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Charlie Reiter wins the California Amateur Championship
02 Jul 2022
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for California Amateur, Big Canyon Country Club, Charlie Reiter Rankings

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- SCGA photo
- SCGA photo

It's been some kind of 30 days for Charlie Reiter of Palm Desert, California.

On June 6, he nearly medaled at the U.S. Open Final Qualifying event at The Olympic Club.

The University of San Diego golfer, who went down in the finals of the California Amateur in 2020, avenged that loss with a 5-and-4 victory over Kevin Huff (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) at Big Canyon Country Club. Two years after losing to Joey Vrzich at Torrey Pines, he is the California Amateur Champion.

"Finishing second, that wasn't going to happen again," Reiter said when asked about the 2020 outcome. "We got off to a quick start and I kept it going. It was awesome."


Reiter enjoyed a small 1-up lead over Huff after the front nine. But while Huff had been taking down his earlier opponents on that inward stretch of holes all week, it was Reiter who did the damage there today.

After a run of three-straight birdies for wins on Hole Nos. 16-18, the Reiter lead was 6-up at the lunch break. The match was far from over, but you would certainly rather be on Reiter's side of the lunch table with that kind of cushion.

In the afternoon, things got worse for Huff before they got better. He bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 to go 8-down, then dropped another hole at No. 5. By the match's 26th hole (No. 8) Huff faced a 9-down deficit with just 10 holes left.

Match over, right? Not so fast.

The mountain Reiter had built was so incredibly high that even when Huff went on an amazing afternoon run, he didn’t even summit half of it. Reiter also had honors for 24 of the 32 holes played in the final.


Reiter displayed some short game wizardry (SCGA)
Huff, from El Dorado Hills near Sacramento, had been playing amazing golf all week. And he dug deep to find a birdie on the 27th hole. When the pair tied the 28th hole with a par, the match was dormie. One tie and it's over. That didn't stop Huff from running three-straight birdies and getting through the 31st hole. The match wasn't supposed to go this far, many spectators may have thought. But Huff had now birdied four of the last five holes and turned a rout into something more reasonable.

Alas, a tie someplace was inevitable and when the pair both made par on No 14, the match had ended. The record will show a 5-and-4 victory for Reiter the first winner of the trophy from the Coachella Valley in many years.

Asked how he was going to celebrate, Reiter said with a big smile and a laugh, "I don't know yet. But I'm sure something will go down that I won't remember."

A TROPHY ETCHED WITH FAMOUS NAMES, WITH ONE BIG NAME MISSING

Reiter's name is (or will soon be) on the California Amateur trophy alongside past winners Xander Schauffele, Jason Gore, Mark O’Meara, John Cook, plus two-time winners Bobby Clampett and Ken Venturi.


The most noticeable name missing from the trophy is Tiger Woods -- a then 32--year-old Ed Cuff famously ended his match play run in 1994. At the time, the Los Angeles Times headline read: "Woods Upset in Semifinals of State Amateur Golf Play" and the story said:

Cuff, 32, was the oldest of the four semifinalists. He failed to yield to the pressure of Woods, 18, who fired a 2-under-par 34 on the front nine but was only 1-up.

Woods went 2-up with a par at the 10th but lost the 11th. Cuff evened the match with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th. He went 1-up for the first time in the match with a 10-foot birdie putt at the 15th. Then, Woods three-putted the 16th and lost to a par. Both players parred the last hole.


As it turned out, another Woods won the title in 1994 -- Steve Woods. He defeated Cuff in the final match. But Cuff's amateur golf career has forever been associated with perhaps the greatest player of all time, and it's made great conversation for him on the course over the years.

Results: California Amateur
WinCACharlie ReiterPalm Desert, CA600
Runner-upCAKevin HuffEl Dorado Hills, CA400
SemifinalsCAAlexander YangCarlsbad, CA300
SemifinalsChinaKuangyu (Tony) ChenChina300
QuarterfinalsCACasey LeebrickSan Luis Obispo, CA200

View full results for California Amateur

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, even if the golfer belongs to clubs in both Southern California and Northern California. The 18-hole qualifying 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 a playoff, if necessary, to determine the final spots). 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.

View Complete Tournament Information

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