CLAREMONT, Calif. - CMS men's golf senior Ken Kong shot a 2-under 70 at Brookside Golf Club on July 9 to qualify for the 109th California State Amateur Championship, which will be held at Torrey Pines next week from July 27-August 1.
A native of Arcadia, Kong earned third-team All-America honors as a sophomore in 2018-19 and was an honorable mention selection in a shortened junior season this year. He is a two-time All-West Region selection, was a Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist in 2019 and a Palmer Cup nominee in 2020.
As a sophomore, Kong produced two straight individual medalist performances and SCIAC Men's Golf Athlete of the Week Awards. He won the West Cup by seven strokes with a three-round total of 212, capping his tournament off with a 68 and a 69 over his final two rounds. He then won the second SCIAC regular season tournament the following week with a 72-70-142 to pick up his second straight SCIAC honor. During the fall season, he shot a 66 in a dual with Chapman which saw him birdie the final five holes in a row.
This past spring, Kong helped CMS to a dominant performance in the first and only SCIAC regular season tournament, shooting a 70 on his opening round (-2) to earn a third-place individual finish. He also came in seventh at the Redlands Invitational in the fall to help the Stags to a team title.
The California Amateur Championship is one of the nation's oldest state amateur golf championships and dates back to 1912 when the California Golf Association was founded. The tournament has seen many top names emerge as champions, including Ken Venturi in 1951, Johnny Miller in 1968, Bobby Clampett in 1978/1980, Mark O'Meara in 1979 and Duffy Waldorf in 1984. Standout golfers who have tried to win the title and failed, include Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Woods reached the semifinals in 1994 before falling to Ed Cuff.
A total of 156 players will compete at the championship. The championship field will play 36 holes of stroke play, with the top 32 players advancing from stroke play to single elimination match play, and concluding with the 36-hole final match.
CMS men's golf has a connection to the California Amateur, due to Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga serving as its home course. Dr. Frank Taylor was a member of Red Hill and won the state amateur title in back to back years in 1954 and 1955, which is the last time that the same person has won in consecutive years. Dr Taylor went on to play in the Masters five times, the US Open three times and was on three USA Walker Cup teams.