Sugimoto, Chacon win 2016 SoCal Junior Amateur Championship

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In what was the second playing of the Southern California Junior Amateur Championship, Industry Hills GC again tested the young golfers, with red numbers hard to come by in both the boys and girls divisions.

Over on the boys side, it was Steve Sugimoto who was the only player to score under par, as the 17 year old from San Diego put together rounds of 66 and 74 to beat the rest of the 102-player field by 2 strokes. Steve's Round 1 score of 5-under par was the only red number on the score board over the two days of play.

"Today was a bit of a struggle, but yesterday things were working for me," said Steve.

A senior at Rancho Bernardo HS, Steve entered Sunday's action with a 5-stroke lead over the rest of the field. After putting together an impressive front nine score of 1-under par, he struggled on the back nine of the Ike course, picking up five bogeys in holes 10-16. Nursing a small lead heading into 18, he did what he needed to do down the stretch, earning a birdie on the 627-yard par-5 18th hole to secure the victory. With the win, Steve earns a spot in the 2017 SCGA Amateur Championship, which will be held at Mission Hills CC in July. Steve earned an 11th place finish in the event this year.

Finishing in second place with an impressive second-round score of 68 was Connor Nelson of Fullerton, while Griffin Pace of Irvine finished third.

Over in the girls division, Briana Chacon of Whittier put together the most impressive round of the day on Sunday, turning in a 68 to steal victory away from the rest of the field. Entering the second round of play T6 after an opening-round score of 74, Briana would best the rest of the field by 4 strokes on Sunday, earning her first major junior golf victory of her career. The 15-year-old golfer from La Serna HS, who grew up playing at Industry Hills GC, ended up with a 3-stroke win.

"Yesterday was tough, I didn't have any birdies, but today was a lot better," said Briana.

While birdies were hard to come by for the eventual champion on Saturday, she made up for it Sunday, collecting four of them on Industry Hills GC's Babe course. She would best Amari Avery, the tournament's runner-up, by 3 strokes, and Kayla Sam and defending champion Angelina Kim by 4. With her win, Briana earns a spot in the 2017 Women's Southern California Amateur Championship, which will be held next August at San Gabriel CC. For Briana, it will not be her first major amateur event, as the 15 year old has already played in two U.S. Women's Four Ball Championships and this year played in her first U.S. Women's Amateur, where she missed the cut.

The Southern California Junior Amateur Championship is jointly hosted by the SCGA and SCPGA.

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