Brueckner, Cathrea join illustrious SF City history
A pair of juniors swept the Championship Division titles March 10 at the San Francisco City Championship at Harding Park Golf Course.
William Brueckner defeated Isaiah Salinda, 3 and 1, to win the men’s title while Casie Cathrea rolled to a 10-and-8 victory over Jayshree Sarathy.
Brueckner, a 16-year-old from Walnut Creek, Calif., advanced to the final match by upsetting third-seeded Alex Franklin, 5 and 4. He was 2 down in his match against Salinda after the first 18 holes and then lost the first afternoon hole before winning three straight holes to return the match to all square.
“My dad and I always joke that I have to give a few back before I get going,” Brueckner said.
He would eventually put away the match thanks to a combination of dry conditions and support in the gallery from his family and friends, some of them making the trip from Olympic Club, Brueckner’s home course.
“My length showed up when I needed it, when the course was more dry,” Brueckner said. “Also my buddies from Olympic Club came over. I love playing in front of an audience.”
Brueckner won the 2011 Junior All-Star at River Ridge, but he considers this victory his biggest yet.
His next tournament will be the Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic on March 29-31. He hopes to do well between now and the summer in order to earn a spot in the Rolex Tournament of Champions. He also hopes to qualify for the U.S. Junior in July.
Cathrea, a 17-year-old from Livermore, Calif., who is headed to Oklahoma State, dominated her final-round match. She had previously won both her semifinal and quarterfinal matches, 5 and 3, and also shot 70 in the stroke-play qualifier to earn the top seed for match play.
“I’ve gotten a lot longer,” Cathrea said. “I spent a lot of time in the gym lately.”
Cathrea also credits the win to more time spent with instructor Robert Neal. She’s also recovered from an ankle injury she suffered last year.
It’s been quite a year so far for Cathrea, who won the FCG Western States Players Cup and San Diego Junior Amateur by five and six shots, respectively.
“I have a lot of confidence right now,” said Cathrea, whose junior resume is impressive. Cathrea has three career top 10s at the Junior PGA, including a T-6 finish in 2012. She’s made match play in three of her four U.S. Girls Junior appearances.
She hopes to earn her way into the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Amateur this year.
“I think I have what it takes (to qualify for those events),” said Cathrea, who holds the course record of 66 at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif., site of a U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier this year.
She also hopes to accomplish her main goal: making the Junior Solheim Cup team.
The San Francisco City Championship began in 1917, making it the country’s oldest municipal golf tournament, according to the tournament’s official website. Past winners include major champions Ken Venturi (1964 U.S. Open) and George Archer (1969 Masters), and current University of California-Berkeley golfer Brandon Hagy, on the men’s side, and Juli Inkster on the women’s side.