ZALATORIS CLAIMS VICTORY:
WILL Zalatoris, a collegiate player with Wake Forest, came into round four two-strokes off the pace-setters in the final group. After teeing off on the first hole a group ahead of round three leaders Nahum Mendoza and Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Zalatoris exuded confidence in his quest to become champion.
After making bogey on the par-4 third hole, Zalatoris would correct his front nine by making a birdie-four on the diabolical par-5 seventh hole and another on the par-5 ninth hole to close out his outward half in one-under 35.
With the leaders behind him, Zalatoris made the turn in a position very familiar to him in his young amateur career – within striking distance of a title.
Hoey struggling to find the back of the cup on his day and falling out of contention coupled with Mendoza not wavering in his play nor climbing the leaderboard, the growing crowd of 100+ members and onlookers shared a nervous energy that the championship was going to go down to the wire.
After plunking a tee-shot into the green-side hazard on the par-3 16th, Zalatoris took two-steps back with a double-bogey five and went from one clear of Mendoza to one behind with only two holes remaining.
Zalatoris would make a clutch par on 17 and follow it up with making a clutch up-and-down birdie from 60 yards to close out his round at -4 on the 18th. He would post four-round totals of 74-69-70-72 (285). Then the nervous waiting game began.
Waiting at the scoring table, Zalatoris didn’t have the chance to see Mendoza approach the final green. Short-siding himself into the green-side bunker on his approach shot in two, Mendoza would not be able to get up-and-down for birdie, thus forcing extra holes.
The growing group of members watching the Palmer Cup graduates walk the fairways in extra holes, pressure was mounting for all of those in attendance, especially Mendoza and Zalatoris. Both would make pars on the first playoff hole and head to the second where Zalatoris would eventually tap in for par after a great approach and a conservative first putt to within three feet.
Mendoza, in a precarious spot behind the pin in the rough after a difficult approach shot into the green, would not be able to get up-and-down, allowing Zalatoris the opportunity to join a prestigious list of past champions to hoist the Dr. Ed Updegraff trophy.
Asked of his time at his second Pacific Coast Amateur, Zalatoris sung high praises of the venue and the championship experience.
“The course got drier and firmer all week. It was just in phenomenal shape, especially when you combined firm and fast. It was an absolute treat to be here.”
Not only did Zalatoris have high praises for the golf course and its staff, he shared an equally positive and memorable narrative about his competition this past week.
“Any time you have a field of 87 guys and almost every single guy can step up and win it, it is challenging. Playing against Nahum, a team mate of mine at the Palmer Cup, was a blast. This entire week has just been an absolute pleasure.”
“The list goes on-and-on. I could name all of the All-Americans that are here and Mid-Ams that have a tremendous track-record, it just feels good to win such a strong field,” Zalatoris said with a smile.
The 50th event proved memorable, with John Bodenhamer in attendance from the USGA to present a proclamation to the Pacific Coast Golf Association for the championship and its history.
Bodenhamer, the former Executive Director of the championship for over 20 years, addressed the crowd and mentioned how the USGA views the championship results when deciding on international team players. Zalatoris shared a personal goal that was accelerated by his performance at the Pacific Coast Amateur.
“One of my goals that I have kept quiet and really haven’t told anyone was to make the World Amateur team. That wasn’t a reality two months ago but it can be a reality now just because of winning this tournament.”
Finishing runner-up was Mendoza with rounds of 70-73-68-74 (285). Sitting in a tie for third at the conclusion was Ryann Ree of Rendondo Beach, Calif. (71-73-72-71-287) and first-round leader K.K. Limbhasut of Bangkok, Thailand (68-69-75-75-287).
Low Washingtonian for the event was Aaron Whalen of Ephrata with rounds of 71-70-72-69-289 (+1). In closing out his championship speech, Zalatoris provided many thanks to those in attendance and had one message for those on-looking.
“We will see you next year at Chambers.” The 2017 Pacific Coast Amateur Championship is set to take place July 25-28 2017 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
For final scores – Click here
PACIFIC COAST GOLF ASSOCIATION (Seattle, Wash.)– Following impressive rounds under-par by a pair of Californians, Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamongo and Nahum Mendoza of San Diego (pictured above) sit tied atop the leaderboard with 18-holes remaining at the 50th Pacific Coast Amateur hosted by Seattle Golf Club.
