Jordan Nasser Wins California Amateur Championship
June 26, 2006
USC senior Jordan Nasser built a 5-up lead after 19 holes against Jeff Gilchrist and then hung on to win the 95th California Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links by a 3 & 2 on Saturday (June 24).
Nasser won the 18th hole on Saturday morning to go 4 up over his 34-year-old opponent at the midpoint of the 36-hole championship match. Then on the first hole in the afternoon round, Nasser rolled in a 39-foot downhill putt with a 15-foot break to extend the lead to 5 up.
Gilchrist, a reinstated amateur who was medalist in this tourney 10 years ago, refused to fold, even when Nasser followed up by rolling in a 12-foot birdie putt on the next hole.
'I expected him to make the putt on the first hole,' said Gilchrist, 'because that's how I always think. I told my dad (who was his caddie for the day) that I couldn't afford to lose another hole. I had to stay positive and keep chipping away.'
Gilchrist did exactly that. When the course turned towards the ocean, he won the par-5 sixth with a birdie and the par-4 eighth and ninth with pars to draw within 2 down, but that was as close as he could get. Nasser won the 12th hole with a par 3, after executing a delicate long pitch shot from deep rough to within two feet of the hole. Gilchrist hit his tee shot on No. 12 into a bunker and left his explosion shot in the bunker, ultimately making bogey 4. Nasser immediately gave that hole back on the 13th when he three-putted from four feet above the hole, but regained his three-hole lead when Gilchrist three putted the 15th hole from 25 feet. Pars on No. 16 closed out the match.
Nasser, who hadn't won a tournament since his junior days in 2002, became the first USC Trojan to win this even since Nick Jones in 2000.
'This was a tournament I really wanted to win for my grandfather,' said Nasser. 'He died a couple of weeks ago and he had hoped to be here for this tournament. I saw him on the day he died and he told me to follow my dreams.'
Nasser's win was a true family affair. His dad, Burhan, was on the bag for all nine rounds and his mother, Mary Beth, walked every step of the way.