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Brueckner, Cathrea and Vanier Capture Respective San Francisco City Titles


ill Brueckner is a typical teenage boy in many ways. He

played several sports in his younger days, from football to baseball to basketball— any sport involving a ball, really. Brueckner loved throwing and catching. Now, at age 16, he favors swinging and put- ting—and he’s decidedly atypical with a golf club in his hands. Brueckner dropped

football at 10, quit base- ball at 13 and fi nally (and reluctantly) gave up basketball in the past year. His devotion to smacking around a little white ball is paying dividends, as he illustrated in winning the men’s title at the San Fran- cisco City Championship. So as Brueckner stood

alongside the No. 17 green at Harding Park, after his 3-and-1 victory over Isaiah Salinda of South San

Francisco, he savored his decision to focus on golf at the exclusion of his other sporting interests. “When you win a golf

tournament, it’s so much more rewarding than if you win with 15 guys on a baseball team,” Brueckner said. “You played a part in the win in baseball, but on the golf course you control your fate—and I like that. It’s defi nitely better for me.” Brueckner is a junior at

Acalanes High in Lafay- ette, with ambitions to play in college. He covets attending Stanford and recently met the school’s academic requirements. Now he needs to raise his golf game to impress the Cardinal coaches, and his win at “the City” propels him down the right path. Give an assist to

Brueckner’s ties to The Olympic Club. He has been a junior merit member

Casie Cathrea

there since 2010, part of the same program that once produced two-time major champion Johnny Miller. Brueckner takes

frequent summer drives across the Bay to play at Olympic. He enjoys the camaraderie with other players there and the match-play format of many junior events. That sharpened his strategic skills for the fi ve matches he navigated in winning the City. Another benefi t to the


The golf industry enjoyed its greatest single-year jump in rounds played since 2000, increasing by 6.4% from 2011 to 2012. According to stats compiled by PGA PerformanceTrak, there were an extra 26 million rounds played in 2012, which translates into a $750 million economic boost to the golf industry. There were about 490 million rounds of golf played nationwide in 2012, according to the National Golf Foundation. Rounds had dipped



Olympic affi liation: an education in the distinctive whims of San Francisco golf. From fog and cool air to tight, tree-lined fairways and an occasional mud ball, playing the Lake Course and Harding Park is unlike what Brueckner usually sees in the East Bay. Much like Brueckner

did, women’s champion Casie Cathrea showed power off the tee in win- ning her fi rst City champi- onship. Cathrea, a 17-year- old from Livermore and the No. 5-ranked junior in the country according to Golfweek, twice had fi nished second in the City and was restless to put her name on the trophy. She got there by rou-

tinely out-driving Jayshree Sarathy, a junior at Gunn High in Palo Alto, in the title match. Cathrea cruised to a 10-and-8 victory, which she traced to her length off the tee— and she traced that, in turn, to her fanaticism for working out. Cathrea became

consumed with condi- tioning in the wake of a lingering ankle injury the past couple of years. She re-dedicated herself to a workout program, and the fruits of her labor were on full display at Harding. “My length was an

by 11%, or 55 million played, from 2001 to 2011. The National Golf Foundation notes that golfers benefi tted from a year of great weather, as the number of “playable” days rose 6.5% in 2012. The golf industry is a $68 billion business that employs nearly 2 million people nationwide each year, according to the National Golf Foundation.

12 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2013

advantage, especially on the par 5s,” Cathrea said of her win in the fi nals. “A lot of my game starts with that, because I spend so much time in the gym. I like getting stronger and spending time in the gym. I’ve amped it up a little bit the past few months.” It was hard not to notice Cathrea’s college choice as

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