Potter Becomes Youngest-Ever SCGA Amateur Champion
It was a bad week to be an SCGA Amateur Championship record book. After 72 holes proved not enough to crown a victor, 16-year-old Luke Potter survived a three-hole playoff to become the youngest-ever champion in the 121-year history of the storied championship.
Beginning the final round, five shots back of overnight leader Caden Fioroni, Potter obliterated the front-nine to the tune of a ridiculous 7-under 28 to catapult himself into a tie for the lead at the turn. During the first seven holes of play, Potter had five birdies and an eagle. Fioroni, fresh off an SCGA individual round scoring record of 9-under 61 in the third round, was playing well himself with two birdies on his outward half and made the turn in a tie with Potter.On the back-nine, the putts that dropped for Potter during his blazing start began to dry up. The Arizona State commit converted par-after-par and protected his spot atop the leaderboard. A birdie at the par-5 No. 17 gave him a one-shot cushion on Fioroni, who was playing two groups behind the youngster. Potter pared the tough finishing hole, and posted 15-under in the clubhouse.
Meanwhile, Fioroni was playing steady with a birdie on the drivable par-4 No. 14 and then took a one-stroke advantage after a birdie on the mammoth par-5 No. 17. After a perfect drive on arguably the toughest finishing hole in Southern California, Fioroni took dead aim on back right pin location and landed 40 feet short, just off the putting surface. With two putts to secure the title, Fioroni sped his first putt 10 feet past and was unable to make the comebacker, forcing a three-hole aggregate playoff.
Starting on the par-3 No. 16, both players missed the green but Potter was able to get up-and-down while Fioroni suffered a bogey on the opening hole. But the Pepperdine freshman bounced back with a 15-foot twisting putt on No. 17 as Potter saw his birdie effort slide by. Standing on the final tee box all tied up, both players pumped drives to left side of the fairway, setting up perfect angles for their final approaches. Fioroni found the center of the green, while Potter left his effort 20 feet below the hole, leaving and uphill putt for birdie. Fioroni’s 30-foot effort looked great the entire way to the cup, only to see it slide just below the hole. The scene was set for Potter, and he pounced on the opportunity, draining a dramatic final putt and etching him name into Southern California golf lore.