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Amateur Golf: Panay wins Troon Saguero Series tournament at Silverado Resort in Napa
Amateur Golf

Amateur Golf: Panay wins Troon Saguero Series tournament at Silverado Resort in Napa

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Costas Panay did not have a lot of time to prepare himself and get ready for this week’s Silverado Amateur, the fourth event of the Troon Saguaro Amateur Series for 2020-21.

Panay and his family made the 14-hour drive from their home in Redmond, Washington, and upon arriving in Napa on Tuesday, he got out of the car and headed straight to the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa for a practice round.

It was already getting late in the day, so Panay was able to play only holes 7 through 18. He never saw the first six holes until the opening round of the two-day, 54-hole tournament on Wednesday.

“I got here late to my practice round,” said Panay, a member of the UC Berkeley men’s golf team who is going into his sophomore year. “Golf is dealing with adversity. It’s mental adversity, physical challenges, whatever it may be, whether it’s walking 36 holes or leaving yourself short-sided on a green.

“Everything is about adversity in this game, specifically. So that’s just another kind of thing you’ve got to deal with and everyone goes through something like that once in a while. You’ve got to learn to kind of roll with the punches and go with what you have.”

Fortunately for Panay, he was able to gather some insight and a feel for the course from watching Golf Channel’s coverage of the Safeway Open, a PGA Tour event played in the fall at Silverado.

“I just kind of saw what the Tour guys were doing. Knowing I was coming here, I did some homework,” he said. “I would say this golf course is super demanding off the tee. If you want to score well, you have to hit it well off the tee. You have to know where to hit it off the tee.

“The tournament staff really did a great job with the pins. They made it very tough. There were some pins that you looked at and you just had to decide if you’re going to be aggressive or if you’re going to play it safe. It was a great test of golf.”

Panay was tied for sixth place after 36 holes, as he began the Silverado Amateur on Wednesday with rounds of 69 and 72 for a 3-under 141 total. He was one of 12 players who were within four shots of the lead going into Thursday’s final round, played in sunny conditions with temperatures ranging from 72 to 81 with little wind.

He began the day three shots off the lead and won in come-from-behind fashion, shooting a 5-under 67, a round that featured seven birdies. He overcame two bogeys and kept his chances alive with a super short game. He completed the event at 8-under 208, finishing one shot in front of Cameron Henry, a resident of Los Gatos, who plays for USC.

Panay was presented with a trophy near the practice green by Roy Edwards, chairman of the Troon Saguaro Amateur Series, and Joe Jensen, vice chairman.

Edwards is the head coach for men’s golf at the University of Colorado. Jensen is the head coach for men’s golf at the University of Wyoming.

“I’m so grateful to be out here. It’s beyond cool,” said Panay. “I have put a lot of work in over COVID. I’ve been starting to work out more and test myself more in practice by practicing a little more effectively. It’s nice to see my game come around. It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s good to see it pay off every once in a while.”

Panay, a computer science major and a redshirt freshman this past year at Cal, was able to save par on No. 18 by two-putting after hitting his approach shot to the back of the green. He had a great line on his birdie putt, the ball stopping just short of the hole as Panay raised his arm and putter in the air.

“It’s my first tournament since March, because of COVID, so I knew I was going to be a little bit rusty,” he said. “I wanted to come out and play, to play smart but aggressive. It was fun. It was a good tournament. We had beautiful weather and the course is amazing.”

Henry finished alone in second place after rounds of 66, 73 and 70 for a 209 total.

Tying for third place were David Na of Alameda (70-71-70 – 211), Ty Griggs of Linden (72-68-71 – 211), and Brock Stanger of Orem, Utah (70-68-73 – 211).

Stanger and Henry were tied for the 36-hole lead, each at 6-under 138.

Finishing in a tie for sixth place were Ryan Mendez of San Diego (74-73-67 – 214), Evan Peterson of Clovis (73-67-74 – 214), and Bryce Kvick of Carmichael (70-69-75 – 214).

There was a six-way tie for ninth place between Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho (76-72-67 – 215), Luke Kelly of Indianapolis (75-71-69 – 215), Grant Herrenbruck of Salina, Kansas (73-73-69 – 215), Tyler Isenhart of Geneva, Illinois (70-76-69 – 215), Ignacio Arcaya of Albuquerque, New Mexico (71-71-73 – 215), and Joergen Viken of Norway (74-67-74 – 215).

