Wearing a Cubs hat, Ghim shot a final-round 69 to win the 72-hole tournament.
UNIVERSITY PLACE — Another Texas Longhorn has won at Chambers Bay.
In 2015, it was Jordan Spieth who captured the U.S. Open. On Friday, it was a Longhorn still in school — Doug Ghim, a Texas senior-to-be who grew up playing public courses outside Chicago.
With his father, Jeff, as his caddie, Ghim won the Pacific Coast Amateur. He shot a final-round 2-under 69 to finish at 9-under 275 and win the 72-hole tournament. Ghim birdied the par-5 18th hole and needed the birdie to avoid falling into a tie with Cameron Champ, the Texas A&M Aggie from Sacramento who eagled the hole playing one group ahead of Ghim.
On the final hole, Ghim drilled a 4-iron from 250 yards to 40 feet. He hit his lag putt to 2 feet and sank it for the victory.
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Ghim said the triumph had special meaning for him because Chambers Bay is a public course. Growing up, he often would spend up to 15 hours a day at the public course and driving range near his home. Father and son were always on the lookout for “twilight specials” at public courses and took advantage of reduced greens fees.
“To do it at a public course … Chambers Bay is just incredible,” said Ghim, who wore a Chicago Cubs hat.
Will Zalatoris, the Wake Forest golfer who won the Pacific Coast Amateur last year at Seattle Golf Club, finished third at 277 with a final-round 71.
The top in-state finisher was Aaron Whalen of Ephrata, who tied for ninth with NCAA champion Braden Thornberry of Mississippi at 281. Whalen, who left the Washington State University golf team last season, had the shot of the day — a double-eagle on No. 18 when he sank his approach shot from about 250 yards.
Chambers Bay is transitioning from fescue greens to poa and the greens this week had a variety of grasses. The greens were harshly criticized by some players at the 2015 U.S. Open. Tournament officials said they heard few complaints this week about it. One player who was never in contention described the greens as “different” but said they were fair.
The greens will be scrutinized in 2019 when Chambers Bay will be the site of the U.S. Amateur Four Ball (best ball) championship. Favorable reports could improve the course’s chances of hosting another U.S. Open.
Next year’s Pacific Coast Amateur will be played at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.