Jason Anthony will look for his second City championship this weekend
The San Francisco City Championships, one of the longest consecutively contested amateur tournaments in America which dates back to 1917, enters its final weekend of match play starting on Saturday at TPC Harding Park.
The quarterfinals and semifinals of the men's championship division will be contested on Saturday with the title match scheduled for Sunday morning. The women's semifinals will be held on Saturday with the winners advancing to Sunday's championship match. Both finals are scheduled for 36 holes.
Additionally, champions will be crowned on Sunday in the men's senior and super senior divisions.
Men's Championship Division
There are no lightweights remaining in the men's championship division, just 8 battled-tested and somewhat weary golfers who are still standing after two rounds of qualifying along with the three rounds of matches, all jammed into the last two weekends. Welcome to the City.
The top of the bracket will feature quarterfinal matches between No. 49 seed Andrew McDonald
and No. 8 seed Garett Wagner
, with the winner advancing to the semifinals against the winner of the match between No. 36 Luis Terraza
No. 12 Justin Polk.
McDonald, who knocked out medalist and former champion Daniel Connolly in the round of 32, is the highest seed remaining in the tournament while City veteran Wagner is making his third appearance in the round of 16.
The opposite side of the bracket will see a heavyweight quarterfinal match between No. 2 seed Amol Mahal
, who played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara, and veteran mid-amateur Jason Anthony
, the No. 7 seed who is no stranger to deep runs in The City. Anthony won the event in 2018, reached the finals in 2019 and was medalist last year.
"The San Francisco City is such an amazing tournament," said Anthony, who reached the semifinals of the prestigious Crump Cup in September. "It's the only other tournament besides the USGA championships that I know of that has a match play field of 64 players. To win six matches to take home the trophy is truly an accomplishment."
Anthony is well aware of the grind that awaits him this weekend if he reaches the final.
"Having gone through the 72 hole grind in 2018 and '19, I know I’m in for a physical and mental challenge," said the 2018 City champion. "It is very challenging to stay focused during the duration of all the matches and one mental slip can cost you the momentum in the match.
"But what I love and look forward to more than anything is the competition, it’s one on one may the best man win, and hopefully I’m left holding the trophy at the end of the day Sunday, but I have a great amount of work ahead."
The winner of the Mahal-Anthony match will advance to Saturday afternoon's semifinals against either No. 30 seed Clayton Farris
or No. 22 Drew Bender
, who played collegiately at Pacific.
Quarterfinals; Nov. 13
No. 49 Andrew McDonald (Pacifica, Calif.) vs. No. 8 Garett Wagner (Brentwood, Calif.); 7:00 a.m.
No. 36 Louis Terraza (Santa Rosa, Calif.) vs. No. 12 Justin Polk (Santa Clara, Calif.); 7:00 a.m.
No. 2 Amol Mahal (San Mateo, Calif.) vs. No. 7 Jason Anthony (Fairfield, Calif.); 7:18 a.m.
No. 30 Clayton Farris (Sebastapol, Calif.) vs. No. 22 Drew Bender (San Francisco); 7:27 a.m.
Saturday afternoon; TBA
Championship Match (36 holes)
Sunday, Nov. 14; 7:30 a.m.
Women's Championship Division
Three of the players still alive in the women's championship flight are high school sophomores while the fourth played three years of collegiate golf at the University of San Francisco.
Top-seed Kylee Choi
will meet No. 5 seed Amy Na
, with the winner advancing to Sunday's championship match against either No. 2 seed Olivia Duan or No. 12 Kesaree (Pearl) Rojanapeansatith
Choi was an American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) honorable mention All-America selection for 2020-21 while Na, a sophomore at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif., notched two wins last summer on the Junior Golf Association of Northern California circuit.
Choi, ranked 33rd nationally by the AJGA, has been commuting to San Francisco from her home in Murietta the last two weekends. The southern California native admittedly wasn't very familiar with the San Francisco City Championship but her appreciation of the tournament continues to grow with each trip up and down Interstate 5.
