Brandon Knight and Olivia Duan claim San Francisco City Golf Championships
Brandon Knight and Olivia Duan
Brandon Knight and Olivia Duan

Two Bay Area high school standouts came away with the biggest wins of their young careers on Sunday as Brandon Knight and Olivia Duan captured the men's and women's divisions of the 107th playing of the San Francisco City Golf Championships at TPC Harding Park.

Knight, a senior at Foothill High School in Pleasanton, holed out a wedge shot on the short, par-4 16th to defeat Mitchell Hoey, 1 up while Duan, a junior at Cupertino High School, had a little easier time of it with a 4 and 3 win over Michelle Ho.

Northern California Golf Association Hall of Famer Randy Haag won the senior division while Matt Vukicevich took home the title in the super senior division.

• • • • •

Men's Championship Division

Brandon Knight had little if anything in common with two-time major champion Collin Morikawa until late Sunday afternoon in the men's championship match against Saint Mary's sophomore Mitchell Hoey.

For 33 holes and nearly eight hours, Knight and Hoey engaged in a tightly-contested final that had very little give, less take and definitely no gimmes, as one-and-half foot putts were met with distant, blank stares.

The two combatants were separated by more than one hole just once and that came early in the match when Knight won holes 5 and 6 to take a 2-up lead. Mitchell bounced right back with a win on the seventh and from then on, the two friends from the East Bay kept a close eye on each other on a crystal clear and cool day on the bluffs overlooking Lake Merced.

Following Hoey's win on the seventh, the two players were never separated by more than a hole in a grinding and tense championship match that neither player could take by the horns.

After trading pars on the 33rd hole, Knight and Hoey went to the short par-4 16th, a terrific match-play hole that tempts fate and punishes wayward drives. Hoey, who was fighting with his driver all day, pushed his tee shot to the right of the large cypress trees. Knight, who was steady off the tee all day, followed with a textbook tee shot that left him just 89 yards to the flag.

Knight was first to play, leaving Hoey to ponder his options with his caddy and Saint Mary's teammate Jonathan Curran, a redshirt junior from Scottsdale, Ariz.

Knight hit a gap wedge short of the hole and watched as the ball took one hop and momentarily hung on the edge of the cup before disappearing into the hole for an eagle two and a 1-up lead.

"I had 89 yards into the wind and I think I played it at 95 and I was a little undecided whether to hit a hard sand wedge of an easy gap wedge. I hit the gap wedge and it came off perfectly. I pulled a lot of wedges today and wanted just one good one to put the pressure on him a bit. It took one hop and then hung on the hole for a bit before dropping in."

It was just three years ago when Morikawa eagled the same hole after hitting an epic drive to seven feet on his way to winning the PGA Championship.

Stymied by the trunk of a large cypress tree, Hoey had no other option than to take the gut punch, pick up his ball and head to the 17th tee.

The last two holes were halved with pars, with Knight calmly rolling in a three-footer on the last to join a list of distinguished City champions that includes former major champions Ken Venturi, Bob Rosburg and George Archer.

"Mitchell had a real hot putter going in the morning and I was fortunate to be only 1 down at lunch. We halved a few holes with birdies in the afternoon and I think I shot a bogey-free 66 to his 69."

Knight and Hoey counterpunched all day until the Colorado-bound Knight threw what turned out to be the deciding haymaker on the 34th hole. Hoey took the loss in stride.

"Brandon is friend and a heck of a player," said Hoey. "I didn't have my best stuff off the tee today and I was grinding a lot just to stay in the match. I was happy to be 1 up at lunch and I have to give a lot of credit to my caddy and teammate Jonathan Curran for keeping me in the present the entire match. It was a lot of hard work today, to say the least. I was just grinding for pars."

Hoey will return to Harding Park with his Saint Mary's teammates on Thursday as the Gaels take part in The Goodwin hosted by Stanford.

