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California State Amateur Championship at Omni La Costa
In a 36-hole final match that went down to the last hole, San Diego “hometown favorite” Zander Schauffele captured the 2014 California State Amateur Championship at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. But Pascuzzo & Pate Golf Course Design felt like a winner, too, seeing our two renovations – the Champions Course (which debuted in 2011) and the Legends Course (unveiled November 2013) – hold up equally well in one of the finest amateur competitions in the country.
Throughout the week of June 16-21, California’s elite amateurs (plus two from out of state) competed first in stroke-play qualifying on both courses, followed by match play on Champions only. The golf courses were set up to play to just under 7,000 yards every day but Friday, when Champions was set up longer for the quarterfinals and semifinals of match play.
For two days of stroke play, Champions played to an average of 76.002, roughly 4-over par, while Legends – also par 72, but with more wide open fairways and less penal bunkering – played to 76.559, slightly tougher. The first day, 3-under was low on each course; on the second day, there were two 68s on Champions, but nothing better than 69s on Legends. In the field of 154 players, 11 finished under par for 36 holes, with the medalist (Jason Anthony of Fairfield) at 140, 4-under par.
One aspect of Champions that showed up, particularly in the final match, was how its design lends itself to producing exciting golf – and great finishes.
In the final, Schauffele and Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo were lighting it up. Granted, it was match play, so they did not hole out everything, but they played well enough that Schauffele wound up with an unofficial 64, while Hossler had 66.
Schauffele, who will be a senior at San Diego State this fall, was 1 up through 32 holes. They both promptly made birdies on the par-4 15th and par-3 16th – made-for-TV theatrics (except the tournament is not televised). They halved the 17th with par 4s and then, with the tension at its peak, more great drama: Hossler – who just finished a stellar freshman season at the University of Texas — hit his drive into the water on the 18th hole. Schauffele went on to post a birdie for the win, 2 up.
And while the closing four holes on Champions are not the toughest on the course, they did not play as the easiest, either. (The toughest was the par-4 ninth, while the easiest was the par-5 sixth).
When only two players go low in a field as strong as the California State Amateur, it says the golf courses are strong, too. Cheers to the finalists for playing great golf all day.
They put on a heck of a show. And their “stage” wasn’t bad, either.