California State Amateur
June 21-26, 2010
Rancho Santa Fe GC & La Jolla CC
- State Amateur Website
- Match Play Bracket
- Finals – Results
- Semifinals – Results
- Quarterfinals – Results
- Round of 16 Results
- Round of 32 Match Play Results
- Stroke-Play Qualifying Results
SCOTT TRAVERS CAPTURES STATE AMATEUR TITLE WITH A 4 AND 3 WIN OVER LA JOLLA’s HARRY RUDOLPH III
After five days of battling over the 99th California State Amateur trophy, youth overcame experience as 22-year-old Scott Travers of Trabuco Canyon defeated La Jolla’s Harry Rudolph, 40 and the 1991 champion, 4 and 3 for the state amateur crown at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
Travers, the 2010 West Coast Conference Player of the Year out of Santa Clara University, picked up his biggest amateur win to date, birdieing four of his first six holes in the 36-hole final and picking up an early 4-up lead that he maintained until the 33rd hole.
“I’ve really worked hard the last few weeks, and to be honest, the win still hasn’t hit me,” Travers said with a smile after the win. “I know as a player, you have to be able to finish tournaments and it’s a relief to do it.”
Travers took on the hometown favorite Rudolph, and amateur-champion-turned professional-turned-amateur who grew up playing golf with Phil Mickelson and played on powerhouse University of Arizona’s championship golf team in the early 1990s. Rudolph, owner of Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla and who opened the shop every morning at dawn before his 7:30 a.m. tee times, had more than 100 spectators in attendance, including his mom and four of his nine siblings.
It was Travers, however, that shined today, with unshakable focus and his eye on the prize. Not appearing fatigued at all, especially after playing 15 rounds of golf in 13 days thanks to last week’s Southwestern Amateur in San Diego, Travers carried his bag every round but today (when friend Mike Stewart stepped into save his back) and kept the same routine that was successful in prior rounds.
“My ball striking was hit or miss this week, but what I did well was put myself in good spots,” he said. “I putted awesome, everything rolled really true.”
With mom Barbara and dad Morse walking the course all week beside him, Travers birdied holes 1, 3, 4 and 6 to go 4-up against Rudolph’s solid pars. Rudolph gathered an uncharacteristic five bogeys in 33 holes and was as much as 5 down on the 10th hole. He followed up with an eagle-3 on the par-5 11th and would close the gap to 2 thanks to a Travers bogey on 12 and Rudolph birdieing the par-3 14th, but couldn’t overcome the deficit.
“My family knew how badly I wanted to win,” he said. “It was so nice to have them here. I’ve had some really close calls, and it was time to win.”
Those close calls include coming in third, second and second in three consecutive college tournaments this year, although, he noted, the State Amateur win exceeded his expectations as far as winning a major amateur event.
As for Rudolph, the loss is bittersweet.
“Am I disappointed? Absolutely,” Rudolph said afterward. “I didn’t quite have my game today, it seemed all my yardages were tweeners that I didn’t have the right club for. I just never got it close, and I was having to save par the whole time.”
A MATCH FOR THE AGES: RUDOLPH AND TRAVERS ADVANCE TO 99th CALIFORNIA STATE AMATEUR FINALS
JUNE 25 — One is a hometown hero, a former amateur champion-turned-pro-turned-amateur gifted in the game. The other, the 2010 West Coast Conference college player of the year with uncompromised focus and a drive to win. Tomorrow, the two will duke it out to determine the 99th California State Amateur champion at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
In a battle of experience, Harry Rudolph III, 40, the No. 5 seed from La Jolla and 1991 California Amateur champion, defeated two-time SCGA Amateur champion and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin Marsh, 37, of Henderson, Nev., 1 up in the semifinal round.
In the battle of youth, Scott Travers, 22, of Trabuco Canyon, a golfer for Santa Clara who’s only played three match play events in his career, topped Grant Norton, 22, of Rancho Murieta, also an accomplished college player out of Sacramento State.
