Martin Trainer holed a 7-foot putt on the 17th green to go 1-up on 49-year-old Randy Haag, and held on to become the youngest-ever San Francisco city golf champion Sunday in the 92nd year of the event.
Trainer, 16, a junior at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, came back from as many as three-down with 15 holes to play in the 36-hole final at Harding Park. Trainer eclipsed golfing great Ken Venturi, the previous youngest champion who won the city title in 1950 at age 18.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Trainer said. “I thought it was up for grabs the last few holes and when I made that putt I thought I had a chance.”
Haag, in his third city championship final in as many decades after running up in 1984 and winning the 1999 crown, sent his tee-shot too far right on the 175-yard par three 17th (playing as the 35th hole in the round). The ball bounced out of a patch of dirt and toward the green but landed in a downhill lie, buried under grass.
Haag tried to chip to the fringe and roll the ball close to the pin, but it stopped as soon as it touched the short apron, and Haag failed to one-putt to halve the hole.
The players were all square after 18 before Haag appeared to take charge winning three straight holes. But Trainer then won five of six holes, including rescuing par on the 440-yard 6th, despite missinga green which Haag made in two.
The youngster raced his third shot within four feet of the pin, squaring things at the time when Haag missed his par putt.
After that they pushed pressure back and forth like an accordion while both competitors endured frequent shotgun reports from Pacific Rod and Gun Club across Lake Merced, a distraction observers called a tournament tradition.
Trainer has offers to play intercollegiate golf at UC Berkeley and Arizona, but he insisted his future remains undecided.
17-year-old Emily Childs beat Dorothy Schwartz 1-up in the Ladies’ Championship final. Jim Knoll won the Senior Championship, beating Frank Pieper 2-up.
In the Men’s Open tournament, Brian Ungaretti survived Chris Curtola, 2-up in the John Susko Flight; Ron Gordon won the Sandy Tatum Flight 1-up over Jason Yip; Sean Denny emerged from the Tom Culligan, Sr., Flight 5-and-4 ahead of John Henning; Chris Ingram defeated Cruz Oliveros 2-up in the Ken Venturi Flight and Jon Levine won the Harvie Ward Flight 1-up against Chris Matthews.
Women’s Open winners were Linda Brown, who won 4-and-3 over Jody Ho in the Julie Inkster Flight, and Alexandra Wong, winning 2-up ahead of Samantha Stockton.