July 20, 2019
When the moment sank in that she had accomplished her goal, 15-year-old Riverside resident Amari Avery let loose a big smile.
That can happen when you’re a State champion.
The No.11 seeded Avery, who was featured in the 2013 documentary, “The Short Game,” captured her biggest victory yet Saturday at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley, winning the annual California Women’s Amateur Championship, 3 and 2, over runner-up Aman Sangha of San Mateo.
With the win, Avery joins an illustrious of champions including Juli Inkster (1981), Patty Sheehan (1977-’78) and Amy Alcott (1973).
“It feels great,” said Avery, who hadn’t tasted victory in over a year. “It means a lot to win something that so many great players have won.”
Avery, who’s home schooled and got into golf via her father, Andre, trailed by one when Sangha, the No.24 seed, beat her with a par on the par-3 12th.
After that, however, it was all Avery. She’d first get going on the par-4 13th by draining a 30-footer for birdie to again tie things up.
On the ensuing par-5 14th, Avery used her length (she averages 270 off the tee) to easily reach the green in two and set herself up for a near tap-in birdie. Sangha, meanwhile, would have to settle for par.
A hole later on the par-5 15th, Avery again bombed a drive. She’d again reach the green in two, setting herself up for another easy birdie. This time, Sangha had a chance to counter, as she’d leave a beautiful 80-yard wedge shot just a few feet from the flagstick. Sangha’s putt to tie the hole lipped out, however, upping Avery’s lead to 2-up.
“I really thought I had that putt,” said the 21-year-old Sangha, a collegiate player who’s looking to transfer to CSU-Northridge where her sister, Kiran, plays. “It just lipped out.”
“The 14th hole, I knew that was a go-getter,” said Avery, who again had her younger sister, Alona, on the bag as caddie. “On the 15th, I didn’t really think I could go for it in two. I took a risk and it worked out.”
On the 16th, needing at least a tie to keep the match going, Sangha saw her approach shot run through the green to the back fringe. Avery, who was again about 80 yards further down the fairway off the tee, knocked her approach to within 15 feet of the pin. Sangha’s birdie putt raced past the cup, and she was unable to make her par putt, sealing the win for Avery.
“it’s a really long week, but it was great” Avery said. “You’ve got to stay focused all the time.”
July 19, 2019
It’s going to be the 21-year-old veteran against the rookie 15-year-old.
San Mateo’s Aman Sangha, a college player looking to transfer to CSU-Northridge and Amari Avery, a home-schooled sophomore from Riverside, will meet in Saturday’s 18-hole final of this week’s annual California Women’s Amateur Championship after both advanced through Friday’s quarterfinals and semifinals at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley.
For Sangha, getting a spot in the final was bittersweet. She’d have to defeat her younger sister, Kiran, on the 19th hole in the semifinals after the two finished regulation tied. On the first playoff hole (the par-4 16th), Aman, despite finding the fairway bunker with her drive, was able to find the green in two and went on to two-putt from 35 feet for a par. Kiran, meanwhile, found her approach shot landing in the greenside bunker. She was unable to save par.
The last time the two sisters played each other was at the 2018 San Francisco City. There, Kiran, who already plays at CSU-Northridge, got the win.
“It’s fun. We try to be competitive but not too competitive,” Aman said. “We really just want to make each other happy.”
Aman, who had family friend Leo on the bag as caddie, was in control early on. A birdie on the 9th gave her a 2-up lead. But the No.21 seeded Kiran, who had their younger sister Hannah as her caddie, birdied No.10 and No.13 to even things back up.
Kiran later went 1-up when Aman bogeyed the par-5 15th, but Aman was able to get that hole back on the closing 18th when Kiran made bogey.
In Saturday’s final, Aman, who finished runner-up at this year’s San Francisco City, said she’d stick with Leo as her caddie. Kiran will have to spectate.
“I just want to keep staying positive,” said the No.24 seeded Aman, who’s competed in the CWAC multiple times. “It’s been a great week.”
Avery, who was featured in the 2013 documentary, “The Short Game,” also had to earn her spot in the final. The No.11 seed, Avery looked to be in complete control early on in her semifinals match against No.18 Annika Borrelli. Through just the first six holes, Avery would build a 4-up lead.
Borrelli, who plays at University of San Francisco, didn’t flinch however. With birdies wins on Nos. 7 and No.9 and then a par win on No. 10, Borrelli cut Avery’s lead to just 1-up.
Avery, who had her younger sister as caddie, came back with a birdie of her own on the 14th to again make it 2-up. But Borrelli again came back, winning the 15th with a bogey and 16th with a par to tie the match up.
On the ensuing 17th, Avery took a 1-up lead when Borrelli bogeyed. Still alive, Borrelli had to settle for matching pars on the closing 18th, giving Avery the 1-up victory.
“When my lead slipped away I just told myself to keep swinging, to just play my game,” Avery said. “I love match play. I feel like I don’t have to think so much about my score.”
In the morning quarterfinals, Avery cruised by Long Beach State’s Maria Davis, 7 and 5. Borrelli also won big, knocking out Kaitlin Shee, 5 and 4.
The Sangha sisters literally took the same track. Both won their quarterfinals matches, 4 and 3.
Sunday’s 18-hole final will tee off at 7:30 a.m.
July 18, 2019
The umpredicatability of match play was on full display as the Round of 32 and Round of 16 of this week’s California Women’s Amateur Championship were held Thursday at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley.
