Three times on Sunday, Ashkaan Hakim met adversity head-on with the poise that belied his young age.
Playing against a big field and in a big wind at Creekside Golf Course, the 19-year-old from San Ramon parred the second playoff hole to win the Modesto City Golf Championship.
The St. Mary’s College sophomore followed up his 5-under-par 67 at Dryden Park on Saturday with a 3-over 75, fending off former Stanislaus State standout Teddy Schrier, who shot a 2-under 70 and parred the 18th hole to get into the playoff.
“With all the competitors and that many good players, and not knowing the courses, I’m proud to have come out on top,” he said.
After regaining his composure following a double-bogey on the par-5 first hole – he went 1-under on the next nine holes – and a double-bogey on the par-3 15th – he eagled 16 with the help of a 235-yard 4-iron – Hakim saved his biggest comeback for last.
Ahead of Schrier by a stroke on the 18th tee, Hakim tried to hit a smooth driver on the difficult, 424-yard, par-4. Instead, he pushed it right, and into the lake.
Forced to drop, Hakim settled himself and hit a 5-iron over trees that landed near the pin but rolled about 20 feet past. Faced with a fast downhill putt, he basically lagged to seal a tap-in bogey to get into the playoff with Schrier, who parred the hole.
“That was pretty tough for me to digest,” he said of his tee shot on 18. “I’m usually good at bouncing back. With that tough a (second) shot, I really had to summon all my focus to hit a good shot.”
His caddy, who happened to be his father, told his son it was the best shot of the day.
In the playoff, both he and Schrier parred the first, with Schrier nearly holing out a birdie putt for the win.
On the short, 320-yard second, Hakim drove into the left-side bunker, pitched out to within 25 feet and two-putted for par. Schrier, whose drive went left, was forced to pitch up near the green. He made a good chip, but missed his par putt.
Hakim entered the day with a two-shot lead over Thomas Crowther after a solid round at Dryden, where he birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes.
Playing with Schrier, Crowther, who was in second after a 69 at Dryden, and Dave Bates on Sunday, Hakim began the day by hitting his approach to the first on the fringe above the hole. Though off the green, he essentially four-putted the slick, sloped green for double bogey.
“I walked off (the green) pretty frustrated, knowing I had lost my lead,” he said. “It showed me how quick things could change. It woke me up. It was time to regroup.”
The Monte Vista High graduate bounced back with a string of eight pars and a birdie (par 5 sixth) before a three-putt bogey on 11 and a bogey on 12.
“I lost some momentum there,” he said.
He birdied 13 and parred 14 before stepping to the tee on the 178-yard, par-3 15th.
With a hard right-to-left wind, he tried to hit a low shot in hopes of negating the effects of the breeze. Instead, he pushed it a little right, and the wind never took his ball, which stayed right and rolled into the hazard.
But, as he had done after his double on the first, he held tough after the one on the 15th.
Knowing he had lost his lead to Schrier, Hakim hit a big drive down the fairway on the 558-yard, par 5 16th. With a wind behind him, he hit a 4-iron that landed a little short and rolled up to within 4 feet. He sunk his eagle putt, his biggest shot of the day before his approach on 18.
Facing his first summer away from the junior golf circuit, Hakim asked his coach at St. Mary’s, Scott Hardy, for a list of tournaments to play. Modesto’s was on the list.
“I’m happy I found this one because the competition was so good,” said Hakim, who shot 2-under 142 for the 36 holes. “It was an honor (to win).”
Marc Peterson had a 5-under-par 67 for the best round on Sunday and finished tied with Anthony Borges for third place with a 36-hole total of 143 (1-under). Daniel Pena (68 on Sunday) and Crowther were tied for fifth at even-par 144.
Other flight winners: Eric Piedra (first), Frank Oliveira (second), Mike Huber (third), Chris Silva (fourth), David Bills (seniors), Charles Blanks (senior handicap), Sarah Garcia (women’s low gross), Pearl Cooper (women’s low net).