Helton rises above at City Championship

Sometimes the pupil surpasses the teacher.

Not this day.

Brian Helton held off his former student and two others at Santa Barbara Golf Club on Monday to win the City Golf Championship for the first time.

Brian Helton closed out his round with a birdie and five pars on the final six holes to win the City Championship on Monday at Santa Barbara Golf Club. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Helton finished with a 2-under 69 to total 207 for the three-day tournament, edging Shane Lebow, Dave Siordia and Brandon Gama.

Helton, a former pro who played at San Marcos High School and UCSB, taught Lebow when the current Stanford golfer was growing up.

“I used to teach Shane when I was still a pro, so I kind of watched him grow up and become a really good golfer,” Helton said.

The tide turned in Helton’s favor on the par-4 15th hole. Helton birdied and Lebow bogied, boosting Helton into the lead all alone at 3-under. Lebow fell into a tie with Siordia, who also birdied the 15th to join Lebow at 2-under.

Helton posted par on the final three holes and kept the lead. On 18, Helton sent his second shot into the left-side bunker but was able to rescue par.

Brandon Gama, who sunk a hole-in-one on the second hole on Monday, chips onto the 15th green in front of the gallery.

“I just needed to get it on the green and give myself a chance,” Helton explained.

Lebow, Helton and Gama entered the final round sharing the tournament lead at four-under. Siordia started the day one stroke behind the leaders.

“It was a slow round today, much slower than the first two days and the course played pretty tough,” Helton said.

The final two groups were followed by good-sized galleries as the tournament’s leaders had many strong local ties.

“The locals always want to see a local win this event,” Siordia said. “Brian Helton. I mean, no one deserves it more than him. That’s awesome.”

Siordia could have forced a playoff with a birdie on 18. A bogie instead created the three-way tie for second.

“I just wanted to give myself a chance going into the final nine holes and I did,” Siordia said.

Gama came through with the shot of the day on the second hole.

Gama – the 2009 champion – sunk a hole-in-one on the 127-yard par-3. ?Gama set the tournament record in 2009 with a three-day score of 193.

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT SCORES

Brian Helton 71-67-69 ? 207
Brandon Gama 70-68-71 ? 209
Shane Lebow 68-70-71 ? 209
Dave Siordia 73-66-70 ? 209
Brett Silvernail 72-67-71 ? 210
Levi Garcia 69-72-71 ? 212
Michael Flynn 73-70-71 ? 214
Brennan Amirkhizi 72-74-69 ?? 215
Tyler Schwanz 76-65-75 ? 216
Kevin Ruby 77-70-70 ? 217
Complete Results

FLIGHT CHAMPIONS

CHAMPIONSHIP: B Helton 69 – 207
PALMER: I Underhill 73 – 222
HOGAN: B Mandarino – 79 – 229
NICKLAUS: C. Kirkbride – 81 – 237
TREVINO: A. Placencia – 80 -237
SNEAD: E. t’Sas 84 – 254
PLAYER: J Bowie – 85 -252

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