Shin bows out in U.S. Amateur golf

Maple Ridge golfer ousted by Espana -- from France

Maple Ridge’s Justin Shin bid at the 112th U.S. Amateur Championships came up short after the B.C. golfer bowed out in the round of 32.

Edouard Espana of France beat Shin 1 up to knock the New Mexico State senior golfer packing during the match play event at the at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado.

Espana jumped out an early lead with a birdie on the 349-yard par 4 first hole. Shin drew the match back to even with an eagle on the 546-yard fifth hole. It would be a similar theme for the round, as Shin was either tied or trailed throughout the match.

Shin, who won 16 tournaments while he was a high school student at Thomas Haney Secondary in Maple Ridge,  played his way into the round of 32 with a dramatic 1 up  win over Brad Valois of Warwick, Rhode Island.

Shin’s pared the final hole to beat Valois, who bogeyed after leading for the previous 10 holes. However, there would be no dramatic come-from-behind wins over the French amateur.

Espana built his biggest lead in the match when Shin carded a bogey on the monstrous 605-yard par 5 No. 11 and a double-bogey on the par-3 No. 12.

However, Shin rallied to square the match winning both holes No. 13 and 14.

The contest remained even until Espana birdied the 545-yard par 5 no. 17. Shin, who had seven top-five finishes in his junior year at New Mexico State,  was unable to send the match to extra holes as both recorded pars on tricky par 4 finishing hole.

The loss meant Toronto’s Albin Choi was the only Canadian left in the tournament.

Choi lost his round of 16 match to eventual U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver, a junior at the University of California. Choi was 2-up heading to the 17th hole when the wheels fell off. Weaver gained points on the final two holes to square the match, forcing extra holes.

Weaver finished the comeback with a birdie on the first extra hole.

Weaver would experience his own heartbreak in extra holes when Steven Fox, of Hendersonville, Tenn., made an 18-foot birdie putt on the 37th hole to capture the championship at the par-71, 7,409-yard course.

Weaver lead or was tied for most of the scheduled 36-hole final before Fox snuck back into contention. Weaver never trailed the match after the fifth hole, only to see the crafty Fox square the match on the final hole.

With the win, Fox earned an exemption to next year’s U.S. Open and British Open, as well as a  likely invitation to the 2013 Masters.

• B.C. 2012 Girls’ and Boys Juvenile Championships

The door is pen for Maple Ridge’s Keanna Mason at the British Columbia Golf’s 2012 Juvenile Girls’ Championship.

The the three-round event will be played at the par-73 5,643 yard Princeton Golf Club and conclude August 23.

For Mason, the opportunity to claim top prize becomes more wide-open as defending champion will not be on hand.

Maple Ridge’s Mason is considered one of the province’s brightest stars, whose resume includes  a second-place finish at last year’s juvenile girls’ tournament, to go a long with winning the 2010 B.C. Bantam Girls’ Championship. Other notable finishes include a sixth place finish at the CN Future Links Pacific Championship as well as playing in the CN Canadian Women’s Tour event at Richmond Country Club in May.

Mason will be tested on the links by rivals Michelle Kim of Surrey, Naomi Ko of Victoria and Janet Zhang of Richmond. Other notables for contention include Coquitlam’s Ally Shin, Vernon’s Mackenzie Barrie and Halfmoon Bay’s Avery Struck.

On the other side, Maple Ridge’s Connor Gunnell will tackle the par-72 6,506 yard course for the Boys’ Championship.

Gunnell will be looking to upend defending champion Trevor Yu of Vancouver.

Yu recently captured the Canadian Juvenile Boys’ Championship while 2012 CN Future Links Pacific champ Zach Anderson of Nanaimo also joins the field of contenders.





Games silver medal along with third place finisher at the 2012 B.C. Junior Boys’ Championship, Chris Crisologo of Richmond.

Other notables are Coquitlam’s Kevin Vigna, Surrey’s Marcus Brown, Roy Kang of North Vancouver, Johoo Lee of Vancouver and 2011 B.C. Bantam Boys’ champion A.J. Ewart of Coquitlam.