At the end of the first day of the Northern California Golf Association Net Amateur Championship, Josh Torres was locked in a three-way tie for first.
The Gilroy native, competing for the Gilroy Golf Course, needed a big round during the second and final day of the tournament at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, which took place Oct. 9-10.
And he delivered.
On the second hole, a par 3, Torres nearly hit a hole-in-one, shooting his ball a mere six inches from the hole. After nailing a birdie, the momentum carried over to a run that saw Torres hit two records in the tournament: the best score at the end of the final round (10-under par), and the largest lead between first and second place (Torres finished 16-under par across both days, while Ryan Schneider of San Leandro finished at 6-under).
“When you’re all tied, you’re looking for an advantage or edge,” Torres said. “If you can get a good start early, that takes them out of their element. When I hit that birdie, that was the beginning of the end.”
Torres received the gold medal at the Net Amateur Championship, after years of just coming up short, with multiple silver and bronze awards.
“It’s not a feeling of joy or happiness, it’s a feeling of relief,” Torres said, adding that the tournament, which is tightly overseen by a group of officials, is the closest event an amateur golfer can get to competing in the professionals. “You have all this pressure, and when it’s finally over, you can finally breathe again.
“I got the gold, and now I can cross it off the bucket list.”
Torres said he caught the golf bug back when he first started playing for the Gavilan College golf team.
“I was the worst golfer on the worst team, but it was fun,” he said. “There were no expectations.”
After playing for a number of years for the Eagle Ridge golf club, Torres joined the Gilroy Golf Course club this year. Torres said his goal was to bring home the gold for the course for its longtime manager Don DeLorenzo, who retired this year.
The competition to get to the actual tournament was stiff. Torres first competed against his local club, and three golfers qualified for the second stage against about 300 others from San Francisco to Monterey.
From there, about 90 qualified for the Net Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach, and were spread out in three different flights, with Torres emerging victorious in the Yosemite Flight.
Torres said he’s going to step back from competing in tournaments to spend more time with his three children, thanking his wife and family for their support in his golf endeavors.
Golf is in the Torres family blood, with Josh enjoying the game with his father, and also playing with his children at least once a week.
The family also loves to compete, having been on the “Family Feud” television show in 2014.
“Right now they are begging me to play golf,” he said of his children. “I don’t want to pressure them. I want them to just enjoy the game for what it is.
“We have three generations that go out and play. To me, that’s what life is all about: your family, your friends, just enjoying the game with my loved ones.”