April 15-16, 2019, at Virginia CC
The SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship is open to members ages 25 and older with a Handicap Index of 5.4 and below. Competitors undergo 18 holes of individual stroke play qualifying in order to reach the final field of 84 players. In the Championship, players compete over 54 holes of individual stroke play with the top 42 players and ties advancing after 36 holes to the final round.
Damon Krause Birdies Final Hole To Capture Title
Underneath cloudy skies and brisk temperatures, a heated battle warmed the greater Long Beach area during the 36th playing of the SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Virginia CC. A jammed leaderboard throughout the 54-hole competition left much in doubt, but in the end, it was a first-time SCGA champion Damon Krause who birdied the 18th hole for the prestigious title.
Krause opened the Mid-Am with a blistering 1-under 69, one of only four rounds under par in the entire championship, and held a one-stroke advantage heading into the final day.
“Yesterday I hit the ball beautifully,” said Krause. “But then today, I just chose the wrong club on every shot and I had to scramble. My short game came through, which really hasn’t been that much of a strength in the past.”
On that final day, Krause’s eventual triumph was anything but certain. A who’s who of SCGA stalwarts littered the leaderboard throughout the championship’s final day but it became a three-way battle down the stretch.
Playing two groups in front of the leaders, Jonathan Minkoff continued his week-long birdie barrage, posting two straight on No. 11 and 12 to vault himself into the lead at 4-over. Minkoff pared No. 18 to post 1-under 69 and waited as the leader in the clubhouse.
While Minkoff watched the leaderboard, Krause was in a rock fight with playing partner Ryan Wilkins. The burly, bearded San Diegan was a monster off the tee all day, ripping the big stick with reckless abandon. After his birdie on No. 12, and a bogey from Krause, Wilkins took the lead down the home stretch. But after a wayward drive and a tough uphill recovery shot into the par-4 17th, Wilkins was unable to get up-and-down for par and lost a share of the lead.
The scene was set – Krause knew he needed to birdie the par-5 18th to capture the championship. A lasered drive left Krause with an iron into the blind kidney-shaped green, but he brushed it short into a gully about 15 yards before the green. Krause was staring at a tricky uphill chip onto a plateaued flagstick location.
“I had a fluffy lie at the bottom of the hill,” said Krause. “In my mind I was just thinking don’t chunk it and have it roll back to my feet.”
Well, he didn’t. His chip landed perfectly and rolled up to a couple feet, securing his Mid-Amateur Championship title.
The top 10 finishers in this year’s Mid-Am Championship are exempt for next year’s Mid-Amateur tournament. Additionally, the top five will earn a spot into the SCGA Amateur Championship, which is scheduled for July 11-14 at Lakeside GC.
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|2014||Ramie Sprinkling||Valencia CC|
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