There were a few blowouts and a Cinderella story in the works as the Round of 16 of this week’s California Amateur Championship concluded Thursday at The Preserve GC in Carmel Valley.
In the big win department, No. 24 seed Youssef Guezzale
knocked out No. 8 Evan Chien
via a 7 and 5 victory. A junior at San Diego State, Guezzale rolled to a quick 6-up lead through nine holes thanks in part to a front nine 31. It didnt’ hurt that Guezzale won holes 5-9 in succession. Also making statements were No. 2 seed Noah Woolsey, who defeated Matt Cohn
, 5 and 3, and No. 4 seed Wes Payne
, who moved on with a 5 and 3 win over Domingo Jojola
Woolsey, a senior at the University of Washington, went 6-under through the first 10 holes to build a 5-up lead. On the 11th, Cohn, who at age 40 was the oldest player left in the field, made bogey, bumping Woolsey’s lead to 6-up. Payne, the runner-up at last year’s NCGA Amateur Championship, birdied the opening 1st and 8th holes to eventually build a 3-up lead over Jojola. Two more birdies on the 12th and 13th holes, and Payne had taken a commanding 5-up lead.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals was No. 32 seed Tommy Stephenson
. Stephenson, a junior at Fresno State who hails from Carlsbad, came back from an early two-hole deficit to eventually tie No. 16 seed Alex Chin
. The two eventually went to the 19th hole (par-4 1st), where Stephenson won with a birdie. Chin, who plays at the University of San Francisco, won NCGA Player of the Year honors in 2020.
Two matches that went to the wire were No. 3 Connor Nolan
defeating Devon Bling
, 1-up and No. 27 Thomas Hutchison
knocking out No. 11 Kevin Sze
of Saratoga (1-up) and No. 10 Charlie Reiter
of Palm Desert (4 and 2). A sophomore at University of San Diego, Reiter will next face Woolsey in Friday morning’s quarterfinals. Other quarterfinals matches will see Stephenson vs. Guezzale, Payne vs. Sze and Nolan vs. Hutchison.
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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