March 10, 2014
Shintaro Ban bagged the biggest win of his amateur career yet, while Casie Cathrea made it two in a row.
Ban, a senior at Archbishop Mitty, went 4-under through his first five holes Sunday at Presidio Golf Course and never looked back, capturing the men’s title of the annual San Francisco City Championship with a decisive 8 and 7 win over Rick Reinsberg.
The former junior tour star, who’s headed to UNLV in the fall, joins the ranks of among others Ken Venturi and George Archer as winners of the prestigious championship.
“It’s one of the biggest wins of my career so far,” said Ban (pictured right), who just recently turned 18. “I’ve seen so many of the names who won here back in the day. Rick’s name is up there. I’d be happy to lose to him. This is a huge win for my confidence.”
Confidence had been the only thing the No. 32 seeded Ban’s game lacked, according to his caddie and friend Sissy Nichols.
“He just needs confidence,” Nichols said. “He played like a champ today.”
Thanks to his rocket start out of the gates, Ban jumped to 6-up lead through the first 16 holes. Reinsberg managed to temporarily cut into the deficit, but by the time the duo reached the 27th hole Ban’s lead was back to 6-up.
“The biggest factor for me was that I was confident with my driver. But my putter also was working,” said Ban, who shared a hug with his mom Susan, who was in tears, following the victory. “I’m really determined. I want to make golf my future career.”
Reinsberg, a 41-year-old veteran whose resume includes a 2003 S.F. City title and multiple Alameda Commuters titles, had nothing but praise for Ban.
“Shin played really well. He hardly missed a shot. He’s super talented,” said Reinsberg, the No.27 seed. “I’ve played (Joseph) Bramlett, (Spencer) Levin and J.B. Holmes, and Shin is up there with those guys at this point in his career.”
Ban, who points to his older brother Shotaro, who plays at Cal, as his biggest influence, made a huge statement in the second round of the championship when he eliminated No.1 seed and friend William Brueckner, 1-up.
“That was the most important match,” Ban said. “That win gave me a lot of confidence. You can’t take it easy out here.”
Cathrea (pictured below), who recently left Oklahoma State, cruised to her second straight S.F. City title, defeating No.3 seeded Junior Tour of Northern California star Anna Zhou, 10 and 9. Last year, the No.1 seeded Cathrea won her finals match, 10 and 8.
“Anna’s a good player. I just had everything working today,” said Cathrea, who joins Sally Krueger and Pat Cornett as back-to-back winners of the championship. “I know the history of the event and I wanted to repeat what I did last year.”
Only 3-up after the morning round, the 18-year-old Livermore resident overwhelmed Zhou to open the second 18 holes, winning holes No.1 through No.3 to go 6-up.
“I made better shots and choices on the second 18,” said Cathrea, whose tentative plans include turning pro in October. “Overall I’m happy with the way I played. I love winning.”
In the Senior championship, No.29 seeded Jim Williams took the title via a 7 and 6 win over No.15 Steve Schroeder. The Super Senior Championship crown was won by No.11 seed Ely Orquiza, who knocked off No.1 seed Ron Johnson, 5 and 3. Johnson is the defending NCGA Super Senior Championship.
Maria Davis won the women’s championship Juli Inkster bracket. Men’s open championship winners included Adam Krainson (Ken Venturi flight), Denis Richardson (Sandy Tatum flight), Steve Henriksen (Tom Culligan Sr. flight), Ryan Manzana (Nels Cullenward flight), John Sao (George Archer flight), Michael Berg (Harvie Ward flight) and Jason McKee (Art Rosenbaum flight).