Merrick Wins Long Beach City Championships
July 16, 2001
UCLA sophomore John Merrick won the Long Beach Men's City Championship Sunday at Skylinks Golf Course in Long Beach.
Merrick, 19, posted rounds of 65-68-68--201, 15-under par, and won by four shots over Brian Gonzalez of Lakewood.
'I was playing relaxed and confident,' said Merrick, who won his first event since capturing the 1998 Moore League title as a member of the Long Beach Wilson High team. 'That's what you need to do to win a tournament.'
Merrick sewed up the title on the 15th hole when he sank a 15-foot putt from the fringe to take a four-stroke lead.
The victory allows Merrick a berth in the Long Beach Open, July 26-29.
Merrick enjoyed a solid freshman season for the Bruins, tying for sixth place at the NCAA West Regionals and averaging 74.3 strokes per round.
Earlier this summer, senior Parker McLachlin won the Sports Shinko Rainbow Open in his hometown of Honolulu, HI.
'My putter kept me in the hunt the entire tournament,' said Mclachlin, who tied for 16th place at the 2001 NCAA Championships. 'My putting was the key this week. During the first two rounds, I don't think I missed anything within six feet.'
McLachlin birdied three of the final four holes to post a two-under par 70 for a three-day total of nine-under par 217. He defeated three local club professionals to earn an exempt spot as one of 12 amateurs who will compete in the Governor's Cup against the state's top pros. The amateur with the best points total at the end of the year will earn a spot in the 2002 Sony Open, an event in which McLachlin competed last January.
In June, junior Travis Johnson advanced to the finals of the California Amateur at Pebble Beach before falling 4&3 to Darryl Donovan of Gilroy.
Johnson finished in a tie for seventh place in the 36-hole stroke play portion of the tournament and defeated four players in the match-play draw.
UCLA sophomore Steve Conway also qualified for the match-play draw, but lost in the first round.
Johnson's finish was the highest by a UCLA player since Duffy Waldorf won the 1984 Cal State Amateur on the same course.