University of California golfer claims PNGA Amateur crown

Updated: August 5, 2012

Shotaro Ban of San Jose, Calif. defeated Carl Jonson of Bainbridge Island, Wash. 5&4 in the Championship Match of the 111th Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship, held at Wine Valley Golf Club. The Championship Match, to be played over 36 holes, was delayed for 70 minutes due to weather. Once the thunderstorm rolled through, the two players teed it up at 8:40am.

Ban, a sophomore at the University of Calif., Berkeley, bolted out of the gate, winning six of the first eight holes, highlighted by an eagle on the 625-yard par-5 eighth hole, when he holed a wedge shot from 103 yards. He shot a 4-under-par 32 on the first nine for a 6up lead. Despite continually being out driven by Jonson, Ban’s iron play was relentless.

Ban kept it going on the second nine, getting to 8up after 13 holes, and hadn’t lost a hole yet. Ban’s first – and as it would turn out, his only – mistake of the day came on the 515-yard par-5 15th hole. In the left front bunker in two, his third shot came out short and started rolling back toward the bunker. Ban reached out and removed a rake before the rolling ball could hit it, which led to an automatic loss of hole penalty. “I learned something today,” said Ban. “It was an automatic reflex (to move the rake).”

Jonson, 19 and a sophomore at UNLV, got off to a slow start, three-putting two of the first three holes, and found himself down by eight after 13 holes.