April 26, 2015
Novato resident Miguel Delgado proved he can play with some of the best Northern California amateurs, while Jim Knoll of Sunnyvale added another title.
Delgado shot a final round 3-under 68, and Knoll had a bogey-free final round 67 as the two won the Championship and Senior Championship divisions at the annual Alameda Commuters, respectively, on a perfect Sunday at par-71 Chuck Corica Golf Complex.
Delgado, an 18-year-old senior at Branson High who’s headed to the University of Notre Dame in the fall, broke away from a pack of players to win with a 72-hole total of 11-under 273.
“This is my first big amateur win,” said Delagado, who usually competes on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. “Hopefully, it jump starts my collegiate career.”
Coming into Sunday’s finale, Delgado was tied for the 54-hole lead at 8-under 205 with Jonathan Keane, Carlos Briones and Finigan Tilly. Among those in close pursuit, meanwhile, were 2014 NCGA Player of the Year Trevor Clayton and runner-up Jason Anthony.
Delgado made his big move on the Earl Fry North Course front-nine thanks to an early birdie on No.3 and two more key birdies on holes No.6 and No.9. His birdie on the 9th, a downhill 20-footer, got him to a total of 11-under.
While Delgado was able to play holes No.6 through No.9 at 2-under, the other members of the final foursome–Keane, Briones and Tilly—played the stretch at 1-over.
“That putt on No.9 really gave me some swagger. After making the turn, I just played safe golf.”
It worked, as the newcomer was able to hold off a stellar field that included some of the best collegiate players in the Bay Area.
“There are some big names on the scoreboard. It’s intimidating, knowing that they’re coming after you,” Delgado said. “I’ve always chased them. It feels good to pass them.”
Helping Delgado navigate the course, and nerves, was his father Miguel Delgado II, who caddied for his son each of the championship’s four rounds.
“Having my dad on the bag is good for comfort,” Delgado said. “Plus, he knows my game really well.”
Briones, a junior at Santa Clara University, looked to be in control after opening with rounds of 68-66. Over the second weekend, he’d card a 71 and 73 to finish T-3 at 278.
“I just wasn’t executing shots the way I was planning things out,” Briones said. “That and the putts didn’t fall in.”
Taking second place was two-time NCGA Valley Amateur champion Steven Chung, who came in at 276 following a final round 66. Joining Briones at third was Fairfield resident Jason Anthony, who had a final round 68.
Following a solid front-nine, Anthony, who began the day five behind the co-leaders, was able to get to a total of 8-under. His charge unraveled on No.11, however, when he missed a 3-footer for par.
“That putt threw off all the momentum I had earlier. I couldn’t get it back after that,” Anthony said.
Five players finished T-5 at 279 including Clayton (71), defending champion Jonathan De Los Reyes of St. Mary’s (66), Keane (74) and 2014 NCGA Public Links champion Austin Roberts (68).
Like Delgado, the 62-year-old Knoll also made his move on the front-nine, albeit he did it backwards. Having started on the back-nine, Knoll, first round leader Dale Bouguennec and two-time winner Gary Vanier were all within two shots of one another as they made the turn.
On their 11th hole (No.2), Knoll made birdie while Bouguennec made double-bogey. A hole later, Knoll increased his lead to two strokes when Vanier made bogey.
“From that point on I just wanted to make pars,” said Knoll, who tossed in a birdie on No.6 to finish at 138, defeating Vanier, who had a final round 70, by three shots.
For Knoll, it was his record fourth Alameda Commuters Senior title, and could also be a jumpstart. The four-time defending NCGA Senior Player of the Year had been in somewhat of a drought, his last winning coming at the Antioch City Two-Man in November.
“I haven’t been playing well, so this feels good” said Knoll, who’s also been busier than normal at his job. “I haven’t been able to practice, and my putter has been failing me.”
Terry Foreman, winner of the 2012 NCGA Senior Amateur Match Play Championship, came in third at 142 after a 69. Chuck Richesin was fourth at 143 following a 68.