Pepperdine Senior All-American Michael Putnam Wins Pacific Coast Amateur
Aug. 7, 2004
In what was the ultimate roller-coaster ride, Pepperdine senior All-American Michael Putnam won the 38th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship on Friday by sinking a six-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a three-man playoff at Eugene Country Club, the first playoff in more than 20 years at the West Coast's premiere amateur championship. The 21-year-old Putnam, who will be a senior at Pepperdine this fall, started the day with a three-shot lead, lost it early in the front nine, then made three birdies on the back nine to finish at 7 under par (67-70-67-73) for the tournament. That was enough to get him into a playoff with Spencer Levin of Elk Grove, Calif., and Andrew Martin of Melbourne. Levin, who led after a first-round 66, finished with 71-70-70, while Martin, the 2004 Australian Amateur champion, posted scores of 71-67-71-68. Joe Lanza of Bainbridge Island, WA, missed a birdie chip by inches on the final hole and finished fourth at 278, 6 under par, a shot in front of Lindsay Bernakevitch of Vancouver, who made a late run by eagling the par-five 16th and birdying the 17th. Another BC resident, Craig Doell of Victoria, finished in sixth place at 4 under par. As was the case Thursday, Putnam struggled on the front nine today, making four bogies and no birdies. "With all of that," said Putnam later, "I knew I had a chance heading to the 10th tee." He also got a "break" when the rain showers and brisk winds raked the back nine. "I'm from Washington," he said later with a smile. We're used to this sort of weather all the time." Putnam made birdie 3 on 11th hole by sinking a 20-foot sliding, left-to-right putt, birdied the 13th hole by sinking a 30-footer and knocked an eight-iron shot onto the par-five 16th hole and two putted for birdie. Putnam then earned his way into the playoff by getting up and down from 100 feet on the final hole, sinking a seven-foot par putt to advance. Levin appeared to be in command, holding a two-stroke advantage over the field playing the par-five 16th. But after leaving his second shot short of the green, Levin needed four shots to finish the hole. "That was a really tough position for Spencer to be in," said Putnam later. After a double-bogey 5 on the seventh hole, the 19-year-old Martin, playing in the group in front of Levin and Putnam, also rallied on the back nine, with four birdies to get to 7 under par. He birdied the par-four 10th and 14th holes with 20-foot putts, two-putted for birdie 4 on the 13th hole and knocked a sand wedge shot to within six feet of the hole and sank the putt for a birdie 3 on the 17th hole.