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Delio delivers with gold medal

Saugus graduate wins California Amateur title

Posted: June 22, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Updated: August 23, 2008 5:02 a.m.

BURBANK - A week before the 97th California Amateur Championship, Nick Delio was not even in the tournament.

On Saturday, the 18-year-old Saugus graduate won the match play event over 15-year-old Austin Roberts of Carmichael, 7 and 5, in the 36-hole final match at Lakeside Golf Club.

Delio went from not being in the tournament - he was the first alternate after E.J. Kahn withdrew because of an injury - to becoming a champion.

"It feels great to join an elite group of names, like ... Jason Gore," Delio said Saturday from his parents' home in Santa Clarita.

Delio clinched the win on the 293-yard 13th hole, when Roberts pulled his approach shot into a bunker, could only get to the fringe, chipped long and conceded the match.

"I was six-up going into the hole," Delio said. "I knew if I hit a good solid tee shot, hit a decent approach and left myself with a birdie, I'd probably win. He had to play more aggressively than perhaps he wanted to, so when he got off to a rough start, he hit it into the bunker."

Delio recently finished his freshman season at Cal State Northridge. He became the third Matador in the past 14 years to win the gold medal.

Former Matadors Jeff Sanday won the title in 1995 and Tim Hogarth won in 1999. Delio is the first Northridge player to win while still in school.

"I think I drove the ball well," Delio said. "I think driving it well and straight."

He also became the second straight 18-year-old to win the title and the fourth teenager in the last six years to win the championship.

"It's been a long week," Delio said. "I played well. When my approach shots weren't hit that well, I saved myself by scrambling. If I teed a green, I was pretty solid all week."

Scrambling in golf is a term for missing the green off the tee, then hitting out of the rough and back down into the hole.

Roberts would have been the youngest champion in California Amateur history, but he was denied by the former Centurion.


The California Amateur Championship Web site contributed to this article.


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