has been a favorite of "SF City" players. But this year was better than ever, as the course is getting in major-ready condition with the PGA Championship coming in May. The fairways are half of their normal width.
"Fortunately," noted tournament chairman Mike Miller, "it's been a dry February so they have been able to mow the rough."
ABOUT THE San Francisco City Championship
*An NCGA Points Tournament*
players will have first chance to register.
They will be emailed an access code to register, and
registration for these players will open before
registration opens for all other
Exempt players may email
request an access code.
* The past 10 years of the San Francisco City Golf
* 2023 San Francisco City Men’s Championship
Match Play Qualifiers
* Top 20 men’s 2022-2023 NCGA Points Lists
* 2023 NCGA Champions (Amateur, Mid-Amateur,
* 2023 USGA Event Qualifiers (Amateur, Mid-
Once trhe exempt player registration period ends,
open to all players with a handicap index of 6.4
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 8, 2024.
Players entering pre-qualifying will pay an entry fee
of $150 for the pre-qualifier, and those
advancing from the pre-qualifier will pay the
of the entry fee (must be
paid prior to playing).
The 36-hole match play qualifier will be held March
9-10, 2024, with
18 holes played at TPC Harding Park and 18 holes at
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
player must be present in order to retain his
to participate in the playoff.
Match play will begin on March 16, 2024. All
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
A schedule of all dates of
play can be found on the tournament website
ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY
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
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.
View Complete Tournament Information