It’s not easy to make the match play portion of the California Amateur Championship. In fact, out of the 800 who try to qualify for the event, only 156 make the championship field for 36 holes of stroke play, and then only 20 percent of them make the final 32-man match play bracket.
But if you’re Satch Herrmann, the California Amateur Championship experience hasn’t been too tough so far. The 26 year old from Ventura, playing in his first California Amateur, put together a two-day total of 8-under-par 136 to earn medalist honors at the 104th playing of the event. Herrmann, who had never even attempted to qualify for the event before, earns the medalist’s Chandler H. Egan Trophy, adding his name to a list that includes Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Duffy Waldorf and Ken Venturi.
Herrmann carded rounds of 70 and 66 on Lake Merced GC, taking advantage of the course’s longer holes by going 4-under-par on par 4s and 4-under-par on par 5s. He would play par 3s even.
“I hit the ball longer, so coming into this I really wanted to take advantage of some reachable par 5s,” said Herrmann, who works in real estate. “The first day I didn’t do that, playing the par 5s even, but today I was able to take advantage.”
Herrmann had an unbelievable back nine in Round 2, playing the final eight holes in 6-under-par.
“Today on the back nine, it just worked out,” said Herrmann. “I sort of blacked out for a second there, but it worked!”
But while winning the stroke play portion of the event is nice, it’s really just the beginning. The top 32 competitors, who all shot 2-over-par 146 or better, will enter into match play Wednesday morning, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Herrmann will be the top seed, taking on Eric Sugimoto of San Diego.
A number of intriguing match ups highlight the event’s Round of 32, including one between 2012 SCGA Public Links Champion Dan Sullivan and Anaheim’s Puwit Anupansuebsai. Sullivan, 48, is the oldest player in the field to make match play, while Anupansuebsai is the bracket’s youngest competitor at just 15.
Other matches to watch include 19-year-old Ben Doyle of La Jolla versus 21-year-old Shotaro Ban of San Jose, both members of the Cal golf team, and UCLA’s Jake Knapp vs. Gonzaga-bound William Brueckner, who are both playing in match play for the second year in a row. Knapp, who was a co-leader after Round 1, is fresh off an appearance in the 2015 U.S. Open.
In the North/South Match, a two-day competition between the NCGA and SCGA, the Southern team won 713-737, giving the SCGA the win for the second year in a row.