No.1 seed Quynn Duong, who plays at Gonzaga University, was sent home in the Round of 16, falling 4 and 3 to No.17 Elizabeth Scholtes. Earlier in the morning, No.2 Kaleiya Romero was eliminated via a 1-up loss to No.31 Julianne Alvarez of Seattle.
Also being shown the exit was No.3 Alice Duan of Reno, who lost to No.19 Maria Davis of Vallejo, 2-up, in the Round of 16.
The highest seed remaining in the brackets is No.4 Jackie Lucena of Chico. An incloming freshman at UC Davis, Lucena was able to avoid the upset. She’d open with a 3 and 2 morning win and follow that up with a comfy 4 and 3 win over No.20 Nicole Schroeder.
Scholtes, a sophomore at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and the big bracket buster, had three birdies (holes Nos. 6, 10 and 14) in dispatching Duong. Scholtes’ big move came on the front-nine, where she built a 3-up lead. The birdie on the 10th made it 4-up, and Duong was never able to recover.
A former star at Alameda High, Scholtes next will take on college sophomore Aman Sangha in the quarterfinals. Sangha, the No.24 seed, got her day going by making birdie on the 19th hole (par-5 1st) in the morning to squeak by No.9 Sienna Lyford. Later, Sangha knocked out No.25 Kristine Tran, 2 and 1.
If things break the right way, Sangha could face her sister, No.21 seeded Kiran, in Friday’s afternoon semifinals. Kiran Sangha, who plays at CSU-Northridge, will next take on Lucena.
The Davis-Duan match had been tied through 14 holes when Davis evened things up with a par win. Duan won the par-5 15th hole with a statement eagle, but Davis came back to win the 16th when Duan made double-bogey. Davis, who plays at Long Beach State, won both the 17th and 18th holes with pars to eliminate Duan.
Davis will next take on No.11 Amari Averyof Riverside in the quarterfinals. Avery, who was featured in the 2013 documentary, “The Short Game,” defeated No.6 Alexis Kim, 3 and 2, in the Round of 16.
The other quarterfinals match will see No.26 Kaitleen Shee of Irvine taking on No.18 Annika Borrelli. Shee is a senior at St. John’s University, while Borrelli plays at University of San Francisco.
Friday’s quarterfinals will begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by the semifinals at 1 p.m.
July 17, 2019
The brackets are set.
A pair of Northern California players— Quynn Duong (above, right) and Kaleiya Romero (above, left) earned the No.1 and No.2 seeds, respectively, for match play at this week’s California Women’s Amateur Championship as stroke play qualifying concluded Wednesday at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley.
Duong, who plays at Gonzaga University, followed up an opening round 68 with a 73 to come in at 1-under 141. Romero, who’s still in high school but has already committed to Pepperdine University, shot a second round 71 to also come in at 141 as the two shared medalist honors.
In Wednesday’s Round of 32 of match play, Duong will take on No.32 Vanessa Richani of Granite Bay. Richani was one of two players advancing through a six-for-two playoff to earn the final seeds in the brackets.
Romero will face No.31 Julianne Alvarez of Seattle on the other side of the brackets.
The No.3 seed spot went to Reno’s Alice Duan at 146 following a second round 70. Duan, a senior at the University of Washington, will take on No.30 Jun Linette of Cupertino in the Round of 32.
The No.4 seed, Jackie Lucena, a freshman at UC Davis, will face No.29 Skyler May to open match play.
The course has been favorable when it comes to good fortune. On Tuesday, Nicole Foster aced the par-3 2nd hole. On Wednesday, Meredith McDougal and Skyler May both aced the 154-yard par-3 17th.
At the men’s California Amateur, being the No.1 seed has been a curse. The last medalist-champion remains Geoff Gonzalez in 2009. At the CWAC, the No.1 seed has been blessed. Two of the last three years, the No.1 seed went on to win the title (last year Ty Akabane, 2016 Sabrina Iqbal).
Thursday’s action will also feature the Round of 16 in the afternoon.
Former champions of the event include MIna Harigae (2001-2004), Dorothy Delasin (1996) and Juli Inkster (1981).
July 16, 2019
Getting a coveted spot in the match play brackets.
That was the main goal as play began Tuesday at this week’s annual California Women’s Amateur Championship at par-71 Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley.
Leading the way early on was Gonzaga sophomore Quynn Duong, who posted a solid score of 3-under 68 in the first round of stroke play qualifying. Duong, a former standout at Valley Christian High in San Jose, was flawless on the back-nine, carding a bogey free, 3-under 33 thanks to three birdies.
Three players–Katherine Sung, Marissa Mar and Kaleiya Romero–all finished the day tied for second with scores of 70. A high school senior, Sung had three birdies and a double-bogey on the 10th. Mar, who formerly played at Stanford, had two birdies and a bogey while Romero, who’s verbally committed to Pepperdine for 2021, had four birdies and three bogeys. Romero started strong at the start, posting a 31 on the front-nine.
Amari Avery of Riverside, who was featured in the 2013 documentary, “The Short Game,” from the 2012 U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in Pinehurst, N.C, is T-5 with Simar Singh at 71. Singh won the 2015 California Junior Girls’ State crown.
Following Wednesday’s second round, a cut will be made with the low 32 advancing to match play. Both the Rounds of 32 and 16 will be held Thursday. The quarterfinals and semifinals will then take place Friday, with the 18-hole final to be held Saturday morning.
Former champions of the event include MIna Harigae (2001-2004), Dorothy Delasin (1996) and Juli Inkster (1981).