Rudolph advanced by way of dismissing 2010 Southwestern Amateur champion Estanislao Guerrero, 25, of San Diego, 5 and 3 this morning, while Travers defeated multiple NCGA champion Randy Haag, 51, of Burlingame, 3 and 2.
Rudolph has been the fan favorite of the event. More than 75 spectators — including family, casual friends, friends from elementary school, and others, walked behind the golfer as he and Marsh played what Rudolph called a “slugfest the entire time.”
Rudolph took an early lead in his semifinal match, quickly going 3 up thanks to a par-birdie-birdie string on the first three holes. As quickly as he did so, the tables turned, however, when Marsh, in the span of four holes, gained a 1-up lead, which he would increase to 2-up and maintain until the 15th hole. He stuck shot after shot, including the par-3 seventh hole, which he hit his tee shot to just over a foot for birdie (although Rudolph just missed a chip-in for birdie and collected par).
“Being 2 down with five holes to go, I was thinking, ‘Just keep going,” Rudolph later said.
He did, and in a major momentum shift, sunk a par putt on 14 that “was huge,” Rudolph noted. “There were two or three turning points in the match, and that was one of them. Making that putt gave me a boost.”
Marsh (who knocked out semi-finalist and No. 1 seed Scott Almquist of Coto de Caza this morning, 3 and 2) would bogey 14 and 15 to Rudolph’s pars, and after a bunker shot on 17 that was “a phenomenal bunker shot and the perfect timing,” the duo entered the 18th hole all square. Rudolph nailed a birdie putt, punctuated with a fist pump and roar of the crowd, that secured him the win.
“I feel great, no fatigue,” Rudolph said. “This match felt like a final, but 36 holes, that is what we play for.”
With his family walking alongside him, Travers has been the epitome of focus through each round, locked into a routine that’s included no caddie (although he may have one on the bag for the 36-hole finale), no push cart, and nothing new or different.
“He hasn’t wanted to mess with his routine at all,” said Travers’ mom, Barbara. “He’s been very intense and has shown little emotion out there, no matter what’s going on. We’ve probably been more nervous than he has.”
Travers never lost the lead in his match against Norton, who since the 12th hole of his morning round (where he defeated co-medalist Kevin Fitzgerald of Riverside, 3 and 1) played without a driver, thanks to a cracked driver face. Norton would have another driver delivered to him on the sixth hole during the semifinal, and although he’d gain a hole back to close the gap to two holes, he began to falter.
Travers, on the other hand, collected five birdies in the match, including a dramatic final putt on 15 that bounced around, stopped, then dropped in to close the match out.
“My goal was just to play solid and get through stroke play,” Travers said. “After that, each match play round is like a different tournament with a clean start.”
And what are his thoughts on playing Rudolph? “I can’t be focused on the other players,” he said, “I can only be focused on my own game.”
The 36-hole final round tees off at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, with the second 18 beginning at noon.
MEDALISTS, NCGA PLAYER OF THE YEAR RANDY HAAG ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS
JUNE 24 — Scott Almquist is the quintessential family man – a business owner, a husband and the father of three teenage girls that sets up home base in Coto de Caza. Despite an already full schedule, however, he’s managed to carve a little time out to not only co-medal in the 99th California State Amateur Championship, but advance to the quarterfinals at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
Almquist, 45, leads a group of experienced players who dominated youth and move on to the next round: Kevin Marsh, 37, of Henderson, Nev., Randy Haag, 51, of Burlingame, and Harry Rudolph III, 40, of La Jolla, the 1991 California State Amateur Champion.
