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119th Amateur Championship

August 16-19 | Spyglass Hill 


The oldest of the NCGA’s major events, the Amateur Championship, dates back to 1903 when it was first played at San Rafael GC.

The antique sterling silver trophy reveals a who’s who of historical Northern California amateur golfers including Pebble Beach course designer Douglas Grant, Charlie Seaver, Lawson Little Jr., as well as current and past PGA Tour players Kevin Sutherland, Arron Olberholser, Spencer Levin, Maverick McNealy, Matt Bettencourt, Roger Maltbie and Ray Leach.

Varying formats have been used over the 106 years of competition but today the tournament is 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, followed by a 32-person seeded match play bracket. The one-day final match is a 36-hole test of stamina and concentration after a week of golf at Spyglass Hill. The event has been played at Spyglass Hill every year since 1966, with the exception of 1996 when the course was closed due to renovations.

The largest winning margin was in 1930 when Herbert Schultz beat Hugh Ditzler by 11 & 10 at Castlewood GC, this was equaled in 2004 when Spencer Levin claimed the title. The longest final match was seen in 2007 when Ryan Hallisey triumphed on the 39th hole over Jeremy Gearhart, equaling the record set in 1947. Notable runner-up finishers include Ken Venturi and Johnny Miller, with Jack Neville having finished runner-up more than any other player, five times.

At the 2015 championship, Stanford junior and No.2 world-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy set a championship record for low round during stroke play qualifying with a 7-under 65. The 65 was a low for any NCGA event held at Spyglass Hill. Blake Hathcoat matched the 65 in 2018.The two-day, 36-hole scoring record for stroke play qualifying is 10-under 134, set by Finigan Tilly in 2017. Tilly’s stroke play total of 10-under 134 is the low 36-hole total for any NCGA event that’s been held at Spyglass Hill.

The event often determines the NCGA’s Player of the Year award with 700 points awarded to the winner. Multiple-time Player of the Year winners Casey Boyns and Randy Haag have both claimed the championship twice. Over 300 players attempt to qualify for the championship each year and the event is open to anyone with a handicap index of 5.4 or less.


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In a span of over a century, only 10 players had ever won the California Amateur Championship and the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship in the same year. San Jose resident Shintaro Ban is the latest to join the list.


As he scanned the names on the sterling silver trophy, Stanford junior Isaiah Salinda slowly began shaking his head in realizing what he’d accomplished. “There’s a lot of history on here,” Salinda said. “It’s awesome. It’s an honor.” 


Just prior to the formal presentation, 18-year-old San Jose resident Thomas Hutchison took a good look at some of the engraved names on the trophy. The list includes the likes of amateur legends Lawson Little Jr. and Charlie Seaver as well as current or past PGA Tour members Kevin Sutherland, Arron Oberholser and Spencer Levin. Hutchison’s name will soon be engraved as well.


While progressing through the ranks, including winning Junior Tour of Northern California Player of the Year honors in 2014, Danville resident Josh McCarthy has always had his eyes on the NCGA’s biggest prize. It’s now his.


Having already competed each of the four previous weeks, UC Davis sophomore Lucas Carper wasn’t sure he had enough gas in the tank for the grind that is the NCGA Amateur Championship. The 19-year-old former Junior Tour of Northern California standout and No.26 seed not only hung in there, but ended up taking home the biggest amateur prize in Northern California, defeating No.12 seed Weston Payne, 5 and 4, in Friday’s 36-hole final at Spyglass Hill.


When the last putt fell in, Sam Sommerhauser and his caddie, his dad Dave, exchanged a high-five and a long hug. A marathon week had ended in victory.


When his pitch shot from the rough on the green of what was the 34th hole dropped in for birdie and a 2-up lead, Reno resident Ian Gilligan let loose with a Tiger-esque fist pump.


Past Champions

Year Winner Score
2022 Ian Gilligan 2 & 1
2021 Sam Sommerhauser 3 & 2
2020 Lucas Carper 5 & 4
2019 Josh McCarthy 7 & 5
2018 Thomas Hutchison 3 & 1
2017 Isaiah Salinda 1-up
2016 Shintaro Ban 10 & 9
2015 Maverick McNealy 6 & 5
2014 Matthew Seramin 1-up
2013 Ben Geyer 5 & 4
2012 Jake Yount 6 & 4

More Past Champions

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