Bay Club Redwood Shores PSA Bayside Open 2019
The 4-day PSA Bayside Open 2019 wrapped up on Saturday afternoon at Bay Club Redwoods Shores with Head Pro Charlie Johnson winning a marathon 5-game match over Assistant Pro, Lawrence Kuhn, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7. Together, Johnson and Kuhn took home the lion’s share of the $1,000 total prize money for this professional tournament, sponsored by NorCal Squash and the Bay Club.
Both players had had a long road to the finals and confessed to being sore and tired before their match started. To get to the finals, Charlie had first battled past the skilled Mexican player, Cesar Segundo (currently at the University of Rochester), winning 14-12 in the final game, and then past a strong #2 seed, Cole Becker (currently at Princeton University), in a grueling 3-game match that lasted nearly 45 minutes. Lawrence had his own challenges, overcoming the wily #4 seed, veteran PSA player Armando Olguin, in 4 tough games, before taking on Mustafa Nawar of Egypt, pro at Squash Zone and the tournament’s #1 seed. In that match, Lawrence overcame a 0-2 deficit to battle back and win 3-2 (11-8 in the 5 th).
Still, on Saturday, both finalists were fit and keen to play, and prepared to give it their all, before the packed crowd of appreciative members and guests. A few loyal fans had been coming all week long, and some even brought homemade signs to cheer for the BCRS players.
Lawrence was the first out of the gate, winning the first game with his impressive court speed and deft touch. Charlie rebounded in games 2 and 3 by extending the rallies, and then using both volleys and lobs effectively to change pace and move Lawrence from corner to corner. Despite looking fatigued after the 3 rd game, Lawrence emerged focused and determined in the 4 th game to put pressure on Charlie, forcing him into some early errors. Taking advantage of his momentum, Lawrence continued to stay strong, and Charlie was unable to gain enough traction to come back. Both players emerged sharp for game #5, and the score was tied at 4-4 when Charlie dug deep and came out on top of a several very long points. Though Lawrence was able to respond with a few winners of his own, he could not regain his deficit and Charlie went on to emerge victorious in the final game, 11-7.
Outside of the top seeds, there were other entertaining and highly contested matches throughout the week. In a hard-fought first-round match, 16-year old Mukunth Gopalakrishnan came back from 0-2 down and facing match point in the 3 rd , to beat local stalwart Andrew Hilboldt of the Olympic Club. In another first- round match, Sacramento veteran Wade Beardsley nearly took out Olguin, in a 5 game marathon that had the crowd gasping. Later, Zephan Huang of Fremont put on a great display of speed and patience in his quarter-finals match against Nawar: tied at 1-1, he pushed Nawar to 12-all in the 3 rd before coming up short and eventually falling 3-1.
We look forward to seeing more of these PSA events in the coming months.