Samiere wins 106th Cal Am with birdie on last hole

PJ Samiere of Kailua, Kona, Hawaii, drained a six-foot birdie putt on the final green to capture the 106th California State Amateur Championship, winning the 36-hole final, 1 up, over Noah Norton of Chico on the Lake Course at the famed Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Norton, a freshman-to-be at Georgia Tech, missed an eight-foot birdie try before Samiere made the winner.

Samiere, a senior at San Diego State, pulled off a huge rally to defeat Norton, a graduate of Pleasant Valley High in Chico, who held a 5-up lead after 11 holes in the fog-shrouded morning round.

“Patience and perseverance, that’s what it took,” Samiere said after becoming the second Aztec to claim the Cal Amateur, joining Xander Schauffele, who won in 2014. “But I’m really excited about this win.

“I knew that if I stayed patient it could turn around. The last two holes of the first 18 and the first two of the second really got me going.”

Samiere started his comeback with birdies on the 12th, 17th and 18th holes in the morning and pulled even by winning the first two holes in the afternoon.

Norton and Samiere went back-and-forth the rest of the way, with Norton pulling even with a par on the 12th hole, and they remained even until the final hole, trading birdies at No. 17 to set up the dramatic finish.

In the semifinals, Samiere defeated Henry Chung of Cerritos, 4 and 3, while Norton got past Spencer Soosman of Westlake Village by the same score.

Eddy Lai of San Jose led stroke-play qualifying with a score of 67-70–137, one stroke better than Justin Suh, also of San Jose, who totaled 71-67–138.

Samiere joined such notable winners of Cal Amateur as Johnny Miller, Mark O’Meara, Duffy Waldorf, Ken Venturi, Gene Littler, John Cook, Bobby Clampett, Charlie Wi, Jason Gore, Spencer Levin, Dick Lotz, Jack Neville, George Van Elm, Chandler Egan and Johnny Dawson.


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