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BRUSH WITH GREATNESS

Brooke Riley wins California Women’s Amateur Championship title

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BRUSH WITH GREATNESS

East Union graduate Brooke Riley, who will be a sophomore at Northwestern, is presented the California Women’s Amateur Championship trophy by Hall of Famer Amy Alcott at Quail Lodge this past Satur...

Photo courtesy CWAC/


POSTED August 1, 2017 12:32 a.m.

Amy Alcott, Juli Inkster and Natalie Gulbis are among the recognizable names engraved onto the California Women’s Amateur Championship trophy.

Manteca’s Brooke Riley has just joined the list.

The 19-year-old Northwestern sophomore and East Union High alumna captured the 51st annual CWAC title on Saturday, completing the grueling four-day event with a 2-and-1 victory over Stanford’s Ziyi Wang at Quail Lodge Golf Course in Carmel.

Alcott, an LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer, caught the end of the final-round match and presented Riley with the trophy. She is the 1973 CWAC champion.

“It was honestly just surreal,” Riley said on Monday. She’s back home in Manteca for the summer finetuning her game before returning to Illinois later this month.

“I remember last year listening to Amy Alcott and Shelly Hamlin talking about how that tournament helped guide them in their path. I’ve just really looked up to the past players from the tournament.”

Riley withdrew from the 2016 CWAC after advancing to the match play stage to participate in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She opened the 2017 tournament by placing third in stroke play with a 4-under 140. Sabrina Igbal (San Jose) and Kathleen Scavo (Benicia) were co-medalists with 139s.

Seeded third, Riley dominated in match play. She knocked off Bakersfield’s Madison 6 and 5, San Jose’s Jessica Luo 4 and 3, Los Altos’ Simar Singh 2 and 1 and Scavo 5 and 3 en route to the final.

Against Wang, Riley jumped out to a 4-up lead through 12 holes before the tournament grind began to take its toll. Wang won the 13th and 15th holes to cut the deficit.

“At the beginning I was just playing consistent and started off with a birdie,” Riley said. “I kind of started well throughout match play, so I just wanted to keep the pressure on her. Toward the end is where fatigue hit me. I made a couple silly bogeys coming down the last few holes. I just had to take it shot by shot and stay in the moment.”

They halved the 17th hole to secure the win for Riley, who had hoped to go out with some flair. She had a 17-foot birdie try lip out, but Wang’s 16-footer for birdie also missed.

“I really wanted to make the putt and end the week well,” Riley said. 

She hopes the big win will carry over onto the NCAA season. She described her freshman year as “a battle” while working through swing changes. Northwestern is the 2017 NCAA Division I runner-up, its best-ever finish in program history.

Riley is a four-time Valley Oak League MVP and placed third in the 2015 CIF State Championships during her junior year at East Union. 

“I’m super excited,” she said. “Coming into the summer I had been playing well.  The whole school-year’s worth of work is finally showing, so I can’t wait go be back.”

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