June 29, 2019
Chino resident William Mouw entered the 108th California Amateur Championship as the highest ranked player in the field in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
The 18-year-old Pepperdine freshman-to-be lived up to the billing, and will soon be making a quick ascent up from what will be a former No.58 ranking.
The No.24 seeded Mouw became one of the youngest California Amateur winners ever after defeating No.3 Christian Banke, 4 and 2, in Saturday’s 36-hole finale on the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. The youngest champ ever remains Mac Hunter, who captured the title in 1972 at the age of 16.
Regardless, Mouw’s name joins a list of champions that includes Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller and Mark O’Meara.
“It feels great. It’s an honor to have my name with those guys,” said Mouw, who prepped at Ontario Christian High. “It was a great match. We both played great.”
Down a hole following the morning 18, Mouw instantly knotted things up with a win on the 19th hole when he stiffed his approach to within 3 feet of the pin for birdie.
After tying the next four holes, Mouw grabbed his first lead since early in the match when he drained a 15-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 24th hole (No.6). From there, his putter began heating up. Two holes later on the 26th hole (No.8), he sank a 7-foot birdie to go 2-up.
Following a Banke bogey on the par-3 28th hole (No.10), Mouw held a commanding 3-up lead. Banke, a senior at San Diego State and the younger brother of 2014 California Women’s Championship winner Sara Banke, got one hole back with a win on the par-4 29th hole (No.11) after nearly driving the green, but he’d never get any closer.
Just a hole later, Banke’s approach shot found the greenside bunker, leading to a bogey and re-upping Mouw’s cushion to 3-up. On the 34th hole (No.16), Banke tried to make something happen but pulled his drive far left. His second shot never reached the green, while Mouw got on in two. Banke’s last gasp third shot stopped far short of the flagstick, sealing the victory for Mouw.
“My putting wasn’t the best this week. I just told myself to just keep going. Some will eventually fall,” Mouw said. “I’ll enjoy this win, and then go home and get back to work on the greens.”
In the morning 18, Mouw at first looked like he was going to run away with it. He’d quickly build a 3-up lead through the first six holes before Banke, who had his father, Dana Banke, on the bag as caddie clawed his way back to not only tie the match but take a 2-up lead. A birdie on the 18th helped Mouw close the gap to just one hole as the two entered the break.
All week long, Mouw was able to rely on his father, Billy, who was his caddie, for support. Billy Mouw owns and operates a chicken farm in Chino.
But Mouw also got help during the week via some phone calls with his mental coach. That also helped Mouw get through the grind of what is a long week. Over just the last two days of competition, Mouw estimated that he’d walked a total of around 23 miles.
“My mental coach and I talked about how long the week is and that I needed to just keep plodding along with no big expectations. Visualize, verbalize and realize,” said Mouw, who hit 15 of 16 greens in the afternoon round. “This is going to be a great confidence booster going into college.”
June 28, 2019
The eagles landed and what had looked to literally become a massive Wave came to an end.
William Mouw, a freshman to be at Pepperdine, and San Diego State senior Christian Banke each closed out semifinals victories with closing eagles on the par-5 18th on the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club on Friday to advance to the finals of this week’s annual California Amateur Championship.
Mouw, the No.24 seed, survived a seesaw match against No.5 Caden Fiorino, escaping with a 1-up victory after a brilliant second shot on 18. With the match still tied, Mouw, from 231 yards out, and with a tree directly in his sights, laced a 5-iron–that first curled 25 feet around the tree–to the top of the hill on the right side of the green. His ball would eventually roll onto the green, stopping 10 feet from the flagstick.
Fiorino, who’ll join the Waves squad in the Fall of 2020, found the greenside bunker with his second shot. Fiorino hit his buinker shot to within 8 feet of the pin, but Mouw ended any drama by sinking his slippery, downhill putt. When his putt dropped in, Mouw let loose a Tiger-esque fist pump.
“That putt was sweet. The speed was perfect, everything about it was perfect,” Mouw said. “It means al lot to me to get a chance to win this.”
Firoroni, who was runner-up at the recent CIF Boys’ State Championship at Poppy Hills, was in control early, grabbing a 2-up lead through the first nine. But Mouw clawed his way back. He’d save par and tie the hole on No.12 following a great up and down. On the par-5 13th he reached the green in two and won with a birdie. After draining a 35-footer for birdie on the majestic par-3 14th, the match was again tied.
“Even when I was two down, I knew I could come back,” said Mouw, who is a great basketball player as well (he set the record at Ontario Christian for most career 3-pointers).
“After he made that putt on No.14 he got some spring back in his step,” said Mouw’s father, Billy, who was on the bag as caddie. “This has been so much fun. I haven’t caddied for him since his first tourney when he was 10 years old.”
