July 16, 2012
NOVATO – Alexsei Koika, Alex McMahon and Tyler Raber advanced Monday to next month’s U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills CC in Cherry Hills, Colo. Koika of Burlingame beat the out the 73 other competitors posting a 36-hole score of 144, even par. Finding himself outside of the top three after posting a morning round of 2-over par 74, Koika fired a 2-under par 70 in the afternoon to take the top spot. Koika looked as if he shot himself out of it when he took a double-bogey-6 on his 31st hole of the event, the par-4 fourth hole, but three birdies down the stretch on holes six, seven and nine, solidified his qualifying spot.
Conversely, McMahon of Oro Valley, Ariz., had a share of the morning lead after posting a 1-under par 71, but he struggled in the afternoon. McMahon opened his afternoon round with a nine-hole score of 42, which included a double-bogey and triple-bogey. However, he recovered nicely on the back nine with a 33, which included two birdies and an eagle, to post a 75. His 36-hole total of 146 was good enough for solo second.
Raber of El Macero was the last to qualify and needed a sudden-death playoff to do so as he was tied after 36 holes at 147 with Ben Scribner, Paul Smith and Matthew Hovan. The El Macero resident won in after the third playoff hole, while Smith of Turlock earned first alternate. Scribner and Hovan went an additional three playoff holes to determine second alternate, which went to Scribner of San Francisco.
Ben Geyer, who won the NCGA Stroke Play on Sunday afternoon, was hurt by the quick turnaround as he fell two strokes short of the playoff, finishing at 149.