LAS VEGAS, NV (Oct. 25, 2020)–Aarjav Patel (Championship) and Jason Berton (Net) earned titles at the 2020 Las Vegas City Amateur. Both divisions went to a playoff. The two-day event was held Oct. 24-25, 2020, at Las Vegas Golf Club. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Aarjav Patel rallied over the final five holes, going three-under-par in that stretch, to catch Cameron Barzekoff in the Championship Division and force a playoff. Patel won the title on the first playoff hole with a par. It was his first SNGA win in 2020.
Patel, who is a senior at Bishop Gorman High School and a member of the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association, posted an eagle and three birdies over his final nine holes, including a birdie on the 17th hole that finally let him catch Barzekoff and get into the playoff.
“I didn’t know where I stood going into the last few holes,” Patel said. “I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could.”
It paid off.
“This is just a tremendous boost for my confidence,” he said. “Especially during this pandemic. Trying to find good tournaments to play in and then play well is tough. To win this tournament is great.”
He said not only was the field tough, but the weather, especially on Sunday, was a challenge.
“It was really windy today,” he said. “I just tried to trust where I’m driving the ball and hoping I put it in the right spots.”
It paid off in birdie putts. And he made a lot of them putting 10 birdies and two eagles on his scorecard over the two days.
“I can see my practice is paying off,” he said. “I had a little of both short and long putts that went in. I made a couple of 20 footers that were really good.”
Now the college hunt is front and center for the latest SNGA major winner.
“I haven’t decided (on a college) yet,” he said. “I am looking a little more at the West right now.”
In the meantime, he’s got a rhythm down.
“I’ve just been doing school work and practicing,” he said. “I’m trying to balance those two.”
After the win, he’s still looking to keep improving.
“I’m not sure if there’s one specific thing I need to work on,” he said. “I’d like to improve everything…hit more fairways and greens and make a few more putts.”
Aarjav Patel, 68-66—134
Cameron Barzekoff, 70-64—134
Brigham Gibbs, 69-68—137
Jason Berton won his second event in 2020, beating Jesus Medina in a playoff. Berton posted a net par on the first hole for the victory.
It was his second win of 2020 as he also won the Net Division in the SNGA Tour’s stop at Arroyo Golf Club in August.
This one took a longer than he would have liked. Berton led by six strokes with a handful of holes remaining before he stumbled coming home and Medina caught him setting up the playoff.
“It’s my first two-day event win and it was hard,” he said. “But it feels so darn good.”
Coming down the stretch, Berton admitted there were nerves.
“I did have a few troubles coming in,” he said. “I did everything to try and stay in it and focus. I had a few errant shots but I made enough good shots to hold on.”
He said a bad break also cost him.
“I got unlucky on No. 5 (his 14th hole),” he said. “I hit a pretty good drive but we couldn’t find it. Turns out it rolled out a little further than we were looking and after the three minutes I went back to the tee and hit another. I hit one off a tree and wound up with a triple and that started to make it scary.”
It got scarier.
“I got on No. 9 (his 18th hole, a par-5) in regulation but then four-putted…a couple of them from inside two feet,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if the golf gods were trying to punish me or just make it interesting but it sure did make it interesting.”
He said playing against Medina was a challenge.
“Jesus played really well,” Berton said. “In fact, if he would have made a couple more putts I probably wouldn’t have had a chance.”
Then came the playoff.
“There was a lot of adrenaline going through the veins,” he said with a laugh. “I was shaky through every shot and putt but in the end managed to get a net par.”
He also spread the credit around.
“Luckily I had a caddie, my girlfriend, Ashley,” he said. “She kept me in the zone. She gave me kisses and kept me going.”
x-Jason Berton, 67-74—141
Jesus Medina, 70-71—141
Dustin Watson, 71-72—143
x-won on first playoff hole
Barzekoff plays to honor friend
Cameron Barzekoff was playing in the event to honor SNJGA player Kameron Kelsey who recently passed away.
“It was a tough weekend,” Barzekoff said. “I had a 7 a.m. tee time Saturday because I was one of the speakers at his service. I really wasn’t mentally there during the round. That’s no excuse not to play well but I did have other things on my mind.”
Barzekoff said he had a little help in his impressive eight-under-par round on Sunday.
“I got a tee-shirt from the service that had his initials on it,” Barzekoff said. “He always marked his golf ball with a KK. I wore the shirt over my golf shirt (Sunday) and I knew he was out there with me. I knew he was helping me make putts. I know he was smiling. I was happy to put myself in position to have a chance to win in his honor. It was a win on that side of it.”
Barzekoff said words are hard to come by.
“Kam was just a great kid,” he said. “I think he was two years younger than me. This was just so sad.”