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Avery, 15, reaches next level with California Women's Am win
Amari Avery (NCGA photo)
Amari Avery (NCGA photo)

Before Saturday, Amari Avery was perhaps best known for her role in the 2013 documentary, “The Short Game.” Now, the 15-year-old Avery is a state champion. After a long week at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley, Calif., Avery is the new California Women’s Amateur champion.

The title is arguably Avery’s biggest yet. To win it, she had to get past Aman Sangha of San Mateo. She did that by a 3-and-2 margin, and now joins an illustrious of champions including Juli Inkster (1981), Patty Sheehan (1977-’78) and Amy Alcott (1973).

“It feels great,” said Avery, who hadn’t tasted victory in over a year. “It means a lot to win something that so many great players have won.”

Avery, who’s home schooled and got into golf via her father, Andre, trailed by one when Sangha, the No.24 seed, beat her with a par on the par-3 12th.

After that, however, it was all Avery. She’d first get going on the par-4 13th by draining a 30-footer for birdie to again tie things up.

On the ensuing par-5 14th, Avery used her length (she averages 270 off the tee) to easily reach the green in two and set herself up for a near tap-in birdie. Sangha, meanwhile, would have to settle for par.

A hole later on the par-5 15th, Avery again bombed a drive. She’d again reach the green in two, setting herself up for another easy birdie. This time, Sangha had a chance to counter, as she’d leave a beautiful 80-yard wedge shot just a few feet from the flagstick. Sangha’s putt to tie the hole lipped out, however, upping Avery’s lead to 2-up.

“I really thought I had that putt,” said the 21-year-old Sangha, a collegiate player who’s looking to transfer to CSU-Northridge where her sister, Kiran, plays. “It just lipped out.”

“The 14th hole, I knew that was a go-getter,” said Avery, who again had her younger sister, Alona, on the bag as caddie. “On the 15th, I didn’t really think I could go for it in two. I took a risk and it worked out.”

On the 16th, needing at least a tie to keep the match going, Sangha saw her approach shot run through the green to the back fringe. Avery, who was again about 80 yards further down the fairway off the tee, knocked her approach to within 15 feet of the pin. Sangha’s birdie putt raced past the cup, and she was unable to make her par putt, sealing the win for Avery.

“it’s a really long week, but it was great” Avery said. “You’ve got to stay focused all the time.”



ABOUT THE California Women's Amateur

The California Women’s Amateur Championship was founded in 1967 and played at Pebble Beach Golf Links until 1987 when the Championship was invited to Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, where the tournament remains to this day.

36-hole stroke play qualifying round, 18 holes each day, to determine 32 players for match play. Prizes will be awarded to the Champion, Runner-up, Semifinalists, Quarterfinalists and the 36-hole Low Gross Medalist from qualifying rounds.

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