September 29, 2018
JTNC’s Owen Avrit Loses Pro, But Keeps Going
By Gary McCormick
The week of the PURE Insurance Championship hasn’t gone the way Owen Avrit envisioned it. The standout Junior Tour of Northern California player got a great draw in the pairings lottery for the event when he was paired with pro Mark O’Meara, a six-time winner at Pebble Beach. But O’Meara, whose winning record here goes back to the 1985 Bing Crosby Pro-Am, with four more wins in the AT&T era and a 2015 win at the First Tee Open, withdrew after Friday’s round with back issues, leaving Avrit in limbo.
O’Meara carded a 1-over 73 at Pebble in the first round, while Avrit posted a 5-under 67. The youngster played Saturday at Poppy Hills without O’Meara, going around in 1-over 73.
Friday’s round at Pebble Beach was special for Avrit—not only the course, but the company.
“It’s amazing. There’s no words to describe being at that course, and being able to play it after being there and seeing it million times. It’s been really nice to actually play it—and to play it alongside a Hall-of-Famer and major champion, it’s super special.”
(On Mark O’Meara): “He’s the Prince of Pebble, so he definitely knows his way around there. It was really nice to have someone who knows the course that well, and his caddie is phenomenal.”
Avrit’s older brother, Jack, was O’Meara’s junior partner for his 2015 win in the event, but Owen won’t have the chance to rack up a repeat performance for his family.
“I understood,” Owen said, “because I could tell how much pain he was in yesterday. I was watching him on the range as he was hitting balls next to me, and it was really hard to watch. I didn’t expect him to play, really. As sad as it is, it’s the way things are and you just gotta push through it.”