With one of the lowest cut lines in the history of the event, this year’s 98th Annual California State Fair Golf Championship at Haggin Oaks is turning out to be a battle for the ages.
And that’s saying a lot, because under the leadership of the Sacramento Golf Council, the tournament celebrates its rich history with previous winners such as Ken Venturi, Al Geiberger, Kevin Sutherland, George Archer, and more. Even more recently, PGA Tour stars like Cameron Champ, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Patrick Cantley, Maverick McNealy, and Nick Watney have cut their playing teeth participating in the event prior to stardom.
Not only were the scores, deep in the red, so was the temperature for this year’s event. After a high temperature of 102 on day one of the event, the heat climbed up to 105 on day two. But the field refused to be deterred by the sun’s pressure- as shown by the cut line being a remarkable -2 this year. An amazing 41 players shot in the red under par- but only those T32 or better will be seeing the final round this Labor Day Monday.
Each of the players are striving to add their name to the historic Sacramento Clearing House silver trophy that was first used in the tournament back in 1925 and won by Geo Richie from the Olympic Club.
But two players stood out among all the others on day one of play and those were recent CSU Northridge graduate Blake Brothers whose 66-68-134 (-10) score left him atop the leaderboard alone. Blake Brothers competed in five tournaments and 15 rounds for the Matadors in his final season this past year and led CSUN with a 71.1 scoring average which set a CSUN season scoring record. Brothers earned first-team All-Big West honors for the second straight season and was the Matadors’ low player in two of five tournaments in the fall. He closed his career with a 72.6 scoring average at CSUN. But right behind Brothers is a familiar name to the leaderboard, last year’s second-round leader and teenage sensation Jaden Dumdumaya who fired 70-65-135 (-9) to share second place alone. The De La Salle student-athlete, Jaden Dumdumaya ’24, made a clutch 15-foot putt on the 18th Hole at Augusta National earlier this year, before celebrating with his father and mother, to win the 2022 Boys 14-15 Division Drive, Chip, and Putt competition. He’s been on a tear on the JGANC Tour this summer as well, picking up trophies right and left.
First-round leader, UC Davis Junior and Sacramento native (Inderkum HS) Jacob Westberg was tied with two others for third place after a second-round 71 had him another stroke back at -8. He was tied with his UC Davis teammate and Auburn native, Lucas Carper, and another local star, Tanner Makimoto. Tanner just recently won the won the California State Fair Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
A threesome is another stroke back at -7 including Baron Szeto, Viraj Garewal and Maverick Pavletich whose home is in Bakersfield but plays for the University of the Pacific.
Last year’s champion, Tony Chen of Berkley, opened up defense of his title with an even-par 72, but shot an incredible 66 in his second round to move into the top ten.
A full scoreboard with a listing of all the final scores can be found here:
About the course:
The MacKenzie Golf Course was designed in 1932 by the renowned Dr. Alister MacKenzie, who designed several of the world’s top courses, including Augusta National, Royal Melbourne, and Cypress Point. The MacKenzie Golf Course is a classic “parkland” golf course with flat to rolling terrain. The fairways are lined with mature oak trees and the Arcade Creek meanders through the middle of the course. The course hosted the PGA Tour’s Sacramento Open from 1935-1938, and legendary players participated each year including Walter Hagen, Jimmy Demaret, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. The course also hosted the 1963 U.S. Public Links Championship and the 1992 U.S. Women’s Public Links Championship.