After the morning rounds of the San Francisco City Championships at Harding Park Golf Course, it looked like easy runaway victories were in store in both the men’s and women’s championship flights.
But while Cal sophomore Brandon Hagy was able to close out St. Ignatius High School’s Jack Persons in just 29 holes to capture the men’s championship, 8 and 7, the women’s title went down to the 36th and final hole. Hannah Suh, who was 4-up at one point and was 3-up with three holes to play, held on to win 1-up when Briana Mao’s par putt slid past the cup on the 36th hole.
“It got really interesting at the end,” said Suh, a junior at San Jose’s Evergreen High School. “I had a chance to close out the match on 15, but left a birdie putt just short. Then things just working out for me and I started to get really nervous after [losing] 16 and 17.”
Mao, a senior from Folsom, carded pars on 16 and 17 and had a chance to send the match into extra holes at the 18th when Suh’s approach shot rebounded back off a hill and rolled into a greenside bunker. But Mao’s shot came up even shorter and both players had to settle for a closing two-putt par after escaping the traps.
“It was a lot of fun,” Suh said of her first trip to The City championships. “Playing 36 holes in one day wasn’t as bad I had thought it would be and having my brother Justin caddy for me helped.”
Hagy, a 19-year-old native of Southern California who tees it up for the Bears, played steady golf throughout the day, using a 30-40 yard length advantage off the tee to pull away from Persons. By the time the pair had finished the morning round, Hagy had already pulled out to a 4-up lead and increased his lead to 7-up by the eighth hole of the afternoon round.
“I hit my driver really well today and used my length advantage all day,” Hagy said. “I made some clutch putts, halved some holes and just stayed steady out there. That forced him to make some putts to try to catch up.”
For the most part, Persons wasn’t keepng up, but he did show signs of one last stand by winning the par-5 ninth after a brilliant approach shot left him in position for a two-putt birdie to cut the lead to 6-up with nine to play.
But Persons’ tee shot on the 10th landed in a hazard, forcing a drop and a one-stroke penalty that Hagy took full advantage of to regain his 7-up lead. On the par-3 11th, Hagy’s two-putt par was good enough to win the hole and the match.