University of Oregon Duck Sophomore Aaron Wise of Lake Elsinore, California has etched his name in Pacific Coast Amateur history with an impressive final round at Eugene CC in Eugene, Oregon.
Coming into the final round, Wise sat two strokes back of third round leaders Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas and Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, Calif. Wise got off to a great start, making birdies on holes one and three to get to four under and into the lead he would never relinquish.
“Today was a great day,” stated Wise. “I got off to a hot start just as I had wanted to.”
Wise would make birdies on holes seven and eight, rounding the turn in a very impressive four-under par, six-under overall. Word travelled fast that he was making moves by way of standard bearers as Zalatoris, DeChambeau and Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley, Calif. in the group behind just couldn’t seem to get anything rolling into the back of the cup.
“Getting birdies at seven and eight was pretty incredible because those are two of the toughest holes on the golf course,” said Wise.
He would make another birdie on the 10th hole to get his round to seven-under, three ahead of anyone in the field at the time. He was in complete control of his game, not making any mistakes or getting into trouble. On the par-4 15th, he would make a birdie putt from 20-feet, seemingly wrapping up the title and putting everyone in the gallery on-course record watch. Then came the 16th.
With McNealy and a surging Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo as the only two guys at that point who could catch Wise, the Lake Elsinore native would block his drive on 16, sending it into the trees. After a smart punch out, he was unable to stop the bleeding, carding a double bogey and breathing life back into Hossler and McNealy.
“16 is a very tough hole, for the field and especially for me,” mentioned Wise after his round.
“I haven’t been able to figure out that tee shot all week. I hit it right again today, pitched out like I was supposed to then missed it left with my third and didn’t get up and down. I knew standing on 17 tee if I finished with two pars, I would have a pretty good chance of winning this thing.”
After a three-putt par for two-time SCGA Amateur Champ Hossler and a missed birdie for McNealy on 17, Wise needed only a par on 18 and at best a birdie on 18 from McNealy to seal the victory. McNealy would miss his birdie and tap in for par on the final hole to give Wise the impressive victory.
Asked what it meant to win the Pacific Coast Amateur on home Duck soil and join the likes of Ben Crane, a former member of the Ducks, Wise was noticeably struck with excitement.
“I was told he said good luck to me earlier this week through some people, so it’s awesome,” said Wise, who earlier this summer finished as the runner-up at the SCGA Amateur Championship at Oakmont CC. “Especially here at Eugene CC, being so close to home where I play every week, it is definitely special.”
Ben Crane, now a touring professional on the PGA TOUR, won the 1998 Pacific Coast Amateur at the Eugene CC and was a member of Oregon’s golf team. Wise is the first SCGA member since Jason Gore in 1997 to win the event.
Following along late in the afternoon was a swatch of Eugene members, a crowd that was impossible for Wise to ignore. He was asked what message he had to pass on to all of his hometown supporters after breathing a sigh of relief after victory.
“A huge thanks. Not only for this week but the whole year. Letting us come out here and practice. Being at a prestigious course very many times is awesome.”
Wise finished the Championship with rounds of 69-71-68-66-274 (-6). Finishing in a tie for second at four-under was McNealy (70-72-65-69) and Hossler (71-72-69-65) with 276 totals. In a tie for fourth were third round co-leaders Zalatoris (70-67-69-72) and DeChambeau (70-68-68-72) at 278, two-under.
Other notable leaderboard finishers were Jonathan Garrick of Atherton, California (73-73-69-66), Scottie Scheffler of Dallas, Texas (72-68-73-68) and Jared duToit of Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada (68-73-72-68). All three finished in a tie for 6th at 281.
The low Oregonian for the event Wise’s teammate at the University of Oregon Sulman Raza of Eugene. Raza finished with rounds of 75-66-73-30 (284), tied for 12th.
The 50th Pacific Coast Amateur is set to take place July 26th – 29th 2016 at the Seattle GC.