Padilla Displays Fine Form at Right Time
First, Greg Padilla was lucky; then he was good.
And the combination proved overwhelming to the rest of the field at the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship at the SCGA Members’ Club in Murrieta.
Padilla of Del Mar, who will be a senior at Arizona State, fired a four-under 67 in the final round Sunday to win the tournament by two strokes over Mike Samoles of San Diego.
Padilla, who thought he didn’t have to submit an entry form for the tournament because he was exempt after a top-10 finish last year, missed the entry deadline and was allowed in only when Dave Olsen of Burbank withdrew because of personal reasons.
He took advantage, made only one bogey in his final two rounds, and posted his first victory since winning a junior tournament in 1995.
“It was awesome,” Padilla said. “I didn’t know until Tuesday that I’d be playing but I had been looking forward to playing it all year. I play so many national-level tournaments that I represent Southern California in. I wanted to come back here and play.”
Padilla started the day tied with Samoles for third place, two shots behind Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes and one behind California Amateur champion Ed Cuff Jr. of Temecula, but shot a sizzling 32 on the front nine Sunday and had a three-stroke lead at the turn.
A birdie at the difficult, 226-yard par-three 10th hole separated him from the three pursuers, who all made bogeys. Padilla’s birdie was the only one among the top 15 finishers at the 10th hole.
“I was trying to keep track of where everyone was,” Padilla said. “But when I birdied 10 I knew I had a good lead and I said, ‘forget it and play it out.’ ”
Padilla made pars on the next seven holes. He saved par with a 10-foot putt after nearly hitting his drive out of bounds on the par-five 13th, and got up and down from a tough lie at the par-three 16th.
His bogey at the 18th hole was his first in two days, but with a three-shot cushion, it didn’t matter.
“He played so well,” said Cuff, who holed a 100-yard shot for eagle to pull within three shots at the par-four 11th. “But any time I had an opening he made a long putt for par. He deserves this.”