Golf: James Leow over the moon with Pacific Coast crown

A birdie on the final hole sealed Singaporean James Leow's triumph at the 55th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship. PHOTO: PACIFIC COAST AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP/FACEBOOK

A birdie on the final hole sealed Singaporean James Leow's triumph at the 55th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon.

Going into the final round tied with Caleb Surratt of Knoxville, Tennessee, he shot a 68 to the former's 70 to claim a two-stroke victory last Friday (July 22).

The 2019 SEA Games individual champion's triumph was all the more sweet as he shot four sub-par rounds of two-under 69, 67, 65 and 68 to claim the honours with a 15-under 269 total.

"I'm really excited to get the win," Leow, 25, told the tournament's website. "It's been a while, I've been competing and my golf has been a little up-and-down, but it's always good to play some good golf down the stretch of the week."

In the final round, Leow and Surratt were paired with Sam Choi of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Leow and Surratt were neck and neck the entire final round, both players got around the front nine in even par and they stood on the 10th tee tied for the lead.

They both made birdie on 10, Leow made birdie on 11, and then Surratt tied it back up with a birdie on 12. They matched pars on 13 and then both birdied No. 14.

On the 15th hole, Surratt made bogey while Leow made par to take a one-shot lead.

Then on the 16th hole, Leow gave it right back with a bogey of his own, and the two players were tied again.

On the par-four 17th hole, both players hit the green in regulation. Leow got in for par while Surratt made bogey. This gave Leow a one-up advantage with one to play over Surratt and Choi, who birdied the 17th to climb back in it.

After a perfect tee shot on the par-four 18th, Leow stuck his second shot to four feet and he drained the birdie putt for the championship.

"I didn't check my phone, but I had a rough idea of where I was at and where the other two (Surratt and Choi) were at," said Leow. "Down the stretch it was really tight with Sam making a comeback and Caleb chasing after me too, it was a great match and I had so much fun out there."

Leow, the 115th-ranked amateur player in the world, had just finished his senior season as a member of the Arizona State University men's golf team. He played on the International team in the 2022 Palmer Cup and he'll be playing in both the Western Amateur and US Mid-Amateur Championship later this summer.

"This reassures me that I've been practising hard and I'm moving in the right direction," said Leow. "My next event is the Western Amateur where all the top amateurs in the world are going to play, so it just reassures me that I have what it takes to compete against the best. I can win the Western Amateur, too."

Finishing in a tie for second place, two shots back, were Surratt and Choi.

The Pacific Coast Amateur Championship is one of the oldest and most prestigious amateur golf championships in North America. The first tournament was held on the links of San Francisco Golf Club at The Presidio in 1901. It ceased to exist in 1911, only to be reconstituted at Seattle Golf Club in 1967. Previous winners include Will Zalatoris (2016) and Ben Crane (1998).

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