Peter Kuest was able to handle a rising high school golf star but not one from the college ranks Friday, falling a win short of reaching the match-play final at the 105th California Amateur Championship at Valencia Country Club.
Kuest, the Clovis West grad headed next fall to BYU, beat Bellarmine College Prep-San Jose’s Eddy Lai 2 up in a quarterfinal but lost to UNLV’s Shintaro Ban 3 and 2 in a semifinal. Kuest was seeded eighth after stroke play, Ban fourth and Lai 32nd.
Ban, a sophomore this past season, earned PING All-West Region honors in leading the Rebels to the Mountain West Conference championship. With the match square through five holes, Ban won holes 6 and 7 by a stroke to take the 2-up advantage.
Kuest cut the deficit in half at the 305-yard 11th with a par 4. Ban, after a bogey at 11, birdied the 387-yard 12th and 386-yard 13th while Kuest had to settle each time for par.
In Saturday’s 36-hole final, Ban will face 15th-seeded and UCLA-bound Hidetoshi Yoshihara, the CIF State champion out of Woodbridge-Irvine.
Ban’s brother, Shotaro, who plays for Cal, won the 2015 championship at Lake Merced GC in Daly City.
Lai was named the (San Jose) Mercury News Boys Golfer of the Year in May, coming off a junior season in which he won the Central Coast Section championship and the team finished fourth at the CIF State tournament.
Kuest led 3 up through 14 before Lai won holes 15 and 16. After halving 17 to keep it at 1 up, Kuest birdied 18 to take that hole by a stroke.
Kings River Junior Championship – Modesto’s Nick O’Brien shot rounds of 71 and 73 to finish at par in capturing the overall boys championship at the tournament at Kings River Golf and Country Club. Among other champs, Fresno’s Cameron DeLaere (Clovis West) needed two holes to emerge from a three-way playoff with the boys 16-18 crown and Clovis High’s Hayden Mammen went to a playoff before edging Fresno’s Allyson Musser (Clovis West) for the overall girls title.