Junior Golf Alum Wins Match Play Tournament

Junior Golf Alum Wins Match Play Tournament

Alameda Junior Golf Club alum Josh McCarthy won the 116th Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) Amateur Match Play Championship after defeating runner-up Toby Briggs, 7-and-5, in the 36-hole finale on Aug. 16. It was the first NCGA title for the Danville native.

The tournament was played at the Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach.  

The five-day tournament began with a two-day stroke-play qualifying round. McCarthy, a senior at Pepperdine University, shot a four-under-par 67 on the first day, on Aug. 12. He followed that with a one-under 70 the next day for a five-under 137 total in the qualifying round. McCarthy’s performance earned him the no. 1 seed in the 32-player tournament. He was the only player to shoot under par on both days.

The tournament was played under match play rules. Golfers compete against one another as opposed to typical tournaments where participants play the field. Both golfers play the same hole. Whoever completes the hole in the fewest number of shots wins the hole and earns a point.

McCarthy defeated Jacob Westberg, 4-and-3 (led by four strokes with three holes left) in the first round on Aug. 14. McCarthy then took down Trey Davis 1-up in 19 holes later that afternoon. 

McCarthy beat Ian Dahl 2-up in the quarterfinal on Aug. 15. McCarthy defeated Chase Sienkiewicz 2-and-1 in the semifinal later that afternoon. McCarthy trailed by two entering the sixth hole on the front nine. McCarthy rebounded to lead 1-up after the ninth hole by winning holes six, eight and nine. McCarthy also won holes 12 and 13. Sienkiewicz won the 14th hole, but it was not enough to overcome McCarthy’s lead. The pair did not play the 18th hole.

McCarthy saved his best performance for the 36-hole final. He is the first champion to lead wire-to-wire since 2015 champ Maverick McNealy. McCarthy and Briggs, a junior at University of San Francisco, tied in the first three holes. McCarthy took the first lead on the fourth hole where he birdied the par-four hole. He took a two-up lead after the sixth hole. Briggs chipped away at the lead by winning the ninth hole. He also won the 11th and 14th holes. McCarthy won the 10th and 12th holes. He led 1-up after the first 18 holes.

The 36-hole final added an extra level of competition to the final. McCarthy put the tournament away in the second set of 18 holes in the afternoon. He won six of the first seven holes to take a 7-up lead after 25 holes. 

Briggs tried to get back in the match by winning the 26th (hole 8) and 28th (hole 10) holes. But McCarthy won holes 29 (hole 11) and 31 (hole 13). He led by seven with just five holes remaining declaring him the winner.