Walking up to the 18th and final hole at Valencia Country Club, West Ranch’s Zoe Campos knew she had to birdie the hole to force a playoff with leader Alexa Melton at the Southern California Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship.
“Honestly, I just wanted to hit a good drive down the middle because it’s always a good start,” Campos said.
Using her three-wood for a layup on her second shot, Campos anticipated that she would get the ball close and then birdie her fourth shot.
Things didn’t go as planned. Campos’ over-hit her third shot and had to tried to chip in for birdie, but the attempt came up short and she settled for a five-stroke par.
Finishing in second place with an 8-under 211, Campos finished just one stroke behind Melton after the 56-hole tournament, which was held on Monday and Tuesday.
“I was a bit nervous in the beginning since I did have a bad start, but I knew if I could make a couple birdies after those mistakes I could get back in the back nine,” Campos said.
Falling behind early, Campos double-bogeyed the third hole on a 3-putt and then bogeyed the sixth hole, while Melton was at even par through the seventh hole.
“I was planning to go for the pin on the right side of the green, but I pushed it right and chipped it past the hole and missed the comebacker for a double,” Campos said. “On the sixth, I hit a good drive down the middle and then I pushed it right, where there’s water.”
Playing against some of the most elite amateur competition in the world, Campos managed to shoot under par in every round, with her best finish coming in the second round shooting a 4-under, 69.
”I was really thinking about that during the tournament,” Campos said. “But now that it’s over, I’m proud of myself and it gives me confidence for the future tournaments, and shooting under par really helped with my mental game too.”
Finishing the tournament hitting 11 birdies and managing only two bogeys or worse in the 56 hole tournament, Campos earned her second-place finish ahead of UCLA superstar and second-ranked amateur in the world, Lilia Vu.
“The field was pretty strong, but for the course, it wasn’t really hard because it was my home course and I knew it. The thing was that I couldn’t make putts. I usually stroke it really good, but I just read it wrong and I thought it would break more and most of them didn’t.”