Salinda followed up his record setting round-three performance with a comfortable one-over-par 73 (71-67-62-72-272) to win by a single stroke.
PACIFIC COAST GOLF ASSOCIATION (San Francisco, Calif.) – Isaiah Salinda of South San Francisco, Calif., held off one of amateur golf’s most competitive fields, to capture the 2018 Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at The Olympic Club – Lake Course.
Salinda, starting the day with a three-stroke lead over 36-hole leader Austin Eckroat of Edmond, Oklahoma, put together a scrappy performance that wasn’t as brilliant as round three but got the job done.
Playing in the final group along with teammate Brandon Wu of Scarsdale, New York, Salinda had a level of comfort that showed in his conservative play on a tough final day of competition.
With three strokes in the bank starting play, Salinda started with a birdie on the par-5 first, surely the start he dreamed of before teeing off for the day. He would however, make back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes, showing a modest amount of nerves that hadn’t been present up to that point in the competition.
In true world-class form that is required to win the Pacific Coast Amateur, Salinda was able to shake the bogey trend, making par on the fifth hole and retaining the lead over the field.
He would make his second birdie of the day on the driveable par-4 7th hole, getting himself back to even on the day, -13 for the Championship.
With little happening of concern in his game and almost an artistic approach to managing The Olympic Club’s treachery, Salinda would motor along at even-par through 11 holes.
After a bogey-blip on the 12th hole, matched by an Eckroat birdie on the same hole, Salinda’s margin-for-error would drop to a single shot with six holes to play and create a vacuum of excitement with the spectators in attendance.
With Eckroat playing right alongside Salinda and nipping at his heels, Salinda would again take corrective action to regain his position as the resounding front-runner. Eckroat made bogey on the 14th and Salinda managed par on the tricky par-4 dogleg left. Salinda would also birdie the par-5 16th hole, all but effectively removing the wind from the field’s sail.
Playing behind the leaders were world-number-one-ranked amateur Braden Thornberry of Olive Branch, MS., William Gordon of Davidson, NC., and Winter Garden, Florida’s Andy Zhang. All three players failed to make a substantial push at Salinda, opening the door for Salinda to write his own destiny coming down the storied 18th fairway.
After leaving himself 15 feet downhill and two putts for the victory after a smooth drive and safe approach that required an easy chip, Salinda cozied his first roll to within 2 feet.
With Eckroat and Wu in their pocket and short on their charge for the title, Salinda would calmly step up, knock in the bogey putt and win the title at -12 (71-67-62-72-272) in front of the budding gallery.
“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Salinda said with a beaming smile when asked how it felt to win the Pacific Coast Amateur.
“I knew it is always tough to back up such a low round [round 3]. I was just trying to hold on and keep the lead. I was able to do that, barely, but it was a fun round.”
Asked how winning this Championship feels against the elite field that traveled to South San Francisco, Salinda didn’t mince words.
“This is definitely my biggest win against an elite field. I certainly wasn’t the highest ranked so this is definitely a huge win for my confidence and going forward.”
Prior to the week beginning, the field was presented a message from the 2017 champion Doug Ghim who wished everyone good luck and showcased how his win at Chambers Bay last year vaulted him into a stratosphere of confidence he could never have imagined. Salinda now sits in that impressive company.
“I’ve been playing well and I felt like a win in this type of field was possible. Somehow I was able to do it. Hopefully it will propel me to do things that [Ghim and other champions] are doing now.”
Finishing in solo-second was Eckroat at -11 (65-67-71-70-273). The former Sage Valley Junior champion has a bright future in store in his amateur career and gave a superb effort in his first Pacific Coast Amateur.
Rounding out the top five were Wu (67-68-70-70-275; -9), Gordon (67-69-69-71-276; -8), Thornberry (71-69-68-70-278; -6) and Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, Calif. (72-69-69-68-278; -6).
With 32 of the world’s top 100 amateurs playing in the field to start the week,The Olympic Club drew the strongest field in our history. Salinda, in a message to the membership, echoed the PCGA’s thanks for hosting the event.
“Thank you guys for being such gracious hosts. I couldn’t imagine a better place for this tournament to be at. I know a lot of the membership here and the Pro’s so thank you guys for your support. It means a lot.”
Held on an annual basis since 1967, with roots dating back to 1901, the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship boasts a rich history of showcasing some of the most talented golfers in the United States and Canada.
Past champions of the Pacific Coast Amateur who have gone on to successful professional careers include PGA Tour winners Aaron Wise (2015), Billy Mayfair (1987, 1988), Jason Gore (1997) and Ben Crane (1998) as well as Web.com Tour winners Michael Putnam (2004) & Andrew Putnam (2010).
For more information on the championship, visit www.pacificcoastamateur.com.
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