The North Course was set up at 6,832 yards, with players hitting from the Safeway Open tee on No. 16, a par-5, 560-yard hole. The green speeds were at 11.0 on the Stimpmeter both days.

There were 85 players in the field.

With his family looking on, Panay made birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 9 on the front side, and Nos. 10, 13, 14 and 17 on the back side.

He missed a short putt for eagle on the ninth hole. “That was a great hole, probably my best hole today,” he said.

The 25-foot putt he made on No. 10 for birdie gave Panay “momentum” on the back nine.

“That’s when I switched gears and started thinking smart and played to more conservative targets and left myself good looks at birdie,” he said.

Panay hit a wedge shot from 107 yards on No. 17 and made the birdie putt from 10 feet.

“It was cool to perform well under pressure,” said Panay. “I’m my own unique player so I did what I thought was right for me, but I definitely adapted throughout the tournament. I kind of adjusted on the fly.

“It’s nice to be able to get in a tournament. I’m really grateful to be here. I’m grateful for my whole family coming down with me and for everyone out here just supporting us. I really appreciate (Silverado) for having us.”

Panay has an extensive background in junior golf, as he received the Most Inspirational Player Award for District 2 from the Washington Junior Golf Association in 2017.

He was named to the American Junior Golf Association Transamerica Scholastic Junior All-America Honor Roll in 2018.

He earned All-Academic honors from the Future Collegians World Tour.

Henry missed the green with a wedge on his approach shot on the par-5 18th hole from 121 yards out. He hit a wedge shot out of the rough, near the green, to save par with a tap-in putt from a foot away.

“I just been grinding really hard on my swing, especially during the quarantine in my backyard,” said Henry, who is going into his sophomore year as a communications major. “It’s kind of paid off this summer. It was really cool being in the final group, kind of knowing you’re right around the lead, to kind of get the juices flowing. I feel like I handled my nerves and everything very well. So I stuck with it.”

In a report on the Cal athletic website, calbears.com, coach Walter Chun said: “Congrats to Costas on his great performance this week. We’re proud of him for investing so much time into his game to get to this moment. The win is very well deserved and we look forward to his contributions this year.”

Troon Saguaro Amateur Series Notes

* The Silverado Amateur, which did not have a cut, is a world-amateur ranked event, “as is the standard in all of our Troon Saguaro Amateur Series events,” according to saguaroamateur.com.

It’s the second time that Silverado has hosted a Troon Saguaro Amateur Series event. In January, Finigan Tilly won the Grapevine Amateur at Silverado, shooting 70-69-70 – 7-under 209 for an 11-shot victory. Tilly, a resident of San Carlos who plays for Cal, had 13 birdies during the week.

The event had 62 players.

Tilly plays out of the California Golf Club in San Francisco.

The Troon Saguaro Amateur Series works well at Silverado, said Edwards.

“January was very successful. Players loved it,” said Edwards. “It’s a great property and the staff here is unbelievable. It checks off so many boxes because it’s a beautiful place. It’s a great test of golf. It hosts the highest level of golf in the world. It was a no-brainer for us to try to come back here for the Silverado Amateur this summer.

“The players want to be tested against the very best on the best golf courses.”

* This is the fourth year of the Troon Saguaro Amateur Series.

“Players want to play in great tournaments and that’s what we’re fortunately able to provide at places like Silverado,” said Edwards.

Silverado will host the Grapevine Amateur in January, 2021.

* Carson Lundell of Alpine, Utah won the Rocky Mountain Amateur, beating Connor Howe of Ogden, Utah by making a birdie on the first playoff hole on July 15 at Colorado National in Erie, Colo.

It was the third event in the Troon Saguaro Amateur Series.

* John Marshall Butler of Louisville won the Sizzler Amateur on June 24 at Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Butler, a freshman at Auburn, shot 16-under-par 200, a tournament record.

* Roy Edwards is in his 14th season as the head coach for men’s golf at the University of Colorado.

* Joe Jensen is in his 19th season as Wyoming’s head men’s golf coach. He is also in his 15th season as the Director of Wyoming men’s and women’s golf.

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