Canby, Ore. (June 26, 2010) - It was a historic finish at the 101st Oregon Amateur as 15-year old Monica Vaughn of Reedsport, Ore. became the youngest champion in the event's storied history with an 8 & 6 win over University of Oregon senior-to-be Erica Omlid of Springfield, Ore.
She began the 36-hole final opening with a 2-under par 70 on the 6,040-yard Willamette Valley layout, her personal best competitive round to date, giving her a 4-up advantage going into the afternoon. Her only hiccup of the day was on the difficult par-5 sixth hole where an errant shot ended up with a lost ball penalty and her only double-bogey of the day.
Omlid, however, was not able to capitalize on that single mistake. "It was bad course management," said Omlid. "I just selected the wrong club and my ball went into the water." After another penalty stroke she ended up losing that hole as well.
Vaughn was the stronger player today from tee to green. She out-distanced Omlid on most drives by 30-40 yards and was regularly in the middle of the fairway with a shorter iron to the green. Her putting was impeccable, too.
"Whenever she needed the clutch putt or chip to save or win a hole, she made it," noted match referree Brent Whittaker, the OGA Director of Tournament Operations.
Punctuating the day, on the final hole where she was dorme 7 and only needing to halve the hole to win the match, Vaughn sank a 30-foot birdie par to win.
Prior to today, the youngest champion was Jonathan Moore, of Vancouver, Wash. who won the event in 2001 at the age of 16.
Vaughn, in her freshman season at Reedsport High School, placed 2nd at the OSAA 4A/3A/2A/1A Girls Golf championships with scores of 76-74--150 on a 5,258-yard layout at Eagle Crest Resort, losing to Lindsay Harmon of Lake Oswego, Ore. Harmon, 17, lost in the quarterfinals of the Oregon Amateur to Amanda Jacobs 2 & 1, and Vaughn edged past Jacobs in the semifinals on the 22nd hole to make it to the finals.
Vaughn also won the Oregon Public Links title earlier this month at Wildhorse Resort in Pendleton, Ore. after shooting a 1-under par 72-71--143 on a 5,723 yard layout.
In the past couple year's, Vaughn's won numerous times on the Oregon Junior Golf circuit in the Intermediate Girls (12-14) division, and she captured the Pee Wee Girls (8-11) crown in 2006. But her father noted that this year they made the decision to see how well she could elevate her game against better competition and made the decision to add a number of adult events to her schedule. "There's really not much competition for her at the high school level," he said. "It all depends on her goals and where she wants to take her game. If she wants to be a just go to college and play golf, we'll take one approach. If she wants to win at the collegiate level and have numerous colleges recruiting her, then we'll take a different approach to developing her game. And if she wants to make it to the LPGA, then we'll change it up again. It all depends on what she wants to do."
The Men's competition was far closer and was a "civil war" of sorts albeit lacking the historical significance of the Women's contest. At the end of the day, Paul Peterson of Salem, Ore, who completed his competitive golf career at Oregon State this spring, defeated Jack Paton of Hillsborough, Calif. 4 & 2.
Like Vaughn, Peterson's opening round was 2-under par 70 on the 7,175-yard layout, good enough to be 3-up going into the afternoon round. He finished the day at even par for the holes played, but had to survive a rally from Paton, the left-handed red-shirt sophomore from the University of Oregon.
On holes 9 to 11, Paton went birdie-birdie-par and was only 1-down with 7 holes left to play.
On the par-3 13th hole, with the hole tucked far right and behind the pond, Peterson nearly holed his tee shot and walked away with a conceeded birdie to return to 2-up. A miscue bogey by Paton on the lengthy 227-yard par-3 15th hole left Peterson dorme 3, and then on the signature par-4 16th hole, Paton pulled his tee shot into the trees on the left. The hole was tucked on the top left tier and he had no shot at getting it there. His only option was to shoot for the right side of the green where he would be 100+ feet to the hole.
Peterson, on the other hand, placed his tee shot perfectly, and he landed his approach within 10 feet of the hole. Like Vaughn, he just didn't want to walk away the victor by halving the hole so he slid a left to right breaker into the center of the hole and punctuated his title with a closing birdie, adding Oregon Amateur Champion to his 2009 Oregon Men's Stroke Play title.
This past season, Peterson tied for the ninth-best single season scoring average in Oregon State history. He's had much success in regional stroke play competitions at both the junior and adult levels. But
match play titles had previously eluded him. He was runner-up at the 2005 Oregon Junior Amateur Championship (also played at Willamette Valley) as well as at the 2006 Oregon Junior Amateur Championship. In both instances he lost to golfers that would go on to play at the University of Oregon (Jack Dukeminier and Robbie Ziegler).
The Oregon Amateur Championship, administered by the Oregon Golf Association, is one of the oldest and most prestigious amateur sporting competitions in the state. While many state Championships have become stroke play competitions, the Oregon Amateur, one of the nation’s oldest, remains true to its roots playing the same traditional match play format that’s used to this day to determine the best amateur champions even at the national level. It’s also one of the few men’s and women’s amateurs held concurrently, always played at the same time at the same site. It is held only at the finest golf courses and historically showcases some of the most talented amateur golfers in the Northwest.