Banke, meanwhile, also came back to earn a coveted spot in the final.
Playing good friend Josh McCarthy, the No.3 seeded Banke found himself down two holes after a bogey on the par-3 10th. Like Mouw, he also didn’t panic.
“I just thought, keep hitting fairways and apply as much pressure as I can,” said Banke, who also had his father, Dana, on the bag as caddie.
Instead, the 22-year-old Danville native reeled off three straight wins on holes No.11 through 13 to take a 1-up lead. McCarthy, a senior to be at Pepperdine, got a hole back with a par win on the 14th, but on the 316-yard par-4 16th Banke again took the lead when he drove the green and two-putted from 50 feet for a birdie.
After a tie on the 17th hole, Banke, still holding a 1-up edge, went driver-6-iron to within 4 feet of the pin on the closing 18th. McCarthy, needing a miracle, nearly got one as his third shot–a pitch–got within a foot of the pin before stopping.
“It’s always tough playing against a friend,” Banke said. “Plus, Josh is a crazy competitor. I knew it’d be tough.”
In the morning quarterfinals, McCarthy had staged an epic comeback, erasing a 3-hole deficit and eventually winning on the 21st hole via his own eagle on the 18th. Banke, meanwhile, eliminated Devon Bling, 2 and 1.
Both Banke and Mouw are only making their second appearance in the event.
In the morning quarterfinals, Mouw knocked out No.32 Ramiz Jamal, 5 and 3, while Firorino won 1-up over No.4 Cameron Sisk.
Past champions of the event is a who’s who of Golden State greats—Ken Venturi (1956), Johnny Miller (1968) and Bobby Clampett (1978).
Saturday’s 36-hole final will begin at 7:30 a.m.
June 27, 2019
Another top seed fell, and the brackets suddenly took on a distinct SoCal flavor as play continued Thursday with the Round of 16 at this week’s California Amateur Championship on the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
A day after No.1 seed Sean Yu was sent home, No.2 seed Thomas Hutchison was ousted, courtesy of a 5 and 4 loss to No.18 Josh McCarthy (pictured, above). McCarthy, a senior at Pepperdine, grabbed a 2-up lead through three thanks to a pair of birdies and never looked back.
Following yet another McCarthy birdie on the par-3 10th, the lead mushroomed to 4-up. Hutchison, who like McCarthy is a former Player of the Year on the Junior Tour of Northern California circuit, got one hole back with a win on the ensuing 11th. But McCarthy, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 Cal Am at the OIympic Club, slammed the door shut with a birdie win on the par-5 13th and a par win on No.14.
“I got off to a good start. I was hitting my irons close and got a good grip on the match early on,” McCarthy said.
Next up for the left-handed McCarthy will be a quarterfinals showdown with Cal-Berkeley freshman to be Kento Yamawaki. The No.10 seeded Yamawaki, a former star at La Costa Canyon High, had the big win of the day, a 7 and 6 waxing of No.26 Joey Vrzich. Vrzich didn’t exactly help his own cause, as he’d go 4-over through the 12 holes.
In another quarterfinals tilt, No.3 seed Christian Banke will take on No.6 Devon Bling. Banke, a Danville resident who plays at San Diego State, knocked out Granite Bay’s Gary Dunn, 3 and 1. Bling, meanwhile, went back-and-forth with University of Washington sophomore Noah Woolsey before emerging with a 1-up victory.
Dunn, who at 44 was the oldest player left in the brackets, had a 1-up lead through six, but Banke then won the next three holes.
In the Bling-Woolsey match, Woolsey took a 2-up lead through 10 after he stiffed his tee shot on the par-3 to within a few feet of the flagstick. Bling (pictured, above) cut the lead to 1-up with a win on No.12, but Woolsey went back to 2-up with a win on No.14.
Bling, who played in the recent U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, never flinched. The UCLA sophomore would birdie the final four holes to come back and shock Woolsey, who went 1-under over the final four holes.
On the other side of the brackets, it’s all SoCal players. The quarterfinals there will see No.32 seed Ramiz Jamal taking on No.24 William Mouw and No.4 Cameron Sisk facing No.5 Caden Fioroni.
Jamal, who plays at UC Irvine, kept his run going with a tough 1-up win over Olympic Club member Jason Anthony. For the second straight day, Jamal (pictured, below) would seal his win via a clutch putt on the closing 18th. Against Anthony, he’d drain a 25-foot birdie putt to match Anthony’s birdie and close out the victory.