Fresh off a Morse Cup team victory the day prior, Hoey and Mendoza seemed to follow the same script. Playing in different groups, both players made their only bogeys on the par-4 third before ringing off birdies on the inward holes.
Hoey, a collegiate player with the University of Southern California, has posted rounds of 71-71-69 (211) to get himself into the tie with Mendoza at -5. Mendoza, playing out of San Diego State University, had a slightly more up-and-down line, carding totals of 70-73-68 to get to the same position of five-under.
K.K. Limbhasut of Bangkok, Thailand, lead after 36-holes but suffered a slight hiccup in round three thanks to a double-bogey on the par-3 eleventh hole. Sitting at -4 (68-69-75), Limbhasut will round out the final pairing for tomorrow.
Aaron Whalen of Ephrata, Wash., is well within striking distance of Mendoza and Hoey, needing to make up only two-shots to secure a tie for the lead after a 54-hole total of -3 (71-70-72). Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas has also moved into a viable position to lift the Dr. Ed Updegraff trophy as champion, carding rounds of 74-69-70 to sit tied in fourth with Whalen.
Final round action takes place tomorrow starting at 8:00am with the leaders challenging Seattle Golf Club at 10:10am.
EARLIER IN THE ROUND:
PACIFIC COAST GOLF ASSOCIATION (Seattle, Wash.)– K.K. Limbhasut, a native of Bangkok, Thailand and a member of the UC-Berkeley men’s golf program, takes the early lead at the 50th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at Seattle Golf Club.
Limbhasut, a weekly challenger in national ranked amateur championships across the globe, got off on the right foot by posting a four-under-par 68, one better than La Jolla, Calif. native Perry Cohen.
Starting his day in a gloomy, overcast setting, Limbhasut wasted no time, making birdie on the first hole and pacing himself nicely. After dropping a shot on the par-4 3rd, Limbhasut would go on to make back-to-back birdies on holes six and seven to go out in two-under 34.
He would continue his relentlessly consistent play, posting two more birdies on holes 14 and 16, leaving the speedy Seattle Golf Club for the day with only a single bogey, and a mirrored back nine of 34.
“I hit the ball great today,” mentioned Limbhasut after his round.
“I put myself in the fairway almost the entire day so that gave me a lot of birdie chances. I didn’t short-side myself so whenever I missed the green, I had simple chip shots. I am excited for tomorrow.”
Close behind Limbhasut is Cohen at three-under, and a group of talented players at two-under including Wodonga, Australia’s Zach Murray, Lake Mary, Fla.’s Carl Yuan and a trio of Californians in Shintaro Ban of San Jose, Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Nahum Mendoza of San Diego.
Two Washingtonian players are tied in eighth position, those being Aaron Whalen of Ephrata and Chris Babcock of Seattle.
In total, 13 players broke par at the undulating and picturesque Seattle Golf Club layout, paving the way for an exciting championship over the next three days of competition.
Defending Pacific Coast Amateur champion Corey Pereira of Cameron Park, Calif. struggled in his effort to add another Dr. Ed Updegraff trophy to his mantle, posting a first-round seven-over-par 79.
Taking place concurrently with the first and second rounds is the battle for the Morse Cup, a 36-hole stroke play team competition using predetermined rosters representing the 15 member Associations of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. Scores for the low two members of the team count.
Sitting alone at the top is the Southern California Golf Associations at four-under. Tight on their heels are a familiar foe in the Northern California Golf Association at even par and the Alberta Golf Association only two-back of Northern California at two-over. Northern California is the defending champion on the Morse Cup.
Held on an annual basis since 1967, with roots dating back to 1901, the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship boasts a rich history of showcasing some of the most talented golfers in the United States, Canada and beyond.
Past champions of the Pacific Coast Amateur who have gone on to successful careers include PGA Tour winners Billy Mayfair (1987, 1988), Jason Gore (1997) and Ben Crane (1998) as well as Web.com Tour winners and brothers Michael Putnam (2004) and Andrew Putnam (2010). Last year’s champion, Aaron Wise, has since hit the professional ranks and as such, is not defending.
For more information on the Championship, visit www.pacificcoastamateur.com. Spectators and Media are welcome to attend with entrance being free of charge. Play begins tomorrow at 7:50am PST.
For a full listing of round one scores, please click here