Almquist, the No. 1 seed, defeated Spencer Fletcher of Los Altos, a 20-year-old Arizona State University golfer and No. 17 seed, with a margin of 4 and 3. It’s an upset for Fletcher, who beat Jason Bittick 5 and 4 in yesterday’s Round of 32. “I came out of the games today thinking I had to shoot all pars, after seeing how Spencer played yesterday,” Almquist said. “I made a few key birdies out there, starting on hole 8. I like this course, you can’t fake it out here. You just have to play well.” Almquist, a Tustin native, actually had baseball and pre-med dreams in mind when he entered UCLA in the early 1980s. After “riding the bench,” he said, for the first year, however, friend Dennis Paulson suggested that Almquist join San Diego State University’s golf team. He did, Paulson and Almquist were roommates, and Almquist would go on to be the team’s No. 1 player. Paulson, on the other hand, would go on to be one of the PGA Tour’s bigger names. Paulson has walked alongside Almquist at the tournament for the last two days. “Dennis is a great friend, and has been since we were teenagers,” Almquist said. “He teaches me and supports me.”
Haag, the four-time NCGA Player of the Year, defeated 20-year-old Jake Johnson of Cameron Park (No. 27), 3 and 2. Haag, who’s covering the championship on his personal blog at www.randyhaag.com, hasn’t qualified for the match play portion of the championship in 10 years, always faltering in a stroke-play round, he said. “I’m still looking for that one round that all comes together.” Haag, a life-long amateur who had son Nicholas on the bag today, is a match-play veteran, having won 22 USGA matches in the 90s and many in NCGA and Northern California events as well. “I love the format,” he said. “It gives someone like myself a better chance in the tournament.”
Marsh’s match against Fremont’s Taylor Travis, 22, the No. 9 seed, ended in dramatic fashion as Marsh sank a six-foot putt for par to maintain his 1-up lead. Marsh was behind in the match until the 10th hole, when he squared the match with an eagle-2, a follow-up to a 40-foot chip-in eagle-3 on the par-5 eighth. In his 6-under-par 66 (which Travis also shot), the No. 8-seed Marsh had only 22 putts, including one-putting the last six holes. “Taylor played great, but I just made every single putt I looked at,” Marsh said. “It was great, I think the [age and play] experience really helps – you just gotta keep plugging away out there.”
In other matches:
No. 2 seed and co-medalist Kevin Fitzgerald, 22, of Riverside, defeated Michael Drake, 22, of Fontana, 7 and 5. Fitzgerald, a UC Riverside golfer, had only played one match in his career prior to the match-play portion of the California Amateur. Drake, an alternate who got into the tournament on Monday morning, won the recent Long Beach City Match Play Championship.
No. 29 seed Estanislao Guerrero, 24, of San Diego, defeated No. 13 seed Justin Warthen, 25, of Arroyo Grande, 4 and 2. Guerrero is the 2010 Southwestern Amateur champion, and broke open what was a tight match on the 11th hole, taking advantage of a string of Warthen bogeys for the win.
No. 5 seed Rudolph, 40, of La Jolla, defeated No. 12-seed Anton Arboleda, 17, of La Canada, 2 and 1. Rudolph birdied the par-4 first hole today to take a 1-up lead, which he never lost. Arboleda has committed to play at UCLA in the fall.
No. 7 seed Grant Norton, 22, of Rancho Murieta defeated No. 10 seed Tyler Crawford, 36, of Rancho Mirage, 2 and 1. Crawford was 2 up after nine holes, but a birdie by Norton on 10, and a string of three consecutive bogeys by Crawford on holes 12-14 secured the match to Norton’s advantage.
No. 19 seed Scott Travers, 21, of Trabuco Canyon, defeated No. 30 seed Matt Williams, 19, of San Jose.
The quarterfinals and semifinals both take place tomorrow, with quarterfinal play commencing at 7:30 a.m. Semifinals begin at 1:00 p.m. Quarterfinal pairings are:
7:30 a.m.: Almquist vs. Marsh
7:40 a.m.: Guerrero vs. Rudolph
7:50 a.m.: Fitzgerald vs. Norton
8:00 a.m.: Travers vs. Haag
MEDALISTS, PAST CHAMPION RUDOLPH ADVANCE TO ROUND OF 16 AT 99th CALIFORNIA STATE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
June 23, 2010 — Age was certainly just a number during the Round of 32, as both medalists, as well as 1991 California State Amateur champion Harry Rudolph III, advanced to the Round of 16 at the 99th California State Amateur Championship at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
In one of the bigger matches of the day, Rudolph, 40 and the No. 5 seed, took down defending champion and 28-seed Geoff Gonzalez of Diablo, a 22-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo golfer, 4 and 2.
