Late Birdies Lift Deutsch to 3-Stroke Victory in 30th Inland Empire Amateur

Steven Deutsch of Chula Vista was tied for the lead and decided it was time to make a move.

Deutsch, who is a sophomore at Long Beach State, made two birdies down the stretch and captured the 30th Inland Empire Amateur Championship by three strokes over Jeffrey Kwak of La Mirada at Oak Valley Golf Club in Beaumont.

“Playing three different layouts in three days in this heat took a lot of mental fortitude and it was a grind for all 54 holes,” said Deutsch, who had his mom as his caddie. “Coming into the week, I needed a confidence boost because our first couple of qualifying rounds for the Washington tournament have not been going well for me. Hopefully, this performance is something I can carry forward into the season ahead.

“ … As we were coming up to the 16th green, I told my mom (Petra, his caddie) that I hadn’t made much all day. It was straight up the hill, I gave it a good run, and it found the bottom.”

The first round was played at Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon in Beaumont and round two at Goose Creek Golf Club in Mira Loma.

Deutsch, who also won the 2022 FCG San Diego Junior and the 2021 FGC International Junior Championship, carded a score of 70-67-68—205, 10-under-par, while Kwak, a senior at Sunny Hills High in Fullerton, finished at 69-68-71—208.

Mason Teron of Fillmore was third at 71-68-73—212, while Joseph Chun of Irvine shot 75-71-67—213 to tie for fourth with Forbes Collins II of Lake Forest, who finished at 74-69-70—213, and Scotland Schmidt of San Diego, who wound up at 70-70-73—213.

Isaac Calderon III of Indo was seventh at 75-72-67—214, followed by Hudson Vedder of Laguna Niguel, who finished at 70-71-74—215.

Youting Zou of Irvine totaled 74-73-69—216 to tie for ninth with Rei Harashima of Chula Vista, who shot 70-75-71—216, Nathan Teng of Fullerton, who wound up at 74-72-70—216, and Kolbe Irei of Honolulu, who came in at 72-70-74—216.

Previous winners of the Inland Empire Amateur include Brendan Steele, Aaron Wise, Scott McGihon, Greg Puga, Scott Clayton, Steve Mena, Bob Jacobson, Jerry Dufour, Kevin Fitzgerald, Jay Choi, Michael Drake, Han Seop Lee and Ryan Vools last year. Kirby McGraw won the first two years the tournament was played in 1992 and 1993.

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