Courtesy of Pacific Coast Amateur
Following a roller coaster final round, Devon Bling
survived a five-hole playoff to win the Pacific Amateur Championship on Friday at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
Bling, a recent graduate of UCLA, entered the day with a three-shot lead on the field after carding a 9-under 62 in round three, but a final round of 73 left him at 12-under 272 and in a five-man playoff with Dylan Menante
of La Costa, Calif., Joe Highsmith
of Lakewood, Wash., Sam Choi
of Anaheim, Calif. and Walker Lee
of Houston, Texas.
After his stellar 9-under round on Thursday, Bling's final round got off to a shaky start with bogeys on the first two holes. He quickly got back to even with an eagle on the par-5 4th hole but following his sixth bogey of the day on the 17th, he stood at 3-over for the day and was one stroke out of the lead.
He birdied the 18th to join Pepperdine teammates Highsmith and Menante, along with Choi and Walker, at 12-under.
“It feels incredible to come out on top,” said Bling, “I fought all the way to the end and I’m super happy to be able to come out on top.”
Highsmith, who was five back to start the day after a third round 65, closed with a 68 and was the unlikely leader in the clubhouse at 12-under par. With others stumbling, the bucket hat-wearing lefty looked like he might win the tournament outright, but watched Bling and Menante birdie the 18th to reach 12-under.
Lee, a recent graduate of Texas A&M, was struggling mightily and was 2-over on the day as he stood on the 16th tee box. Seemingly out of contention, Lee caught lightening in a bottle and made three straight birdies to close his round to sneak into the playoff at 12-under.
With his putter ice cold, Choi finished with 11 consecutive pars to maintain his position at 12-under.
In the playoff, Bling played steady golf and slowly watched as his competitors fell by the wayside. Lee was eliminated after the first playoff hole, Menante and Choi were eliminated after three playoff holes and Highsmith was ousted after the fifth playoff hole.
“I feel like if I hit solid shots into the middle of the green and give myself looks for birdie, it’s gonna take a lot to beat that,” said Bling on his mindset in the playoff, “my strategy didn’t change, but I knew it was gonna be a grind.”
Bling is the No. 97 ranked amateur in the world (WAGR) and recently finished his senior season on the UCLA Bruins Men’s Golf Team. In 2018 he finished runner-up at the U.S. Amateur. In 2019 he played in the Masters and was one of four amateurs to make the cut.
ABOUT THE Pacific Coast Amateur
Although its present history only dates from
1967, the Pacific Coast
Amateur Championship's roots make it one of
golf championships in American history. The first
held on the links of San Francisco Golf Club at
Presidio, April 24-
27, 1901. Championships were held annually
through 1911, all being
conducted in California except for the 1909
championship, which was
held at Seattle Golf Club in Washington. The
Pacific Coast Amateur
then ceased to exist, only to be reconstituted at
Seattle Golf Club on
August 10-12, 1967 with the Pacific Northwest,
Southern California, Oregon and Arizona golf
Today, 15 member Pacific Rim golf
the Pacific Coast Golf Association. Players can
invited to this 72-
hole stroke play event by their Pacific Coast G.A.
association, or as an individual.
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