2014 Champion and Story [FINAL SCORES]

Pereira wins State Fair golf title

By Yousef Baig
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 - 12:35 am

Corey Pereira will be the 90th name engraved on the California State Fair Men's Amateur Championship trophy.

Fresh off an eight-stroke win at the Pacific Coast Amateur in July, the Cameron Park resident fired a 5-under-par 67 on Monday to finish the tournament at 16-under 200. He was two strokes ahead of runner-up Jonathan De Los Reyes (70).

Pereira, a sophomore at Washington, and De Los Reyes, a redshirt junior on the St. Mary's College men's golf team, entered the 18th hole tied at 15-under.

De Los Reyes had been striking the ball well all weekend and as a result, had fewer chip-shot opportunities. But his drive on the par-4 18th hole sat on top of the short side of the bunker, and his second shot went over the green, which gave the momentum back to Pereira. The former Ponderosa High School standout could have 2-putted his way to victory but instead sank the birdie to remove any doubt.

"It always comes down to putting, and you've got to make the clutch putts," Pereira said. "I was all over the edge (of the hole) on the back nine, and on 18, I hit a good putt and got the edge."

The margin of error was thin on Monday as both players matched shots and sank putts with the pressure turned up. Periera shot 3 under on the front nine, which allowed him to catch De Los Reyes, who was 2 under in that stretch.

The deadlock broke on the par-3 14th hole when De Los Reyes was forced to 2-putt his way to a bogey. Pereira saved par thanks to a well-struck second shot despite the tough pin location.

De Los Reyes would not go down quietly, though.

The Sacramentan buried an eagle putt that sloped downward and to the left on the par-5 17th hole. His putt followed a birdie by Pereira that was on a similar line on the green.

With emotions running high, De Los Reyes said he was too aggressive on his final tee shot.

"Keeping a level head" is something he said he plans to focus on moving forward.

"I wouldn't say that I let the nerves get to me, but I should've backed off a little bit," De Los Reyes said. "I need to work on ... not getting too up or too down on myself."