The 117th California State Open Champion wasn’t decided until David Gazzolo’s ball found the bottom of the hole for par on 72nd hole to win by one stroke at Bear Creek Golf Club. Gazzolo, of Riverside, California, stayed robust throughout the final round posting a 2-under 70 to overcome a two stroke deficit leading into the day with plenty of players also making a charge and challenging late.
With the steady play from the Riverside resident, Gazzolo had a scoring average of 68 over the four days with rounds of 70-68-64-70 and a tournament total of 272 for 16-under par to be crowned the 117th California State Open Champion.
Zane Thomas of Las Vegas was leading entering the final round by two strokes over of the field, but stumbled right out of the gate double bogeying the first hole of the day. Thomas battled after the slow start to string together seven pars and a birdie in his front nine of the final round. Standing on the tenth tee, and the 64th hole of the Championship, Thomas and Gazzolo were knotted atop the leaderboard each at 15-under par, setting the stage for a thrilling back nine in the State Open.
The Par 5 11th is where the movement began, as Gazzolo gave himself some cushion and took the lead when he poured in an eagle for a three shot swing as Thomas carded a bogey on the same hole.
Thomas finished the final round with a 77 to finish fifth in the Championship.
Tyler Torano of Chula Vista made a charge and found himself in the mix late, rallying with three birdies on his final nine holes to fire a final round of 67 for a four day total of 273 (72-69-65-67). Torano’s tournament total of 15-under par was the clubhouse leader allowing Tyler to watch Gazzolo, who at the time had a three stroke lead, close at Bear Creek’s final holes. On the 16th hole, 156 yard par 3, Gazzolo slipped with a three-putt double bogey putting him only one stroke clear of Torano, keeping it interesting and forcing him to par the final two closing holes to be victorious. Gazzolo collected himself after the near disaster on the 16th and calmly parred the 17th and then found the green in regulation on the 18th. Leaving his final putt as a tap in for victory, Gazzolo hung on with the strong finish to win the 117th California State Open.
David Kim of Buena Park emerged in the final round carding a 65 to jump up the leaderboard and capture Low Amateur honors for the Championship. The UC Irvine sophomore posted rounds of 72-73-72-65 for a strong six under 282 four day total. Lee’s low round of the final day, 65, placed him for a T11 finish overall.
Michael Block, PGA, of Arroyo Trabuco Country Club had a nice showing finishing in third place with rounds of 68-71-66-69 for a total of 14 under 274 for low PGA Professional honors. After Block’s strong performance in the State Open, he hopped on a plane and will be in this week’s field for the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. Block was low PGA Member in both the SoCal Open and the California State Open this year.
For the first time in its storied history, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Creek Golf Club hosted the California State Open with a field of 149 participants each hopeful to etch their name next to past Champion greats such as Walter Hagen, Roger Maltbie and Kirk Triplett to name a few. The challenging Par 72 championship layout was matched by championship conditions throughout the week in the ever challenging house that Jack built. Once hosting some of the first PGA TOUR Skins Games, Bear Creek Golf Club was the perfect setting for the California State Open.
Thank you to Bear Creek Golf Club and their membership for being such gracious host for the State Open. The opportunity to open their doors for the week is greatly valued by the SCPGA. We also thank the product partners in Pepsi, Impact Canopy, and Sterling Cut Glass.
Great appreciation goes to the CSO Rules Committee for the extended hours they kindly donate during the week to better the game: Ron O’Connor, PGA, Lee Wortman, Gary Wilson, Keith Reinking, Gary Albin, Terry Startzel, Jim Anders, and the great starter on the first hole Steve Frank.
The SCPGA is excited to announce that the California State Open will return to Bear Creek Golf Club in 2017.