MISSION VIEJO, California (April 23, 2007) -- Tim Hogarth of Northridge had never seen Mission Viejo Country Club until today when he teed off in the 24th Southern California Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship, but it has quickly moved up the list of his favorite courses.
The 40-year-old Hogarth -- who won this event in 1999, the same year he captured the California Amateur Championship -- shot rounds of 70-71 -- 141 and has a four-shot lead over James Meyer of Dana Point heading into the final round, which begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday). A total of 45 players made the cut by shooting 157 or better. The leaders will tee off at approximately 9:30 a.m. Live scoring will be at www.scga.org.
The 50-year-old Meyer rebounded from an opening round of 3-over-par 75 to post a 2-under-par 70 in the afternoon. Meyer and Hogarth had three of the four subpar rounds in two rounds over the Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed course that was dubbed "Mission Impossible" when it opened in 1967.
Another "grizzled veteran," 47-year-old John Pate of Santa Barbara is alone in third place at 146. The 2000 SCGA Mid-Amateur and 1999 SCGA Amateur champion posted a pair of 73 and is two shots ahead of three-time SCGA Amateur champion Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes, who rallied from an opening-round 76 to post even-par 72 in the afternoon but trails Hogarth by seven shots
"So much for local knowledge," said Hogarth with a wry smile after his afternoon round. "Actually, I got a bit lucky because it turns out that I hit driver sometimes when I shouldn't have. Normally I hit driver every chance I get, but on some of these holes, I can run out of fairway and the out-of-bounds comes into play."
Hogarth -- whose legendary amateur resume includes the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and the 2004 SCGA Amateur -- had four birdies and two bogies in his morning and came back with eight consecutive pars to begin the afternoon before three-putting for a bogey 5 on the ninth hole.
However, on the 404-yard, par-4 10th hole, Hogarth nearly holed his 8-iron approach shot, leaving a two-inch putt for birdie. He struggled to a bogey 5 on the 11th hole after putting his drive and approach into thick rough, but came back with another birdie on the par-4 12th. Birdies on the two par-5 closing holes and a bogey 5 on the tight 15th sent him into tomorrow's final round with the lead.
'As I've gotten older, I've learned how to prepare," says Hogarth. "I don't play as much as I used to, so it's vital that I prepare properly. If I get ready, I can expect to play well; if I don't, things aren't going to go well for me. I had a feeling that things would go well for me today."
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