Sutherland Claims Six-Shot Victory in 99th California State Fair Championship

Matthew Sutherland of Carmichael felt right at home in the 99th California State Fair Men’s Championship.

The 21-year-old Sutherland (pictured with his parents, a rising senior at Fresno State, coasted to a six-stroke victory Baron Szeto of Moraga on the Alister MacKenzie Course at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento.

“I’ve spent a lot of time playing at Haggin Oaks and have participated in numerous junior golf events there,” said Sutherland, whose father, Kevin Sutherland won this tournament in 1984. “This familiarity with the course gave me a sense of comfort, and my knowledge of the pin placements certainly played to my advantage. I struck the ball cleanly, and my precision on the greens remained consistent throughout the week.

“I’m not usually one to obsessively monitor leaderboards, but having recently competed in match play at the U.S. Amateur, I felt at ease focusing solely on my own game. Competitive golf always demands your best, and I reached a point where I felt truly in my element.

“My ball striking has been exceptionally consistent lately, and I’ve been able to translate that into impressive scores. This has allowed me to maintain momentum throughout my rounds. I’ve been sinking some lengthy putts, which has been a key factor in my recent success.”

Sutherland, who also won the 2023 Sacramento City Championship, the 2021 Sacramento County Amateur and the individual title in the 2021 El Macero Championship for Frenso State while helping the Bulldogs claim the team title, carded a score of 67-64-67—198, 18-under-par, while Baron Szeto of Moraga was second at 70-69-65—204.

Costas Panay of Redmond, Wash., shot 70-71-64—205 to tie for third with Carlos Astiazaran of Tucson, Ariz., who finished at 65-69-71—205, while Chris Bettencourt of Clovis totaled 73-68-65—206 to tie for fifth with Jack Deaner of Carmichael, who totaled 72-67-67—206, and Nick Woo of Novato, who wound up at 64-71-71—206.

Parker Mapes of Pleasanton was eighth at 73-65-69—207, followed by Luke Dugger of Davis at 71-68-69—208, while Sean-Karl Dobson shot 69-73-67—209 to tie for 10th with Michael Weaver of Fresno, who came in at 71-65-73—209.

Defending champion Jaden Dumdumaya of Benicia tied for 12th with a score of 69-71-70—210.

Past winners of the California State Fair Men’s Championship include Ken Venturi, Al Geiberger, Dick Lotz, George Archer, Bob E. Smith, Verne Callison, Joey Ferrari, Bob Niger, Erik Flores, Matt Hansen, Brandon Hagy, Corey Pereira, Devon Bling, Tony Chen and Finigan Tilly.

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