"This is a very fun tournament especially because I love match play, but I was not familiar with The City championship," said Choi. "My parents found this tournament on AmateurGolf.com and decided to play since TPC Harding is also a very nice course, and it would be a great learning experience as well."
Duan is in her second year at Cupertino (Calif.) High School and enjoyed five top-10 AJGA finishes this summer, including a second-place showing at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational in June. At the age of 22, Rojanapeansatith is the oldest of the semifinalists. Having played collegiately at nearby USF, the native of Bangkok, Thailand is very familiar with the Harding Park layout.
Semifinals; Nov. 13
No. 1 Kylee Choi (Murietta, Calif.) vs. No. 5 Amy Na (Chico, Calif.); 8;12 a.m.
No. 2 Olivia Duan (Cupertino, Calif.) vs. No. 12 Pearl Rojanapeansatith (Thailand); 8:21 a.m.
Championship Match (36 holes)
Sunday, Nov. 14; 8:27 a.m.
Men's Senior Division
Three of the four semifinalists in the men's senior division survived nerve-wracking quarterfinal matches to reach the final four.
Top-seed Dennis Martin
took 20 holes to defeat multi-time City champion and six-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag
to earn a spot in the semifinals against Andy Gabelman
, who downed Michael Staskus
in 19 holes to advance to championship weekend.
Martin, 56, who only became serious about golf 13 years ago after a long and successful career as a real estate lawyer in the Bay Area, was the fourth-oldest player in the field at this year's U.S. Amateur at Oakmont. He draws a tough competitor in Gabelman, who is a veteran of 10 USGA competitions.
Though he now calls Southern California home, Martin is very familiar with the tradition and stature of the City.
"While have played in a number of city championships up and down the state of California, nothing compares to the tradition and stature of the San Francisco City Championship," said Martin. "It is so well run, and no other city championship on the West Coast for sure and possibly in the United States has had the caliber of players compete in, and win, the championship. No other city championship is conducted on a better venue.
"Even though I live in Los Angeles now, I imagine I will always try to come back and play in this championship in the future."
The winner of the Martin-Gabelman match will meet the winner of the match between No. 15 seed Steve Schroeder
and No. 22 seed Dean Park, who took 22 holes to defeat George Fahey in the quarterfinals. Schroeder, who played collegiately at Stanford and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Poppy Holding, Inc., is making his third semifinal appearance in the senior division (2014, '19).
Semifinals; Nov. 13
No. 1 Dennis Martin (Los Angeles, Calif.) vs. No. 5 Andy Gabelman (Barrington, IL); 7:36 a.m.
No. 15 Steve Schroeder (Monterey, Calif.) vs. No. 22 Dean Park (Healdsburg, Calif.); 7:45 a.m.
Sunday, Nov. 14; 8:00 a.m.
Men's Super Senior Division
of Carmel and Mike Parnow
of Sonoma will meet in one semifinal on Saturday for the right to advance to Sunday's championship match against either Rob Miller
or Ron Johnson
. Pieper, Miller and Johnson had fairly easy quarterfinal matches while Parnow needed 20 holes to defeat Kent Samuel in a quarterfinal match last weekend.
Pieper has won four Northern California Golf Association titles, including the NCGA Super Senior Championship in 2019. Parnow, who plays out of Sonoma Golf Club, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 31st round of the 1972 minor league baseball June Amateur Draft. He played on three national championship teams, on an International Fast Pitch Federation bronze team in 1992 and was elected to the Amateur (Fast-Pitch) Softball Association National Softball Hall of Fame in 1998.
Miller served as head men's golf coach for 15 years before retiring at the end of the 2020 season while the 75-year old Johnson won the NCGA Super Senior Championship in 2013.
Semifinals; Nov. 13
No. 16 Mike Parnow (Sonoma, Calif.) vs. No. 4 Frank Pieper (Carmel, Calif.); 7:54 a.m.
No. 7 Rob Miller (Saratoga, Calif.) vs. No. 14 Ron Johnson (Walnut Creek, Calif.); 8:03 a.m.
Sunday, Nov. 14; 8:18 a.m.