“The 18th green has been very nice to me,” said Jamal, who eliminated the No.1 Yu in the Round of 32 via what had appeared to be an impossible 70-footer. “Both Jason and were trying to find our game’s out there.”
Mouw, who’ll begin playing at Pepperdine this Fall, was another one of the day’s big winners. He’d eliminate No.25 Sam Kim, 5 and 3, Trailing by a hole through No.5, Mouw went on a tear, winning holes No.6 through No.9 thanks in part to a pair of birdies. On the back-nine, Mouw carded two more birdie wins to seal the deal.
Sisk shot 63 through 17 holes in knocking out No.13 Zihao Jin. Fioroni had to go to the 19th hole to get past No.21 Logan Lowe.
Six of the eight quarterfinalists have SoCal ties.
The par-5 9th had numerous victories of its own. For the day, the hole played at 5-over with one X-out.
June 26, 2019
“What can you do?”, Yu pondered.
June 25, 2019
June 24, 2019
As expected, collegiate players opened with some noise in Monday’s first round of stroke play qualifying at this week’s annual California Amateur Championship on the par-72 Shore and Dunes Courses at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. There too, was a tad of residual from the recent British Amateur.
Leading the pack after an overcast day was a pair of SCGA players—Cameron Sisk of El Cajon and Jamie Cheatham of Rancho Santa Fe–after the two came in with matching scores of 7-under 65 on the Shore Course.
Sisk, a sophomore at Arizona State who reached the quarterfinals of the recent British Am at Portmarnock, was flawless, carding seven birdies with no bogeys. The 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year would go 5-under through the first six holes on the front-nine en route to a 30.
Cheatham, a redshirt senior at Cal who had a Top 10 finish at the 2017 SCGA Amateur, had eight birdies to just one bogey. He’d also carve up the Shore’s front-nine, posting a 31.
In third place at 66 is defending NCGA Amateur Match Play champion Thomas Hutchison. Hutchison, a junior at UC Davis who reached the Round of 32 at the recent British Am, carded a 66 on the Shore Course that included an eagle on the par-5 16th.
The low scores on the Tom Fazio-designed Dunes Course were a pair of 68’s by San Jose State junior Sean Yu and Upland’s Josh McCollum. The Dunes course will be the primary venue when the championship switches to match play beginning Wednesday.
Jason Anthony, who came into the event leading the NCGA in the race for Player of the Year honors, finished the first round T-6 after a 69 on the Shore Course.
Defending champion Bobby Bucey opened with a 3-over 75 on the Shore Course.
Following Tuesday’s second round a cut will be made with only the low 32 advancing to match play.
In the North/South Challenge, which annually pits six NCGA players versus six players from the SCGA (best five-of-six scores), the South leads, 341-354. Representing the North are Bryan Baumgarten, Bobby Bucey, Thomas Hutchison, Noah Woolsey, Josh McCarthy and Kevin Velo. The South team is Devon Bling, Jamie Cheatham, Sam Kim, William Mouw, Cameron Sisk and Ryan Smith. The winner of the Challenge receives the Roger Lapham Cup.
Some of the other highlights of the day included:
–Don DuBois, who in 2005 defeated Joseph Bramlett to become one of the oldest winners at age 46, rolled back the clock. DuBois shot an opening round 1-under 71 on the Shore Course.
–There are two Noah Woolsey’s in the field, Noah from NorCal (Pleasanton) opened with a 71 on the Shore and Noah from SoCal (Murrieta) had a 73 on the Dunes, despite a 10 on the par-4 2nd hole.
–One of the shots of the day came from Granite Bay’s Gary Dunn. Dunn’s tee shot on the majestic par-3 14th on the Dunes flew into the rocks. But then bounced back up to within 3 feet of the pin.
June 19, 2019
The California Amateur Championship is one of the nation’s oldest state amateur golf championships and dates back to 1912 when the California Golf Association was founded. The California Amateur Championship was originally held at Del Monte GC but shifted to Pebble Beach Golf Links when it was built in 1919. The championship remained at Pebble Beach through 2006, with the exception of 2000 when it was played at Bayonet and Blackhorse GCs due to the U.S. Open being hosted at Pebble Beach. In 2006, the championship began a new tradition of rotating to courses around the state, alternating between Northern California and Southern California. The tournament has seen many top names including Ken Venturi in 1951, Johnny Miller in 1968, Bobby Clampett in 1978/1980, Duffy Waldorf in 1984 and Mark O’Meara in 1979. Standout golfers who have tried to win the title and failed, include Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Woods reached the semifinals in 1994 before falling to Ed Cuff. The oldest champion remains Vern Callison, who won in 1967 at the age of 47. Mac Hunter is the youngest champion, having won in 1972 at the age of 16.