Co-medalist Scott Almquist, 45, of Coto de Caza, the No. 1 seed, advanced against Sam Yi, 18, of Northridge, 2 and 1. The No. 2 seed and other co-medalist, Kevin Fitzgerald of Riverside, took out Canyon Lake’s Robert Funk, 45, with a margin of 3 and 2. Both will attempt to follow in Gonzalez’ footsteps of becoming the next California State Amateur medalist-champion.
The field’s oldest player, four-time NCGA Player of the Year Randy Haag of Burlingame, 51 and the No. 11 seed, took out 21-year-old EJ Kahn of Los Angeles, a golfer for the University of San Francisco.
In other matches:
No. 17 seed Spencer Fletcher of Los Altos, 20, defeated No. 16-seed Jason Bittick, 42, of Ladera Ranch in the biggest margin of the day — 5 and 4. On the eighth hole, Fletcher chipped in for birdie-3, what spectators noted seemed to be the turning point of the match.
No. 8 seed Kevin Marsh, 37, of Henderson, Nev., defeated No. 25-seed Dan Jennings, 38, of Los Angeles, 3 and 2. While the match was all square for the first five holes, Marsh, the 2009 Stocker Cup champion, increased his lead after going 1-up on the eighth hole. Marsh is a two-time SCGA Amateur champion and past U.S. Mid-Amateur champion.
No. 9 seed Taylor Travis, 19, of Fremont, defeated No. 24 seed Pete Fernandez, Jr., 18, of Bakersfield, 2 and 1. Travis is a two-time NCGA Four-Ball champion.
No. 29 seed Estanislao Guerrero, 24, of San Diego defeated No. 4 seed and UC Davis golfer Eric Mina, 21, of Fremont, in 20 holes. Guerrero is the 2010 Southwestern Amateur champion. Down for the entire match, Mina made a run and won holes 16-18, thanks to a birdie along with two bogeys from Guerrero to square the match, but bogeyed the 20th hole to give Guerrero the win.
No. 13 seed Justin Warthen, 25, of Arroyo Grande defeated No. 20 seed Jonny Baxter, 19, of Pleasanton, 3 and 2. Warthen had brother and professional golfer Josh Warthen on the bag.
No. 17 seed Anton Arboleda, 17, of La Canada, defeated No. 21 seed John Kollus, 31, of San Diego, in 19 holes. Arboleda is the youngest contestant left in the field, and the 2010 AJGA Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic champion.
No. 15 seed Michael Drake, 22, of Fontana and Long Beach State, defeated No. 18 seed Scott Clayton, 22, of San Bernardino, in 20 holes. Drake, a stand-by alternate who got into the field on Monday morning, won last week’s Long Beach City Match Play Championship.
No. 7 seed Grant Norton, 22, of Rancho Murieta, defeated No. 26 seed Kevin Dougherty, 19, of Murrieta, 4 and 3. Dougherty, a golfer at Oklahoma State, won the 2009 CIF-Southern Regional and State championships.
No. 10 seed Tyler Crawford, 36, of Rancho Mirage, defeated No. 23 seed Josh Dupont, 21, of Poway, 5 and 3. With a 1-up lead on the sixth hole, Crawford built up his lead and was never behind in the match.
No. 30 seed Matt Williams, 19, of San Jose, defeated No. 3 seed Todd Pieri, 34, of Simi Valley, 1 up. Williams was a quarterfinalist at the 2009 NCGA Match Play Championship.
No. 19 seed Scott Travers, 21, of Trabuco Canyon, defeated No. 14 seed Maximilian Greil, 22, of Irvine, 5 and 4.
