Sean Birren claims 2015 SCGA Public Links title
Capping off a summer of strong golf, Sean Birren of La Verne wrapped up his SCGA Tournament season Sunday with a convincing win at the 2015 SCGA Public Links Championship. Having recently come off of a win at the Industry Hills City Championship in July and a quarterfinal appearance at the SCGA Match Play Championship, Birren claimed his first SCGA gross title with a final round score of 2-under par 70. His bogey-free final round on Brookside GC's Course No. 1 gave him a 4-stroke victory.
"I've been trying for a long time to win one of these. I've come close a few times, but I knew it was bound to happen," said Birren of the win. "I've been working really hard on my game of late, and things have been falling into place. It feels really good."
Birren entered the final round of play trailing Daniel Yang of San Diego by a stroke. And for a while, Yang was cruising, playing his first 11 holes in 3-under par to jump out to a 3 stroke advantage. But then things started unraveling for the UC San Diego golfer, as he played his final seven holes in 6-over par.
Meanwhile, Birren just kept cruising, collecting two birdies and 16 pars in his final round. Once down by three, Birren finally squared things up when Yang double-bogeyed the par-3, 13th hole. He would quickly claim his first lead of the 54-hole tournament on the next hole, knocking in a birdie putt on hole 14 to take the top spot on the leaderboard, one he would never relinquish.
"It was a bit of a grind out there, I just tried to stay patient," said Birren. "I just tried to par as many holes as I could and collect the birdies that were out there."
Birren shot rounds of 67, 66 and 70 to win the tournament, finding himself four strokes ahead of David Kim of Buena Park and Yang when play concluded. Kim, along with Clayton Yamaguchi of Los Angeles, shot the lows rounds of the day Sunday with 69s. Yamaguchi would finish T4 with 2013 and 2014 Champion Jeff Coburn, who was looking to become the first person to win three-straight titles since Michael Turner in 1994.
The SCGA Public Links Championship is formerly the PLGA Amateur Championship, which started in 1968. The Gross Championship is open to amateurs who are members of a SCGA club (public or affiliate) who have a current index of 5.4 or below at the time of registration and do not have playing privileges, a membership or a handicap index at a course or club which the general public is excluded. The Championship includes 144 players who compete over 54 holes of stroke play, with the top 30 players and ties advancing after 36 holes to the final round.