103rd California Amateur kicks off Monday
For just the fourth time in its 103-year existence, the California Amateur Championship will be held in Southern California, beginning Monday, June 16 at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad. The event gathers the best 156 amateur players in the state and puts them through 36 holes of stroke play before the low 32 competitors advance on to match play.
The Championship is one to win, as it has advanced the careers of past champions such as Jason Gore, Charlie Wi, Mark O’Meara, John Cook and Ken Venturi. It has also hosted a number of the game’s most famous names, who battled but never hoisted the trophy, men such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Corey Pavin and Craig Stadler.
Recently, California’s finest collegiate golfers have dominated the event, as the youngsters have won seven of the last eight playings of the Championship. Returning to defend his title is Cory McElyea of The University of San Francisco, who last year put together a phenomenal start to the summer season by qualifying for his first-ever U.S. Open before dominating at the California Amateur. He will look to become the first back-to-back winner since Dr. Frank Taylor in 1954-55.
Among the favorites to challenge McElyea for the title is Xander Schauffele of San Diego State, who is currently the top-ranked SoCal golfer on the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Schauffele has performed well in SoCal amateur majors the past two years, despite not yet winning. In 2012, he finished as runner-up in the SCGA Amateur Championship at Big Canyon CC. One year later, he earned medalist honors at the California Amateur Championship, before earning his second-straight runner-up finish at the SCGA Am, showing his dominance in stroke play.
But the State Am relies on a heavy dose of competence in match play, which truly makes it anyone’s game. “Once you get to match play, everyone really has a shot,” says Ed Cuff Jr., who has been competing in the Championship for more than 20 years. “At my age, that’s now the goal, to make it to match play, because it really can give you a chance.”
Cuff knows this championship about as well as anyone, having won it back in 1998 and earning medalist honors in 1999. But the moment everyone still talks about is his 1994 semifinals win, when he beat Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach to advance to the finals, ending Tiger’s best chance of winning the title.
Cuff, Schauffle, McElyea and the rest of the field tees off for the first round of stroke play June 16. Match play will begin June 18, with the 36-hole head-to-head final taking place Saturday, June 21. Follow all the action, including live scoring, video interviews and photos, at scga.org throughout the week or join us in person! The event is open to the public and complimentary self-parking is available on site.
Schedule of Events
Monday, June 16 - 154 players compete in stroke play. Tee times starting between 7:30-11:40 a.m. on both Champions and Legends Courses
Tuesday, June 17 - 154 players compete in stroke play. Tee times starting between 7:30-11:40 a.m. on both Champions and Legends Courses
Wednesday, June 18 - 32 competitors compete in first round of match play on Champions Course starting at 7:30 a.m.
Thursday, June 19 - 16 competitors compete in second round of match play on Champions Course starting at 7:30 a.m.
Friday, June 20 - Quarterfinal matches, followed by semifinal matches, on Champions Course starting at 7:30 a.m.
Saturday, June 21 - 36-hole final match on the Champions Course starting at 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.