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SCGA Amateur Championship

July 13-15, 2018 at La Jolla CC

This is the longest standing championship conducted by the SCGA. Started in 1900, this event crowns the best amateur player of the Association. Since the inaugural event, the SCGA Amateur has enjoyed an illustrious history of great champions, including Tiger Woods and Al Geiberger to more recent stars including Beau Hossler and Patrick Cantlay. The event is open to members with a Handicap Index of 5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes of qualifying play in order to reach the final field of 84 players. In the Championship, players compete over 72 holes of stroke play with the top 42 and ties advancing after the first 36 holes. The championship site is traditionally held at the home club of the current SCGA President.

Championship Info Player Handbook Hotels

Exemptions Qualifying Results

Sam Choi Makes History at 118th SCGA Amateur

Photos Results

History was made Sunday at Mission Hills CC, and not just because for the first time in its 118-year history the SCGA Amateur Championship was held in the Coachella Valley.

Sam Choi, at just 17 years and one month of age, topped the rest of the field by five shots to become the youngest winner in the event’s long and prestigious history.

“It’s an honor to win this historical tournament,” said Choi, a rising senior at Anaheim Discovery Christian School.

Going to bed Saturday night with a 3-stroke advantage, Choi had to sleep on the biggest lead of his young career. Having just come off back-to-back bogey-free rounds on Days 2 and 3 of the Championship, Choi looked to be in cruise control, ending Round 3 three strokes ahead of recent USC graduate Danny Ochoa and six shots better than the rest of the field. But being on top of the leaderboard isn't always easy.

"I was so nervous last night," said Choi. "I basically just watched a lot of PGA TOUR and European Tour golf and tried to stay distracted. But when I got to the golf course today I was definitely nervous."

If he was nervous, it barely showed. Despite carding a bogey on the 5th hole, his first scorecard blemish in an astonishing 45 holes, Choi looked unflappable. He played the front nine in even par.

"I was hitting some disappointing shots on the front nine," said a humble Choi.

But it's Ochoa who will probably look back at that front nine as the one that got away. Entering the day in solo second place, Ochoa hit his first tee shot of the day OB, having to play a provisional and settle for a double bogey, quickly putting him five shots off the lead. The Carlsbad native would quickly right the ship, carding an easy birdie on the par-5 second hole before playing the rest of the front nine in even par.

However, it was the missed opportunities that followed that would allow Choi to keep his commanding lead. After Choi's bogey on the 5th hole, Ochoa was three shots off the lead, back to where he began the day. He would then put some pressure on Choi with an incredible tee shot on the par-3 8th hole, sticking it to two feet. After Choi missed his 10-footer for birdie, Ochoa followed suit, missing his putt just left of the hole to miss an opportunity to get within striking distance. On the very next hole Ochoa would again put himself in position to collect a much-needed birdie, but missed the eight-foot putt to remain at 9-under par.

That was all Choi needed to get into gear. He would make his own birdie putt on No. 9 and go on to play the back nine in 4-under par. The impressive display of hitting fairways and greens that spectators saw during Rounds 2 and 3 reappeared, and the Korean-born golfer refused to let Ochoa back into the race. He would open up the back nine with a birdie on No. 10 to extend his lead to five, and despite Ochoa playing the back nine in three-under par himself, the eventual champion ended his own round with three straight birdies on the three final holes of the tournament.

"On the back nine I started to really keep up and play aggressively," said Choi, who has verbally committed to play college golf at the University of New Mexico.

Minutes after tapping in for birdie on Mission Hills' iconic 18th hole, Choi made the historic leap into Poppie's Pond, a time-honored tradition first started by SCGA Hall of Famer Amy Alcott after her 1988 victory at the ANA Inspiration. Every year since, the winner of the LPGA Tour's major championship makes that very same leap, as does the victor of the annual AJGA event also held at Mission Hills. Earlier this year, Choi finished third at that AJGA event.

"Jumping into the pond felt great," said Choi, who ended up shooting rounds of 69-67-67-68 for a four-day total of 17-under par. "Having played in the AJGA event here really helped me feel more comfortable with the course, and I just want to thank Mission Hills for being a great host."

Ochoa would finish five back of the champion, and four strokes better than fellow USC grad Andrew Levitt, Joshua Matz and Donald Kay, who all finished T3 at 8-under par. 2004 Champion Tim Hogarth continued his impressive play in the event, earning his fourth straight Top 10 finish at 3-under par T10.

Choi's record-breaking victory makes him the youngest winner of the Championship, a feat previously held by Paul Hunter, who in 1908 won his first of a record five SCGA Amateur titles at 17 year and four months of age.

With the victory, Choi is exempted into next year's SCGA Amateur Championship, which will be held at La Jolla CC, as well as the 2018 California Amateur Championship, which will head to Omni La Costa Resort & Spa.

