Stephen Hale wins the Southern California Mid-Am
Stephen Hale (SCGA photo)
Persistency finally paid off for Stephen Hale on Tuesday as the former Cal standout claimed the SCGA Mid-Amateur championship in a three-hole aggregate playoff on Tuesday at the Victoria Club in Riverside, Calif.
Hale fired a final round 6-under 66 to finish at 8-under 205 for his three rounds to earn a spot in a playoff with a pair of heavyweights in five-time SCGA Mid-Amateur Champion Tim Hogarth (North Hills) and defending champion Torrey Edwards. After the three players parred the first two playoff holes, Hale drained a 25-foot putt from the fringe for birdie on the par-5 18th hole and when Edwards’ misfired on a 15-foot birdie putt that would have extended the match, the Bakersfield native laid claim to his first-ever SCGA title.
Edwards began the final round three strokes off the pace of second-round leader Hogarth but rattled off four straight birdies on holes, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to take a one stroke lead en route to a closing round 65.
Hogarth's red-hot inward nine featured birdies on 10, 14 and 15 and narrowly missed a bid for a third straight birdie on No. 16. Hogarth dropped back into a tie with Edwards after a pulled drive into the water on No. 17 led to a bogey. One stroke back at 7-under heading into the final hole, Hale birdied the 18th to move into a tie for the lead at 8-under and watched anxiously as Hogarth’s birdie putt for the outright win came up just short, sending the trio into three-hole aggregate playoff.
After the three players carded pars on the first two playoff holes, Hale drained a 25-foot putt from the fringe for birdie on the par-5 18th hole and when Edwards’ misfired on a 15-foot birdie putt that would have extended the match, the Bakersfield native laid claim to his first-ever SCGA title.
Hogarth’s poor drive led to a bogey on the third playoff hole, leaving center stage to Hale and Edwards. After Hale rolled in his 25-footer from the fringe for birdie and Edwards’ birdie attempt missed on the right side, the 32-year-old was in possession of one of Southern California’s most-coveted amateur titles.
The victory was a long-time coming for Hale, who reached the final 32 in last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur and was medalist at the 2020 California State Amateur.
ABOUT THE SCGA Mid-Amateur
The SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship is open to
members ages 25 and older with a Handicap Index
of 5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes of
qualifying play in order to reach the final field of 84
players. In the Championship, players compete over
54 holes of stroke play with the top 42 players and
ties advancing after 36 holes to the final round.
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