Devon Bling of Ridgecrest had to rally and then go overtime to repeat as champion in the 95th California State Fair Amateur.
The 19-year-old Bling, who is about to start his junior year at UCLA, sank a six-foot eagle putt on the first playoff hole to turn back Michael Cliff of Fresno on the Alister MacKenzie Golf Course at Haggin Oaks https://www.hagginoaks.com › alister-mackenzie in Sacramento.
Bling came from four strokes down on the back nine to chase down 36-hole leader Cliff and become the first champion to defend his title since Robert Hamilton achieved the feat in 2000-2001, finishing with a total of 68-66-68—202, 14-under-par, while Cliff wound up at 67-64-71—202.
Berk Harvey of San Jose was third at 71-65-68—204, followed by Jamie Cheatham of San Diego at 69-70-66—205 and Blake Hathcoat of Fresno at 69-68-69—206.
Dylan Vander Veer of El Dorado Hills shot 69-70-68—207 to tie for sixth with Lucas Carper of San Jose, who finished at 67-70-70—207, while Casey Scott of Indio carded a score of 67-71-70—208 to tie for eighth with Kyle Maspat of San Diego, who wound up at 68-70-70—208, Robert Hamilton of Gold River, who totaled 71-69-68—208, and Casey Leebrick of San Luis Obispo, who came in at 69-71-68—208.
Bling, who played in the Masters and U.S. Open this year, started the back nine with three straight birdies to pull into a tie for the lead with Cliff and Harvey.
Cliff and Bling were still tied for the lead when both birdied the par-5 17th hole, and on the last hole, another par 5, Cliff had only a tap-in putt for his birdie and Bling had to sink his seven-foot birdie putt to force the playoff.
Bling, who played the last three holes in 4-under, had to make his eagle putt on the extra hole to win because Cliff had another routine birdie.
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