Past Winners

Year Winner Site
2017 Sam Choi Mission Hills CC
2016 Rico Hoey
Barona Creek GC
2015 Nathan Celusta
Oakmont CC
2014 Beau Hossler
Rancho Santa Fe GC
2013 Beau Hossler San Diego CC
2012 Bhavik Patel
Big Canyon CC
2011 Patrick Cantlay San Gabriel CC
2010 Scott Travers La Cumbre CC
2009 Austin Graham
Wilshire CC
2008 Kevin Marsh
Saticoy CC
2007 Brett Kanda
Victoria Club
2006 Scott McGihon Bakersfield CC
2005 Scott McGihon
Tijeras Creek GC
2004 Tim Hogarth
Hillcrest CC
2003 Roy Moon Torrey Pines GC
2002 Nico Bollini
El Caballero CC
2001 John Merrick
La Jolla CC
2000 Scott McGihon Rancho Santa Fe GC
1999 John Pate Industry Hills GC
1998 Greg Padilla
1997 Craig Steinberg
Lakeside GC
1996 Kevin Marsh Santa Maria CC
1995 Charlie Wi
Santa Ana CC
1994 Tiger Woods
Hacienda GC
1993 Todd Demsey
Brentwood CC
1992 Craig Steinberg
Fairbanks Ranch CC
1991 Craig Steinberg
Bel-Air CC
1990 Pat Duncan
Wilshire CC
1989 Paul Stankowski
Glendora CC
1988 Craig Steinberg
Annandale GC
1987 Greg Starkman
Braemar CC
1986 Dave Sheff
Hillcrest CC
1985 Brad Greer
Virginia CC
1984 Brad Greer
San Gabriel CC
1983 David Hobby
Santa Maria CC
1982 Mark Blakely
Stockdale CC
1981 Greg Twiggs
Stardust CC
1980 Jon (Bud) Ardell
Oakmont CC
1979 Jeff Hart
Hacienda GC
1978 Brian Gaddy
Bel-Air C
1977 Doug Clarke
La Jolla CC
1976 Tony Sills
California CC
1975 Lee Davis
Wilshire CC
1974 Jim Porter
Brentwood CC
1973 John Richardson El Niguel CC
1972 Mark Pfeil
Hillcrest CC
1971 John Beetham
Virginia CC
1970 Gary Sanders Oakmont CC
1969 U.T. Thompson III
Hacienda GC
1968 Barry Jaeckel Lakeside GC
1967 Greg Pitzer Riviera CC
1966 John A. Jacobs Victoria Club
1965 Richard Davies Annandale GC
1964 Larry O. Brown San Gabriel GC
1963 Bruce McCormick Hillcrest CC
1962 Larry Bouchey Virginia CC
1961 Ted Richards Jr. Los Angeles CC
1960 Ben Alyea Brentwood CC
1959 Alan Geiberger Oakmont CC
1958 Frank Hixon Wilshire CC
1957 Verne Callison Lakeside GC
1956 Alan Geiberger Santa Ana CC
1955 Jerry Steelsmith Annandale GC
1954 Ted Richards Jr. San Gabriel CC
1953 Fletcher Jones Los Angeles CC
1952 John W. Dawson Hillcrest CC
1951 Jim Ferrie Virginia CC
1950 Jim Ferrie Oakmont CC
1949 Jerry Douglas Victoria Club
1948 Bruce McCormick Wilshire CC
1947 Bruce McCormick Los Angeles CC
1946 Bobby Gardner Virginia CC
1945 John Dawson San Gabriel CC
1944 John Dawson Lakeside GC
1943 Smiley Quick Hillcrest CC
1942 John Dawson Los Angeles CC
1941 Pat Abbott Oakmont CC
1940 Smiley Quick Lakeside GC
1939 Frank Hixon Annandale GC
1938 Pat Abbott California CC
1937 Jack Gaines Riviera CC
1936 Roger Kelly San Diego CC
1935 Harry Wesbrook Los Angeles CC
1934 Charles Seaver Bel-Air CC
1933 Harold Thompson Brentwood CC
1932 Jack Gaines San Gabriel CC
1931 David Martin Los Angeles CC
1930 Fay Coleman Midwick CC
1929 Gibson Dunlap Bel-Air CC
1928 Fay Coleman Midwick CC
1927 George Von Elm Lakeside GC
1926 Paul Hunter California CC/Brentwood CC
1925 George Von Elm Los Angeles CC
1924 Paul Hunter Annandale GC
1923 Willie Hunter Midwick CC
1922 George Von Elm Flintridge CC/Pasadena GC
1921 Paul Hunter Los Angeles CC
1920 E.H. Seaver Los Angeles CC
1919 Douglas Grant Los Angeles CC
1918 R.J. Cash, Jr. Los Angeles CC
1917 Windsor B. Walton Midwick CC
1916 Harold B. Lamb Los Angeles CC
1915 E.S. Armstrong Midwick CC
1914 Carleton Wright San Gabriel CC
1913 Norman Macbeth Los Angeles CC
1912 E.S. Armstrong Los Angeles CC
1911 Norman Macbeth Los Angeles CC
1910 Wm. Frederickson Annandale GC
1909 Paul Hunter Annandale GC
1908 Paul Hunter Los Angeles CC
1907 Sterling Liness Los Angeles CC
1906 Wm. Frederickson Los Angeles CC
1905 Walter Fairbanks Los Angeles CC
1904 W.K. Jewett Los Angeles CC
1903 Walter Fairbanks Los Angeles CC
1902 H.M. Sears Pasadena CC
1901 Walter Fairbanks Los Angeles CC
1900 Charles E. Orr Los Angeles CC
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