An eagle on the par-5 14th hole nicknamed “Long John Silver” put UC Davis’ Lucas Carper over the top on Friday afternoon, lifting him to a victory over Weston Payne in the 36-hole championship match of the 117th annual Northern California Golf Association Amateur Championship at Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach.
Carper, who wrapped up his fifth tournament since the end of June, becomes the second UC Davis golfer to win the event in the last three years after teammate Thomas Hutchison brought home the trophy in 2018, and the fourth Aggie overall, joining Matt Seramin (2014) and Matt Marshall (2008).
After finishing with a 4-over 148 following two days of stroke play that placed him in a tie for 18th, Carper never trailed once match play began on Wednesday (Aug. 12), taking down a quartet of top-10 seeds leading up to the championship match.
Seeded 26th in the final field of 32, the mechanical engineering major from San Jose, dispatched seventh-seeded Alex Chin, and the number 10 seed Evan Peterson, to book a trip to the quarterfinals. On Thursday, Carper handed second-seeded Garrett Boe a defeat before upsetting third-seeded Brad Reeves to advance to Friday’s final against Payne.
Wasting little time on Friday, Carper won the first two holes and four of the final five on the front nine to go 5-up and finish the front with a 4-under 32. He also posted a win on the 10th hole to go 6-up before giving holes back on 13 and 14, eventually rebuilding his lead with wins on 16 and 17 to finish five shots better than Payne through the first 18 holes.
As the pair returned to the first hole, Payne began to chip away at Carper’s lead, cutting the deficit in half with wins on number one, number four, and number six, before the two traded victories on seven and eight. Carper then shut the door on the back nine thanks to a par on the par-3 12th (Payne bogeyed) and his eagle on number 14 to clinch the match.
In the run-up to this week’s event, Carper finished 39th at the Rice Planters Amateur in South Carolina, lost in a playoff after tying for first at eight-under at the Magnolia Amateur in Mississippi, narrowly missed the match-play cut at the California State Amateur, and finished tied for 26th at the Arizona Open.
The oldest of the NCGA’s major events, the Amateur Championship dates back to 1903 and has been played at Spyglass Hill since 1966, with the lone exception of the 1996 event when the course was undergoing renovations. Other winners of the championship include current and past PGA Tour players Kevin Sutherland, Arron Olberholser, Spencer Levin, Maverick McNealy, Matt Bettencourt, Roger Maltbie and Ray Leach.