BEAUMONT, CA (Oct. 20-21,2018) – Toyota Tour Cup members Ryan Smith of Carlsbad & Briana Chacon of Whittier both go wire-to-wire and win the 4th Annual Southern California Junior Amateur Golf Championship!
In conjunction with the SCGA, Morongo G.C. at Tukwet Canyon hosted the 2018 Championship. In the Boys’ Divison, Ryan Smith, a familiar name, took home the trophy Sunday afternoon after finishing T-2 last year. While it was wire-to-wire, it wasn’t a cake walk as he was forced into a sudden-death playoff with Sebastian Vallejo who held the low round of the tournament, five-under par.“I hit a really good tee ball and put a 9-iron into the green,” Smith said. “It would’ve been nice to make that putt for birdie but I just wanted to play it safe.”
Throughout the day, however, Smith wasn’t thinking safe – with shots like driving the green on the third hole. “It was an up and down kind of day, I’m sure my mom was running miles around the house at home watching [the live scoring],” said the Carlsbad resident. As the SoCal Junior Amateur Champion, Smith earns an exemption for the 2019 SCGA Amateur Championship, as well as the 2019 California Amateur Championship.“After coming close last year, it feels good to come back, shoot a few under par scores and get the job done,” Smith said.
History was made during the fourth installment of the Southern California Junior Amateur Championship, when Briana Chacon became the first two-time winner of the tournament. Chacon went wire-to-wire, extending what was a one-stroke lead after the first round and turning it into a three-stroke victory.
Chacon finished six-under outlasting a late push from Amari Avery and Leigh Chien, who both finished at three-under. Avery rattled off seven birdies on the front nine to challenge Chacon, while Chien snuck up with machine-like consistency. But Chacon fought them off throughout the tournament with her steady play under pressure. Chacon was the only player to finish under par in both rounds after following up her day one score of 71 with a 67 to seal the championship. Despite the push from her competitors, Chacon stayed focused and finished the round bogey-free.
“Today I felt really calm out there and I hit a lot of greens, which was a big plus,” Chacon said. “I got a few putts to drop in and that’s what really separated me from the field.” The high school senior said she is looking forward to seeing what comes next for her on the golf course. With her victory, Chacon earned an exemption into next summer’s SCGA Women’s Amateur Championship.
Special thanks to Director of Golf, Henry Liaw, PGA with the host facility, Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon for hosting. Thank you also goes out to the Southern California Golf Association for collaborating and co-hosting this prestigious tournament. This signature tournament was created with the philosophy of combining the power of Southern California’s leading golf authorities to gathering the best amateurs in the region into one marquee event.
Henry Liaw, PGA – Director of Golf
Mark S. Lamb – Head Professional