Santa Clarita Valley golfers vie for spot in United States Amateur Championship

Jonathan Kang, a three-time MVP at Golden Valley and current University of California, Irvine student-athlete, competed at a U.S. Amateur qualifier on Monday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship begins on Aug. 5 and the Men’s Amateur starts on Aug. 12, with qualifying events across the country scheduled throughout the month of July. 

Several Santa Clarita Valley residents have already competed in qualifiers, with a couple making the cut for the leading annual amateur golf tournament in the United States. 

West Ranch student Zoe Campos came in first place in the qualifier at the Redlands Country Club on Monday, finishing 5-under par 65 in an 18-hole round to reach the Women’s Amateur.

Campos recorded six birdies including four in a row on holes No. 5 to No. 8 and only had one bogey, which was on the last hole of the day. She finished four strokes ahead of second-place finishers Briana Chacon of Whittier and Hailey Borja of Lake Forest. 

West Ranch student Zoe Campos finished in first place at a U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship qualifier. Katharine Lotze/For the Signal

Amanda Pape, a Valencia graduate, played at the qualifier at the Saticoy Club in Somis on July 1, but didn’t make the cut.

On the men’s side, Jonathan Kang, a three-time Foothill League MVP at Golden Valley who currently attends the University of California, Irvine, finished in fourth place in the qualifier at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana on Monday with a total score of 144.

He carded a 70 in the first round and a 74 in the second round, finishing with six total birdies and eight bogeys, ending up 2-over par.

“I was hitting the ball great, but the flatstick was kind of letting me down, sticking shots,” Kang said. “Made a couple putts, but not enough, really, and I had a bad stretch in the second round on my last nine holes where I bogeyed four of my last six which put me out of it.”

Though Kang barely missed the cut, he is the first alternate and still has a chance to make the U.S. Amateur. 

He previously qualified for the tournament in 2017.

“It’s a pretty slim chance but we’ll see,” Kang said about being an alternate. “It’s a little weird because you don’t know what to do, especially for flights and stuff, you don’t know if you should book it. I still got a chance I guess, you never know.”

Lincoln Melcher, a resident of Burbank who has been under the tutelage of Vista Valencia Golf Course instructor Zach Allen since he was 7 years old, tied for first place at the qualifier at El Caballero. 

Melcher scored a total of 139 in two rounds, recording a 67 in the first round and a 72 in the second to finish 3-under par. He logged nine total birdies, two bogeys and two double bogeys.

Corby Segal, a Santa Clarita native, finished 3-over par with a score of 145, narrowly missing the cut. He finished with a score of 70 in the first round and 75 in the second round.

Jess Scheller, a Hart alumnus who is attending Cal State Fullerton, also played in the qualifier at El Caballero. He carded a 151 total, with a score of 77 in the first round and 74 in the second.

Two College of the Canyons golfers also competed in qualifiers, with Blake Schneiter playing at El Caballero and Nobuhiko Wakaari playing at Bakersfield Country Club. 

Both Cougars missed the cut, with Schneiter carding a 183 (93, 90) and Wakaari finishing with a score of 146 (72, 74).

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