Amari Avery Joins Amy Alcott, Captures Cal Women's Am Title
When the moment sank in that she had accomplished her goal, 15-year-old Riverside resident Amari Avery let loose a big smile.
That can happen when you’re a State champion.
The No.11 seeded Avery, who was featured in the 2013 documentary, “The Short Game,” captured her biggest victory yet Saturday at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley, winning the annual California Women’s Amateur Championship, 3 and 2, over runner-up Aman Sangha of San Mateo.
With the win, Avery joins an illustrious of champions including Juli Inkster (1981), Patty Sheehan (1977-’78) and Amy Alcott (1973).
“It feels great,” said Avery, who hadn’t tasted victory in over a year. “It means a lot to win something that so many great players have won.”
Avery, who’s home schooled and got into golf via her father, Andre, trailed by one when Sangha, the No.24 seed, beat her with a par on the par-3 12th.
After that, however, it was all Avery. She’d first get going on the par-4 13th by draining a 30-footer for birdie to again tie things up.
On the ensuing par-5 14th, Avery used her length (she averages 270 off the tee) to easily reach the green in two and set herself up for a near tap-in birdie. Sangha, meanwhile, would have to settle for par.
A hole later on the par-5 15th, Avery again bombed a drive. She’d again reach the green in two, setting herself up for another easy birdie. This time, Sangha had a chance to counter, as she’d leave a beautiful 80-yard wedge shot just a few feet from the flagstick. Sangha’s putt to tie the hole lipped out, however, upping Avery’s lead to 2-up.
“I really thought I had that putt,” said the 21-year-old Sangha, a collegiate player who’s looking to transfer to CSU-Northridge where her sister, Kiran, plays. “It just lipped out.”
“The 14th hole, I knew that was a go-getter,” said Avery, who again had her younger sister, Alona, on the bag as caddie. “On the 15th, I didn’t really think I could go for it in two. I took a risk and it worked out.”
On the 16th, needing at least a tie to keep the match going, Sangha saw her approach shot run through the green to the back fringe. Avery, who was again about 80 yards further down the fairway off the tee, knocked her approach to within 15 feet of the pin. Sangha’s birdie putt raced past the cup, and she was unable to make her par putt, sealing the win for Avery.
“It’s a really long week, but it was great” Avery said. “You’ve got to stay focused all the time.”