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Player Profile: Shintaro Ban, San Francisco City Champion
By Brentley Romine, Golfweek

Shintaro Ban picked up the biggest victory of his young career as the 18-year-old UNLV signee from San Jose, Calif., won the San Fancisco City Men's Amateur on March 9 at Presidio Golf Course.

Ban defeated Rick Reinsberg, 8 and 7, in the final match.

Golfweek caught up with Ban to chat with him about the big victory in San Francisco, his older brother, Shotaro, who plays at Cal, and his future college team:

Talk about the big victory in San Francisco. Now, you were the stroke-play medalist at the 2012 U.S. Junior in Straham, N.H., but this one has to be the biggest win of your young career, am I right?

Definitely one of the biggest wins for my career because it's not a junior golf tournament. It was an amateur event where everyone's there. I'm really honored. . . . I lost in the Round of 16 last year (at the event) and made it to the semifinals my first year (in 2012). . . . Being medalist at the U.S. Junior, that was my first big accomplishment, and I've won several small tournaments around the Bay Area and qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur, but this one was pretty big.

You're signed to play for UNLV in the fall. Have you kept up with the Rebels this season?

I've been texting coach (Dwaine Knight) after every match, asking him what I could do to improve and stuff like that. They had a big win Sunday (at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters).

And what made you ultimately decide to sign there?

There were three main reasons. First of all, obviously, the coaches. Coach Knight, he's pretty much a legend and short-game guru. He's the old-timer with more experience while his assistant J.C. (Deacon) has more of the youth thing. He can relate to most college golfers and is a really good player. No one on the team has beaten him yet on the golf course, he tells me. Second, almost every year someone goes on to play pro golf at a high level. And third, the courses and facilities are amazing, especially Shadow Creek. When I first saw it, I'm like, 'Wow. I get to practice and play here whenever I want.'

Your older brother, Shotaro, plays at Cal and also won an amateur event on March 9 at the Diablo Valley Amateur.

Yeah, he called me as soon as I finished. My mom and his friends were watching me. He called me and he's like, 'Good win, but dude guess what? I won, too.' That was pretty awesome.

Why didn't you follow in his footsteps and sign with Cal?

It just didn't feel right. He told me their coach was looking at me after the (2012) U.S. Junior, but I'm glad I chose UNLV.

Who's the better Ban brother and how often do people get you guys confused?

I don't know. We're both at the same level. Whoever has their day is the better one that day. He always says I'm younger so I have the advantage, though. His mental game is stronger, but I have more accomplishments. He hasn't played in a USGA event yet – I've played in two. And yeah, people get us confused a lot, especially at the (San Francisco) City. They thought I was my older brother and asking me how I like Cal, and I'm like, 'I'm only a senior in high school.'

What's your schedule like for the rest of the spring and summer?

I'm going to play in amateur tournaments around the Bay Area for the rest of the spring and then in the summer, I'm going to try to get into some invitationals like the Monroe Invitational, the Trans-Miss Amateur, etc.

What is your biggest goal right now?

I'd love to play in the U.S. Amateur again.

Describe your game for those who aren't familiar with it.

My strength is my tee shot with driver. I'm short – 5-foot-8 – and 135 pounds, but I can constantly hit the ball 300 yards. I also set myself up pretty good off the tee. Putting is probably my second strongest part of my game. I've been working a lot on it.

What's one thing most of your fellow golf peers don't know about you?

Most of the time, if there's daylight, I try to (play) golf as much as I can. I like to play basketball, too, and I actually used to swim competitively with my brother when I was younger. That was our main sport before we turned over to golf. We actually both picked up golf pretty late, too (12 years old).

Results: San Francisco City Championship
WinCAShintaro BanSan Jose, CA180
Runner-upCARick ReinsbergLafayette, CA120
SemifinalsCARyan KnopPleasanton, CA80
SemifinalsCARyan WilsonSan Francisco, CA80
QuarterfinalsCAIan CoffmanSan Diego, CA50

View full results for San Francisco City Championship

ABOUT THE San Francisco City Championship

** The qualifying field for the San Francisco City Men's Championship qualifier has been reached 120 players. Players may enter the Pre-Qualifier here. Please see below for a description of the entry process.

** New entry process for 2019 **

MEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION
$300 ENTRY FEE INCLUDES ALL GREEN FEES.

Match Play qualifying will be held March 2-3, 2018 and will consist of 36 holes played at TPC Harding Park and Lincoln Park Golf Courses.

From November 1 - November 30, registration will be open only for exempt players under the following categories:

* The Past Ten years of San Francisco City Champions
* 2018 San Francisco City Men’s Championship Match Play Qualifiers
* Top 20 Individuals 2017-2018 NCGA Points List
* 2018 NCGA Champions (Amateur, Mid-Amateur, Junior)
* 2018 USGA Event Qualifiers (Amateur, Mid- Amateur, Junior)

On December 1, registration will open to all players with a handicap index of 6.4 or lower as of 12/01/2018, and will remain open until the field limit is reached. Once the field limit is reached, all additional entrants will pre-qualify at Lincoln Park on Friday, March 1.

Those entering pre-qualifying will pay an entry fee of $150 for the pre-qualifier, and those advancing from the pre-qualifier will pay an additional $150.

Once all qualifying has been completed, the Men’s Championship Flight will consist of 64 contestants from the Men’s Championship qualifier.

Match play will begin on March 9, 2018. All match play for the Championship Flight will be held at TPC Harding Park.

*In the event of a playoff for match play a player must be present in order to retain his right to participate in the playoff.

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
The oldest municipal tournament in the USA. Match play event with scratch men's, senior, women's, senior women's and open flight divisions. Past champions include Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward, Juli Inkster, Bob Rosburg, George Archer, and Dorothy Delasin. Some of the 'non winners' include Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. Click the 'history' tab for more about this wonderful event.

View Complete Tournament Information

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