BEND, Ore. – Santa Clara University golfer Bobby Monaco upset one of the nation's top collegiate players en route to winning his first four matches at the 110th Pacific Northwest Amateur Championship at Bend's Tetherow Golf Club.
Monaco, who will be a sophomore at SCU this fall, defeated GolfWeek's No. 20-ranked college player, the University of Washington's Chris Williams, advancing into the PNGA's round of 16 before knocking off University of Oregon junior Andrew Vijarro to reach the quarterfinals.
"Beating Chris was really special, the way he hits the ball is tour quality," said Monaco. "In that match, I was two-down with five to play. I was able to par 14 and birdie 15, making a 35-footer, which really changed the momentum. Beating him gave me and my caddie (Cole Weinhold) quite a bit of confidence, we felt like he was the best player in the field."
Later that afternoon Monaco dropped in a seven-foot birdie putt on the final green to beat Vijarro, who is a Bend native and was the top finisher for the University of Oregon at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships.
"That was a really good match too," said Monaco. "(Vijarro) had a pretty big following, so that was big to knock out the hometown favorite. He is a really good player. That was a huge day, pretty amazing."
Monaco was edged in the semis and tied for third among the 128-man field.
Monaco's success comes on the heels of a pair of other impressive summer tournament performances by Santa Clara players. Classmate Scott Lowe qualified and made the cut at the Canadian Tour's 2011 ATB Financial Classic earlier this month and senior to-be Cory Mehl finished among the leaders at the Washington State Amateur in June.
"Beating these caliber of players is really giving me a lot of confidence. I have to translate that to stroke play next fall," said Monaco. "I feel that our whole team (at Santa Clara) has so much ability. There is a lot to look forward to next year."
Next up for Monaco is the 2011 US. Amateur Qualifier at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore.; a course near his family home in Eugene where he has been practicing at this summer.