Tony Chen (SCGA photo)
's journey could lead him to the biggest amateur prize in the Golden State.
Chen, who goes by Tony, earned the No.1 seed at this week's California Amateur Championship at Big Canyon CC after carding his second straight 4-under 68 Tuesday to finish stroke play qualifying with a medalist score of 8-under 136.
The sophomore-to-be at Cal-Berkeley was born in Shenzen, China. But he's actually an Australian citizen. While there have been many out-of-state born players to win the Cal Am (inaugural winner Jack Neville was born in Ohio), it is believed that the only foreign-born player to win the event was Capt. A. Bullock Webster in 1924. Webster was from New Zealand.
There's still a long ways to go, as the event now shifts to a 32-player bracket for match play. But Chen has looked solid. A day after going 4-under, Chen was 5-under through his front-nine---thanks in part to an eagle on the par-5 2nd--before a double-bogey on No.9 left him at 33. On the back, meanwhile, he went on a run that included five birdies in a six-hole stretch (Nos. 11 through 16).
Finishing second, and earning the No.2 seed was Bakersfield resident Stephen Hale
. Last year's SCGA Mid-Amateur champ and a Cal alum, Hale came in at 138 after a pair of 69s.
Finishing tied for third at 140 were former Junior Tour of Northern California standout Ian Gilligan, NCGA champion Brett Viboch
and Youssef Guezzale
. Gilligan, a cancer survivor, shared low round of the day honors (68) with Chen. Viboch won last year's NCGA Mid-Am Four-Ball Championship with friend and former Cal Am champ Bobby Bucey
The cut for match play (low 32) came at 1-over 145. Wednesday is the Round of 32, Thursday the Round of 16 and Friday the quarterfinals and semis. The 36-hole final will be on Saturday.
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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