No. 20 seed Jake Johnson, 20, of Cameron Park, defeated No. 6 seed Patrick Cantlay, 17, of Los Alamitos. Cantlay is the 2010 CIF-State High School Boys champion.
The Round of 16 will commence tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. Pairings are as follows:
7:30 a.m.: Almquist (1) vs. Fletcher (17)
7:40 a.m.: Marsh (8) vs. Travis (9)
7:50 a.m.: Guerrero (29) vs. Warthen (13)
8:00 a.m.: Rudolph (5) vs. Arboleda (12)
8:10 a.m.: Fitzgerald (2) vs. Drake (15)
8:20 a.m.: Norton (7) vs. Crawford (10)
8:30 a.m.: Williams (30) vs. Travers (19)
8:40 a.m.: Johnson (27) vs. Haag (11)
Almquist, Fitzgerald earn co-medalist honors at 99th California State Amateur Championship
JUNE 22 — Scott Almquist of Coto de Caza and Kevin Fitzgerald of Riverside each shot 70-71–141 in stroke-play rounds, to earn co-medalist honors at the 99th California State Amateur Championship at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club and La Jolla Country Club.
Almquist, 45, will be the No. 1 seed in tomorrow’s match play competition, which will pit him against the No. 32 seed Sam Yi of Northridge.
Fitzgerald, 22, is No. 2 seed and will tee off against Robert Funk, No. 31 seed, of Canyon Lake. Both Funk and Yi qualified in a 10-for-3 playoff for the final spots.
“I didn’t putt well today, and three-putted on 17 because I was being aggressive,” said Almquist after his medalist status was final. “All I wanted to do was make match play, but I don’t have any expectations on how I’ll finish. I just think Rancho Santa Fe is a fantastic course.”
Fizgerald, a Political Science junior at UC Riverside, has “only played one match in my life, and that was in November,” he said. “It should be interesting. Today’s round at La Jolla was a tough one, I felt like I really had to defend par.”
Eric Mina of Fremont is the top-seeded player from Northern California. The Cal rising senior secured the 4th seed and last month captured the PAC-10 individual championship.
Southern California defended its Roger Lapham team title, a competition against a six-man team from Northern California that is played concurrently with stroke play. With the best five of six scores counted toward the team total, the Southern California team defeated Northern California, 723-727. After today’s stroke-play qualifying, the field was cut to the low 32 for match play seeding, with a cutline at 4-over-par 148. Twenty-one of the 32 match play contestants are from Southern California. Matches tomorrow include:
7:30 a.m.: Almquist (No. 1) versus Sam Yi (No. 32) of Northridge.
7:39 a.m.: Jason Bittick of Ladera Ranch (No. 16) versus Spencer Fletcher (No. 17) of Los Altos.
7:48 a.m.: Kevin Marsh (No. 8) of Henderson, Nev., the 1996 and 2008 SCGA Amateur champion, versus Dan Jennings (No. 25) of Los Angeles.
7:57 a.m.: Taylor Travis (No. 9) of Fremont, the 2008-09 NCGA Four-Ball champion, versus Pete Fernandez, Jr. (No. 24) of Bakersfield.
8:06 a.m.: Eric Mina (No. 4) of Fremont, the 2010 Pac-10 Conference champion, versus Estanislao Guerrero (No. 29) of San Diego, the 2010 Southwestern Amateur champion.
8:15 a.m.: Justin Warthen (No. 13) of Arroyo Grande versus Johnny Baxter (No. 20) of Pleasanton.
8:24 a.m.: Harry Rudolph III (No. 5) of La Jolla, the 1991 California State Amateur champion, versus defending champion Geoff Gonzalez of San Luis Obispo (No. 28).
8:33 a.m.: Anton Arboleda (No. 12) of La Canada versus John Kollus (No. 21) of San Diego, a U.S. Open Sectional qualifier.
8:42 a.m.: Fitzgerald (No. 2) of Riverside versus Robert Funk (No. 31) of Canyon Lake, the 2006 SCGA Mid-Amateur champion.
