NCGA Public Links Champ Austin Roberts Talks Turning Pro
April 3, 2014
With his second win in 10 days, Monterey resident Austin Roberts is thinking big.
Following his victory Tuesday in the NCGA Public Links Championship, Roberts said that he plans on turning professional at the end of this year. On March 23, the 21-year-old won the Jim Lathum Salinas City Amateur Championship.
Roberts said he plans on joining the eGolf Tour West, which is part of the North Carolina-based eGolf Tour. The eGolf Tour West is where two-time (2012 and 2013) NCGA Player of the Year Ben Geyer recently picked up his first win as a professional.
“I’ve been playing great. I feel like every tournament that I win, I should win,” Roberts said. “I personally feel good enough right now to play with anybody.”
On the 18th hole at Bayonet Golf Course, the Sacramento area native hit a 65-yard flop shot to within three feet of the flagstick for birdie. The birdie gave him a one stroke win over Hayden Shieh.
“I was proud of the way I came down the stretch,” Roberts said. “It all has to do with my work ethic and how I practice.”
If Roberts’ name rings a bell, it may be due to the fact that in 2008 he reached the finals of the prestigious California State Amateur Championship—at the age of 15. While he lost to Nick Delio, had Roberts prevailed he would’ve become the youngest champion in the event’s 97-year history.
It wasn’t long after his near-record run at the State Am though, that Roberts fell off the radar screen.
He spent one year playing for the University of New Mexico, and in 2009 was the first round co-leader of the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship. But there weren’t many Roberts’ sightings after that.
So what has suddenly got him back on track?
Well, in 2012 he moved to the golf-rich Monterey Peninsula, where he now lives with his older brother, Andrew. And then he got a job as a caddie at Cypress Point Club. He also works par-time as a cart attendant at Bayonet/Black Horse.
And when he’s not working? He’s playing or practicing.
Among those he hooks up with is 2013 NCGA Public Links champ Nick Moore of Seaside. Moore also caddies at Cypress Point. It was also at Bayonet/Black Horse that Moore grooved his game enough to become a champion.
“I still have an instructor (2011 NCPGA Teacher of the Year Keith Lyford) but he’s part-time at Old Greenwood in Tahoe and part-time at Whitney Oaks in Roseville so I don’t see him that much,” Roberts said. “So basically, right now I’m self-taught. If I do see him, it’s just for a tune up.”
“Austin’s a good player,’ said NCGA veteran and longtime St. Mary’s head coach Scott Hardy, who’s seen his share.
Looking ahead, one of Roberts’ next events will be the Alameda Commuters Championship, which tees off April 26 at Chuck Corica GC.
For now though, he’s enjoying exactly where he is. Feeling on top of the world, with even some bragging rights attached.
“Will I make Andrew (his brother, who finished T-14 in the NCGA Public Links) clean the house? No, “ said Roberts with a laugh. “He has to cook dinner for the week.”