2 from SCV secure U.S. Amateur golf bids

Jonathan Kang, pictured hear as a Golden Valley senior, advanced to the U.S. Amateur Championship on Monday. Dan Watson/The Signal

One day after two Santa Clarita residents advanced to golf’s most prestigious amateur event, the topic of conversation, of all things, was time management.

Golden Valley High graduate Jonathan Kang – who took first place Monday at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale during U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifying – told The Signal that the toughest adjustment he had to make this year, his first at UC Irvine, was juggling 6:30 a.m. practices and 16 credits as a business administration major.

Forty-six-year-old Santa Clarita resident Corby Segal, on the other hand, said his duties as a caddie on the PGA Tour limited the amount of time he could practice before Monday’s 36-hole qualifier, in which he tied for second (the top three golfers advanced to the U.S. Amateur Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades).

Segal, the father of an 8-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter, said if he were to advance to match play at the U.S. Amateur next month and it conflicted with his responsibilities working for golfer Brandon Hagy on the tour, he’d bow out and fly back to work.

“This is just fun,” said Segal, who caught a flight at 7:30 p.m. out of Illinois on Sunday after the John Deere Classic, arriving at LAX around 9:30 and deplaning at 11:10.

He arrived home at 1 a.m., did laundry and hit the sack by 2:30.

Four hours later, he drove to Oakmont.

He shot a 3-under 68 over the first 18 holes at a golf course he’s overly familiar with. He plays the course regularly with friends who are members.

“I was comfortable playing those holes, fairways and greens,” he said.

The familiarity calmed any nerves down the stretch as he birdied his final hole to finish at 1-under for the day and 4-under for the tournament.

It was his fourth time qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.

After dinner with friends, Segal caught a flight at 11:55 p.m. and arrived in Atlanta at 8:15 a.m.

He then drove to Alabama to join Hagy for the Barbasol Championship, which starts Thursday, and fielded questions from a reporter over the phone from his hotel bed early in the evening.

Kang’s schedule wasn’t quite as packed, but it would hardly qualify as light.

He played in the San Diego City Amateur Championship on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, finishing second and building confidence for Monday’s event, where he got off to a hot start.

Kang birdied five of his first eight holes, ending at 4-under after 18.

He shot a 2-under 69 in his second round.

For the day, his back halves were solid, if not spectacular. The same could be said for his freshman year at Irvine.

He found it hard to balance an arduous practice schedule with school work, and after a strong fall, his play during the spring semester didn’t quite live up to his expectations.

His high school coach, Tony Moskal, though, believes Kang has the character to make the transition.

“His work ethic on the golf course really translates into the classroom,” Moskal said. “You’re not going to be good at one and bad at the other. Either you have good work ethic or you don’t.”

For now, Kang will continue to train in Santa Clarita before playing at Riviera on Aug. 14.

The location was particularly alluring to Segal, who has caddied at the course numerous times over an 18-year career on the PGA Tour, but has rarely played there.

His first allegiance, of course, will be to Hagy, who currently ranks 128th in the FedExCup standings.

The top 125 players advance to the FedExCup Playoffs.


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