• • • • •

Women's Championship Division

Olivia Duan pulled away from Michelle Ho, a sophomore at Dougherty Valley High School, for a 4 and 3 victory to capture the women's championship division.

Duan, a junior at Cupertino High School who has verbally committed to play her collegiate golf at Princeton, took a 1-up lead into lunch and closed out the match on the 34th hole. Her win at The City comes on the heels of a strong showing at the Fortinet Girls' Championship two months ago at Stanford Golf Course, where she tied for 10th in a field that featured some of the top juniors on the west coast.

Men's Senior Division

Randy Haag
With over 200 victories to his credit, NCGA Hall of Famer Randy Haag is one of the winningest amateur golfers of his generation, but even he admits there's nothing like winning a flight of the San Francisco City Championship in his own backyard.

Haag, who won the 1999 men's championship in an epic battle with six-time champion Gary Vanier, downed Steve Schroeder, 5 and 4, to win the senior division for the third time since 2016.

"If it's not my favorite tournament it's definitely one of the best tournaments you can play in," said Haag, who has won the last two NCGA Senior Amateur Championships. "As a kid, I'd read about the SF City in the San Francisco Chronicle and it was a dream just to play in it, let alone t have the success I've had here.

"This (Harding Park) is sacred ground. It's special and is unlike any other tournament you can play in the country. There's nothing like winning in your own backyard."

• • • • •

Super Senior Division

Matt Vukicevich of Kenwood, Calif. defeated Jim Williams of Orinda, 2 and 1 to claim his first SF City title in the super senior flight.

Results: San Francisco City Championship
WinCABrandon KnightPleasanton, CA180
Runner-upCAMitchell HoeyAlamo, CA120
SemifinalsCAVijay SrinivasanFremont, CA80
SemifinalsCAMichael CarrilloChualar, CA80
QuarterfinalsCAJoshua WangPalo Alto, CA50

View full results for San Francisco City Championship

ABOUT THE San Francisco City Championship


*An NCGA Points Tournament*

**Entry procedure for 2023: Exempt players will have first chance to register. They will be emailed an access code to register, and registration for these players opens on January 3. Registration opens for all other players on January 15.

Exempt players may email results@amateurgolf.com to request an access code.

Exemption categories:

* The past 10 years of the San Francisco City Golf Champions
* 2022 San Francisco City Men’s Championship Match Play Qualifiers
* Top 20 men’s 2021-2022 NCGA Points Lists
* 2022 NCGA Champions (Amateur, Mid-Amateur, Junior)
* 2022 USGA Event Qualifiers (Amateur, Mid- Amateur, Junior)

On January 15 at 8:00 am, registration will open to all players with a handicap index of 6.4 or lower as of the date of entry, and will remain open until the field limit (120 players) is reached. When the field limit is reached, all additional entrants will pre-qualify at Presidio Golf Club on Friday, March 10, 2023.

Players entering pre-qualifying will pay an entry fee of $150 for the pre-qualifier, and those advancing from the pre-qualifier will pay an additional $225 (must be paid prior to playing).

The 36-hole match play qualifier will be held March 11-12, 2023, with 18 holes played at TPC Harding Park and 18 holes at Presidio Golf Course for a combined 36-hole qualifying score.

There will be 156 players in the qualifying round with 64 players advancing to match play. When all qualifying has been completed, the Men’s Championship Flight will consist of 64 contestants. In the event of a playoff to qualify for match play, a player must be present in order to retain his right to participate in the playoff.

Match play will begin on March 18, 2023. All match play for the Championship Flight will be held at TPC Harding Park.

The use of carts is prohibited for players and caddies in the Men’s Championship Flight (Appendix I – Local Rule Applies)

A schedule of all dates of play can be found on the tournament website sfgolfchampionship.com.

The oldest municipal tournament in the USA. Match play event with scratch men's, senior men’s, women's, senior women’s, and open flight divisions. Past champions include Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward, Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg, George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin. Some of the “non winners” include Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the “history” tab for more about this wonderful event.

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