On a sunny Memorial Day afternoon at Riverside Golf Course, Colby Thomason felt the heat beating down as he pulled his drive on the 17th hole. It landed in the rough on the right side of the fairway, threatening his one-stroke lead in the 89th Fresno City Amateur Golf Championship.
But the 22-year-old Fresnan kept his cool, recovering soundly with a chip shot that landed about 4 feet from the pin. Thomason sank the birdie putt on the par-4, 383-yard hole and sailed through for a three-shot win with a par at the par-5 18th. He closed with a 1-under-par 71 for a 4-under 212 total.
“It feels great,” Thomason said after exchanging high-fives and hugs with family and friends. “You never know if you’re leading or a couple back. There’s a lot of guys that can make a ton of birdies out here. It felt good to make that birdie on 17 and have an easy 18th with a couple-shot lead.”
Thomason, a 2012 Memorial High School graduate, said the win was for his paternal grandparents, Burnie and Valdene Thomason, who weren’t able to attend the tournament: “They mean a whole lot to me and I want to dedicate this win to those guys.”
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This one is for my grandpa Burnie Thomason and my grandma Valdene Thomason. They mean a whole lot to me and I want to dedicate this win to those guys.
Colby Thomason, winner of the 89th Fresno City Amateur Men’s Golf Championship at Riverside Golf Course
Thomason shot a 69 in the second round to enter Monday’s final round at 1-under 141, one stroke behind leader and 2000 champion Jason Higton. The two, along with Bakersfield’s Rich Gilkey, were the last threesome.
But a challenge came from the group in front of them, as Englishman Adam Stone had a booming front nine. Stone, who just finished his sophomore season at Cal State East Bay as the California Collegiate Athletic Association individual champion last month, made six birdies to come within two strokes of the lead before a bogey on the 15th and a double bogey on the 17th.
Higton, who opened the tournament with two 70s, slipped early with bogeys at the fourth and fifth holes that cut his lead to one stroke.
That’s when Thomason jumped in front for good. At the par-5, 546-yard sixth hole, Thomason birdied – his first of four on the day – while Higton parred to swap places on the leaderboard.
Thomason made birdies on the ninth and 12th holes to get to 5 under, two strokes ahead of Stone and three in front of Higton.
But bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes nearly cost Thomason the lead, which shrank to one stroke before he persevered for his first Fresno City Amateur championship in five tries.
“I was putting well,” he said, “and it all came together.”
89th Fresno City Amateur results
Saturday-Monday at Riverside Golf Course
6,557 yards, par 72
1. Colby Thomason, Fresno, 72-69-71—212
T2. Adam Stone, Lancaster, UK, 76-71-68—215
T2. Jason Higton, Fresno, 70-70-75—215
T4. Danny Paniccia, Clovis, 69-73-74—216
T4. Rich Gilkey, Bakersfield, 70-71-75—216
6. Matt Lee, Hayward, 72-74-71—217
7. Sonny Freitas, Fresno, 72-73-73—218
T8. Michael Cliff, Fresno, 79-70-70—219
T8. Sam Smith, Turlock, 74-75-70—219
T8. Ben Scribner, San Francisco, 73-72-74—219
T8. Ian Oehlschlaeger, Clovis, 70-74-75—219
12. Chad Bell, Fresno, 73-71-77—221
T13. Ryan Higton, Fresno, 72-76-74—222
T13. Mike Facciani, Fresno, 73-74-75—222
T15. Shane Haag, Salinas, 77-72-74—223
T15. Paul Smith, Turlock, 74-75-74—223
T15. Joseph Choi, Bakersfield, 74-74-75—223
T18. Russell Takeuchi, Fresno, 76-72-76—224
T18. Jonathan Keane, San Francisco, 74-73-77—224
T18. Greg Loosigian, Fresno, 74-72-78—224
T21. Justin Avery, Clovis, 79-72-74—225
T21. Josh Watney, Clovis, 74-73-78—225
T21. TJ Masters, Fresno, 72-71-82—225
T24. Matthew Ashley, Fresno, 76-75-75—226
T24. Kyle Stewart, Fresno, 77-74-75—226
T24. Jackson Lake, Clovis, 72-76-78—226
T27. George McKean III, Kingsburg, 77-74-76—227
T27. Trent Nishimura, Fresno, 78-72-77—227
29. Peter Faragia, Fresno, 75-75-78—228
T30. William White III, Clovis, 76-75-78—229
T30. Andrew Medellin, Madera, 76-72-81—229
T30. Landon Polterock, Fresno, 76-71-82—229
T33. Michael Blake Miller, Clovis, 78-74-78—230
T33. Israel Garcia, Dinuba, 79-73-78—230
T35. John Andrews, Fresno, 75-77-80—232
T35. Ricky Stroude, Las Vegas, 73-73-86—232
T37. Ryder Rochin, Woodlake, 74-78-81—233
T37. Anthony Borges, Lodi, 76-74-83—233
39. Blair Myers, San Jose, 74-77-84—235
40. Rich Merritt, Clovis, 79-73-84—236
41. Nate Skibo, Madera, 80-70-87—237