FINAL RESULTS PHOTOS
BAKERSFIELD – Author Thomas Wolfe said that “one can never go home again.” Well, that could not be further from the truth for Bhavik Patel and Manav Shah. The Bakersfield duo fired a final round 67 to capture the 21st Annual SCGA Four-Ball Championship by five strokes over three teams including 2011 SCGA Foursomes Champions Dan Sullivan and Mark Miller at Bakersfield CC.
Despite cloudy and cool conditions that greeted competitors Tuesday, scoring conditions could not have been more ideal on the 6,820 yard layout as the average was nearly a full stroke lower than on day one. Many teams got off to a hot start including 2006 Four-Ball Champions David Bartman and Robert Funk, who carded a final-round 65 which included an ace by Funk on the 189 yard par-3 17th.
The one team who did not start off hot were leaders Patel and Shah. “We got off to a slow start again today and after the third hole, I looked at Manav and we knew it was time to start playing,” Patel said.
Their overnight lead was cut to one shot after three holes after Sullivan and Miller birdied the par-3 third hole. Both teams parred the next two holes before Patel/Shah birdied four consecutive holes to make the turn at five under 31, stretching their lead to four.
Patel birdied the 10th and 11th holes to reach -17 under and the team's lead was expanded to five over Sullivan and Miller. Little did they know up ahead, former Cal State Bakersfield teammates D.J. Fernando and Greg Lopez were making the move of the day. The duo shot a 29 on the back nine with birdies on every hole except for the 13th and 18th to shoot the tournament low round of 63 for a two-day total of 12-under 132. Lopez, a recently reinstated amateur, fired a 65 on his ball to help propel the team into a tie for second place. Despite this charge, Patel and Shah kept it in cruise control on the remaining holes to finish at a two day total of -17 under 127 for the five stroke victory over Miller/Sullivan, Fernando/Lopez and the Orange Coast College duo of Joshua Hurst and Tyler Paul, who carded a final round 64 to finish in the three-way tie for second.
For Patel and Shah, this championship wraps up a successful 2011 season, but both knew it would not be easy to capture the title. “Playing at home comes with high expectations,” Patel said.
“To play well in front of friends and family is special,” Shah added.
Usually facing each other on the amateur and collegiate scene, both found it strange to play together, but it was obviously a successful partnership. Shah, a redshirt sophomore at UCLA, captures his first SCGA championship after coming one stroke short at the 112th SCGA Amateur Championship earlier in the summer against fellow UCLA teammate Patrick Cantlay. Patel, a senior at Fresno State, adds this championship to his 2011 California Amateur Championship title won in June at The Olympic Club. Both look to play in more amateur events in 2012 before Patel turns pro in the fall of 2012.