Dylan Oyama (NCGA photo)
It'll be Pac 12 against Mountain West in the finals of this week's California Amateur at Lake Merced Golf Club.
On Friday, Zachery Pollo, a sophomore at Arizona, and Dylan Oyama, a sophomore at San Diego State punched their tickets with semifinal wins. Pollo, the No.14 seed, defeated No.18 Davis McDowell on the 19th hole due to a Rules infraction. The No.16 seeded Oyama defeated No.21 Casey Leebrick, 1-up.
On the 19th hole, McDowell's caddie removed sand from off the putting green on his line of play. The removal was a violation of Rule 8.1, which states that a player is not allowed to improve his line of play by removing sand in the general area. Sand may only be removed on a putting green. The violation in match play results in loss of hole.
Pollo, a former standout on the Junior Tour of Northern California, was among those stunned by what happened.
"It was a tough match," Pollo said. "There was so much golf today. 36 holes is a lot."
Tied through 15 holes, McDowell looked to be in good shape when he took a 1-up lead on No.16 with a par. Following a tie on the 17th, the two on No.18 both were just off the green in two. While Pollo would hit his third shot within 10 feet of the flagstick and gomon to make birdie, McDowell bladed his chip shot, squirting his ball towards the back of the green on his way to a double-bogey.
Casey Leebrick was the first player to earn a spot in the semifinals following a 3 and 2 win over No.13 Alexander Yang. Following a loss on the opening 1st hole, Leebrick first bounced back with a par win on No.5. Leebrick then birdied No.6 and No.9 to grab a 2-up lead. Two more back-to-back birdies on holes Nos. 11 and 12 increased his cushion to 4-up.
Oyama moved on to the semis via a 2 and 1 win over No.24 Andy Yoon. Oyama built a 4-up lead thru 12 holes, but Yoon didn't give in, winning holes Nos. 13-15 in succession to trim the lead to 1-up. Following a tie on No.16, Oyama won the 17th hole with a par to seal the match.
In another quarterfinal match, Pollo eliminated No.22 Ethan Chung, 2 and 1. Tied through 12 holes, Pollo took a 2-up lead with back-to-back birdies on holes Nos. 13 and 14. The two tied the next three holes.
McDowell would win a thriller, knocking out No.26 Domingo Jojola with a win on the 21st hole. Jojola was a Junior Merit member at Lake Merced GC and grew up in San Francisco.
The brackets are officially busted at this week's annual California Amateur at Lake Merced Golf Club.
On Thursday, the Round of 16 saw all four top seeds--No.1 Joe Neuheisel, No.2 Nathan Wang, No.3 Ivan Barahona and No.4 Jerry Wu--getting sent home.
Neuheisel, the son of Rick Neuheisel, who was the head coach of the college football programs at Colorado, Washington and UCLA, fell 4 and 3 to No.16 Dylan Oyama. Oyama, a sophomore at San Diego State, will next face No.24 Andy Yoon.
Wang, the winner of last year's NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship, saw his hopes dashed in a 2-up loss to Davis McDowell. The No.18 seed, McDowell is a redshirt senior at UC San Diego.
In what was a thriller, No.14 Zachery Pollo, a star on the Junior Tour of Northern California, knocked out Barahona on the 19th hole. Pollo made a birdie to Barahona's par on the first extra hole.
In the other big upset of the day, No.13 Alexander Yang eliminated Yu. Yang is the lowest seed remaining in the brackets.
The highest seed left is No.26 Domingo Jojola, who advanced with a 2 and 1 over No.10 Darren Chiu.
Jojola, who grew up in San Francisco and went to Lincoln High, was a Junior Merit member at Lake Merced when he was a kid.
The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place Friday, with the 36-hole finale 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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