Darren Pang (Photo by Conner Penfold)
posted back-to-back red figures at the AmateurGolf.com Pacific Grove City Championship, shooting 67-69 to close out a four-stroke victory over his two-day playing partner Nathan Wang
Pang, who will be an incoming freshman at Columbia University in the fall following a gap year, fought through a tough double-bogey at the dogleg right par-4 8th. He birdied three holes on the challenging incoming nine to finish as the only player in the field under par after 36 holes.
“This place can be frustrating if you aren’t careful,” Pang said. “It looks like such an easy course on the scorecard, but once you get out here in the wind and you see the greens and the pin positions, it can get a little challenging.”
At just over 5,700 yards, the par-70 at Pacific Grove Golf Links is consistently an arduous task for competitors. Last year’s championship flight winner Brett Thawley, like Pang, was also the only player to finish below par.
“I just told myself to be patient and to keep chipping away,” Pang said.
Wang, who began the day a shot back, went toe-to-toe with Pang nearly the entire round but succumbed to the sneakily-difficult 18th. His triple-bogey ended his chances at forcing a playoff but was still good enough to grab solo second place.
JJ West placed third for the second year in a row but moved up a spot to capture the Mid-Amateur title this time around. Firing 69 on day one, West was one of just seven contestants to break 70 over the weekend.
Winning the Senior Division in a two-hole playoff was Greg Galasso, who put together a truly impressive opening nine early Sunday morning. After rattling off three birdies in his first five holes to jump within one of the lead, Galasso found the out-of-bounds stakes at the par-4 6th and erased his initial magic with a triple. But he ended the front nine with two more birdies and went on to card 68 to force a playoff with Russell Humphrey.
Humphrey’s 69 featured five birdies but bogeys at 17 and 18 proved costly.
Galasso defeated Humphrey with a par on the second extra hole, but he wouldn’t have been there without a clutch birdie at 18.
“The birdies at 8 and 9 really turned things around,” Galasso said. “The back nine was grinding but the birdie at 18 was the difference.
“It’s one of the coolest courses in Northern California,” Galasso said of the course referred to affectionately by locals as "The Poor Man's Pebble Beach."
“Regardless of playing conditions, it’s still PG. It’s awesome.”
Super Senior winner Charles Richesin posted 71-76 en route to his win – a narrow one-shot margin over Jim Williams. The Lodi resident bogeyed five holes on the back nine but executed the needed pars at 17 and 18 to hold on over Williams, whose closing 71 was the low round in the flight on Sunday.
Tying for first in the Net division were James Blair and Matt Brody, the latter of whom had the victory all-but wrapped up with a two-shot lead until the 18th green and its much-talked-about pin placement claimed another victim. He made a triple at the finishing par-4 while playing competitor Blair made bogey.
ABOUT THE AGC Pacific Grove City
Individual championship at the wonderful
Links, known to many as "The Poor Man's
Beach." That's because the back nine plays
the Pacific Ocean in an out-and-back links style
layout. If you haven't played this Monterey
Peninsula gem, entering this tournament with a
friend or relative is the perfect way to
it. Field limit 88; Championship, Senior, and
For players aged 16 and over who have a USGA or
equivalent index of less than 5.5
For players age 50 and over (as of the tournament
date) with a handicap index of less than 8.0. Note:
Must be 55 and over for NCGA Senior Points.
For players 16 and over with handicap between 5.5 and 18.0.
MID-AM (subdivision of Championship)
For players age
25-49. Compete alongside the younger players in the
Championship Division, (same tees, same prize
opportunities) and if there are at least six Mid-Ams, a
separate prize and trophy will be awarded.
SUPER SENIORS (subdivision of Senior)
For players age
65+. Compete alongside the younger senior players in
Senior Division, (same tees, same prize
opportunities) and if there are at least six players 65 or
separate prize and trophy will be awarded for low
WOMEN (subdivision of Championship)
Will play in the Championship
Division but from a shorter tee; if there are at least six women in
the field, a separate prize and trophy will be awarded. Net players will
play in the Net Division but from a shorter tee.
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