BERKELEY – California sophomore Lucia Gutierrez capped her summer by winning the 2014 California Women’s Amateur Championship that was held at the Quail Lodge Golf Course in Carmel, Calif.
A native of Lima, Peru, the title was her first amateur win in the United States and comes after her win at the prestigious South American Women’s Amateur Championship in Barranquilla, Colombia, back in January.
Gutierrez won the weeklong match play championship at the par-71 course by defeating Victoria Morgan (Pasadena, Calif.; USC) 1-up in the championship round Friday.
“It was really exciting,” Gutierrez said of the win. “I’ve put in a lot of effort over the summer in shaping my short game. I also changed my swing over the summer. It was great to see everything come together. Finally I had really good scores and played really good golf overall. It was a really good week.”
It was the third summer tournament for Gutierrez, who finished her freshman campaign at Cal with a 75.3 average while earning a top 25 finish at the Pac-12 Championships and a top 15 finish at the NCAA Central Region Championships to help propel the Golden Bears to their first NCAA Championship Round appearance in three years.
Trailing throughout the first 15 holes, Gutierrez finally brought the match back to all-square when Morgan missed a 2-foot putt for par on the 16th. A hole later on the par-3 17th, Guttierez took her first lead of the match, 1-up, when she sank a 6-foot birdie putt. Morgan had just minutes earlier missed her 15-foot birdie try.
On the par-4 18th, both players missed the green in regulation. Morga was unable to make birdie and had to settle for par. Gutierrez, who was in the bunker behind the green, got out and sank her remaining 5-foot putt for par to seal the victory.
“I was really nervous over that putt on 18,” Gutierrez said of the final hole. “It wasn’t easy. I told myself, just put the right speed on it. I took a big breath and just focused on it.”
With summer tournament concluded, Gutierrez will take finals in her summer classes next week before regrouping with the Golden Bears for a 2014-15 schedule that begins with the Ptarmigan Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., from September 8-9.