8:51 a.m.: Michael Drake (No. 15) of Riverside, the 2010 Long Beach Match Play champion, versus Scott Clayton (No. 18) of San Bernardino.
9:00 a.m.: Grant Norton (No. 7) of Rancho Murieta versus Kevin Dougherty (No. 26) of Murrieta, the 2009 CIF-SCGA Southern Regional and State champion.
9:09 a.m.: Tyler Crawford (No. 10) of Rancho Mirage versus Josh Dupont (No. 23) of Poway.
9:18 a.m.: Todd Pieri (No. 3) of Simi Valley versus Matt Williams (No. 30) of San Jose.
9:27 a.m.: Maximilian Greil (No. 14) of Irvine versus Scott Travers (No. 19) of Trabuco Canyon.
9:36 a.m.: Patrick Cantlay (No. 6) of Los Alamitos, the 2010 CIF-State High School Boys champion, versus Jake Johnson (No. 27) of Cameron Park.
9:45 a.m.: Randy Haag (No. 11) of Burlingame, four-time NCGA player of the year, versus EJ Kahn (No. 22) of Los Angeles.
The California Amateur – A Tradition of Great History
By Neal Hotelling
The California Amateur represents the best of golf in the West and has produced many great champions. A 20-year-old William Lawson Little, II won the medal in 1930 before losing a quarterfinal match to eventual winner Francis Brown. Little went on to fame by winning the U.S. and British Amateurs back-to-back in 1934 and 1935, and then the U.S. Open in 1940. Other U.S. Open winners that earlier competed in the California Amateur include Gene Littler, Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller, Scott Simpson, Corey Pavin and Tiger Woods.
But the tradition of great golf goes back to the earliest champions. John Francis “Jack” Neville was the first champion and continues as the only five-time winner of the California Amateur (1912, ’13, ’19, ’22, ’29). In 1911, at the age of 20, he made his first strong showing at a state level.
The next year at the Del Monte Championships the California Golf Association was born with Percy Selby of Burlingame CC as its first president. A big debate came down to whether the Del Monte Championship should stand as the State Amateur. When it came down to a rematch of Neville and Armstrong, this time with Neville winning 2-up in the final, the SCGA contingent insisted there be a separate championship which was held the next weekend.
Neville’s third victory was in 1919 and the last championship match played on Del Monte Golf Course. His fourth victory came in 1922 on Pebble Beach Golf Links which he co-designed with Douglas Grant. The win earned him a berth on the victorious 1923 U.S. Walker Cup team. His fifth victory in 1929 won the honor of being paired with Bobby Jones in the medal rounds of the 1929 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.
While Neville’s amateur golfing prowess is legendary, another important early winner of the California Amateur was George Von Elm, the 1925 champion, then of Los Angeles. He began his golfing career in Utah; won the Pacific Northwest championship in 1921 and ’22, the SCGA Amateur in 1922, and reached the finals of the 1924 U.S. Amateur, losing to Bobby Jones 9&8 at Merion. In 1925, the youthful star of western golf won the Southern California Open in February, the NCGA Amateur in March, and the SCGA Amateur in April. That summer he headed east for the 1925 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont where he defeated 1921 U.S. Amateur Champion Jesse Guilford in the quarterfinals before again losing to Bobby Jones, that time 7&6 in the semifinals.
In 1926 Von Elm joined Jones, Francis Ouimet and others on a spring trip to St. Andrews as a member of the Walker Cup Team. Back in the U.S. he again faced Bobby Jones at the U.S. Amateur at Baltusrol; this time he defeated the two-time defending champion 2&1 in the finals to capture the national crown.
Rancho Santa Fe GC and La Jolla CC are the stage for this year’s competition. With defending champion Geoff Gonzalez from Diablo headlining a talented playing field many more stories will be told in the rich tradition that is the California Amateur.
Neal Hotelling is Director of Licensing at Pebble Beach Company, and an award-winning author of multiple books, including his newest, “Pebble Beach: The Official Golf History” (Triumph Books, 2009).