by Tod Leonard, for San Diego Union Tribune
LA JOLLA, California (October 30, 2006) Rick Lindeman arrived at the La Jolla Country Club for the Century Club Matches yesterday morning with the desire to win his singles match and help the Professionals team capture its third straight meeting against the Amateurs.
He got so much more out of it than that.
Lindeman's father, Pat, who hadn't seen his son play in person in about 20 years, surprised Rick by showing up on the first tee, and after overcoming that emotional sight and a shaky start, the younger Lindeman gave his dad quite a show that had them both beaming with pride.
The Santee native and 13-year assistant pro at the Sycuan Resort won four straight holes on the back nine and rolled to a 4-and-3 victory over Mark Etue in what became another convincing win for the Pros.
Six other pros – Monty Leong, Chuck Minerd, Jason Edmiston, Justin Hicks, Tim Parun and Scott Mahlberg – won their matches and another point was halved among 12 singles duels, and they beat the Amateurs 14-10 in the three-day competition to take an 18-17 lead in the series. It is the first time since 1990 that the Pros, who have won six of the past eight, have held the overall edge.
The burly, affable Lindeman has played in three of the past four Matches (he had to withdraw last year after tearing a muscle in his stomach while sneezing), and of the competition, he said, “I love this (stuff).” It shows. He was the only pro to contribute three full points this year, and he ran his overall mark in the competition to 7-2-1.
Still, in yesterday's aftermath, it was the unexpected presence of his father that thrilled Lindeman the most. While declining to get into details, he said he and his father, who is in his late 60s, have experienced some tough periods in their relationship through the years. Rick, 38, couldn't pinpoint when his father last saw him play, but figured it had been a couple of decades.
“I probably got mad at him,” Lindeman admitted of the last time.
So for his dad to appear unannounced yesterday, Rick was visibly touched. As Pat Lindeman followed the match, his dad showed him some fist pumps, and when it was over, they savored a long hug.
“It was really cool for my dad to be there,” said Rick, who has three young children. “He means a lot to me. All of a sudden for him to show up, I know he loves me a lot.”
If there could be such joy on the Amateurs side, it was surely felt by Carlsbad's Gerry Simoni, who went undefeated in all three of his matches. Next week, the 49-year-old is to embark on his first attempt to qualify for the Champions Tour, and yesterday he got a huge confidence boost when he won 5 and 4 over a Champions member this year, Chris Starkjohann.
Simoni said he shot 4-under in the 14 holes they played, and he won each of the last five holes.
“Absolutely,” Simoni said when asked if he had wanted to draw Starkjohann, who will return to Champions Q School. “I was asking to play him before this event started. You want to play the best, and I just have so much respect for Chris.”
While insisting that he did not want to be boastful in any way, Simoni said of the boost this gives him before Q School, “As a competitive person, if I can't beat Chris, I'm not going to be beating Jay Haas or Loren Roberts or have any chance like that. To accomplish your goals, you've got to beat guys like Chris.”
Tod Leonard: (619) 293-1858; firstname.lastname@example.org