California State Am: 2007 Preview and Video

click above to view a video tour of Monterey Peninsula C.C.
PEBBLE BEACH, California (June 7, 2007) -- Defending champion Jordan Nasser of Anaheim Hills heads a field of 156 golfers who will tee it up in the 96th California Amateur Championship June 18-23 at Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

This year marks the beginning of a new era for one of the nation's oldest state amateur golf championships, which will now alternate between Northern California and Southern California.  The 2008 championship will be held at Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake (Burbank) and Oakmont CC in Glendale (see separate release).

Nasser, who recently completed his schooling at USC, will attempt to become the first golfer since Dr. Frank "Bud" Taylor in 1954-55 to win back-to-back championships.  He's also looking to join a list of 14 golfers who have won the event more than once.

However, he will face a formidable field that will include four former champions: Casey Boyns of Pacific Grove (1989 and 1993), Ed Cuff of Rancho Santa Fe (1998), Darryl Donovan of Gilroy (2001) and Don DuBois of Newport Beach (2005).  Boyns will be seeking to become just the third player ever to win more than two California Amateur titles, joining five-time champion Jack Neville (1912, 1913, 1919, 1921, 1929) and three-time champion J.J. McHugh (1923, 1927, 1928).

The week-long event begins June 18 and 19 with 18 holes of stroke play each day Half the 156 competitors will play the Dunes Course on Monday and the balance on playing the Shore Course; the fields will switch courses the following day.  The field will be cut to the low 32 golfers after Tuesday's round, playing off, if necessary, for the final spots.  The first round of match play is Wednesday and the second round is Thursday; quarterfinals and semifinals are Friday and the 36-hole championship will take place Saturday, June 23.  All matches are on the Shore Course.

Spectators are welcome free of charge to all days of the event.  Live scoring will be available at www.ncga.org and www.scga.org.

Monterey Peninsula Country Club was formed in 1926.  Its Dunes Course was the second course to be opened within the Del Monte Forest (seven years after Pebble Beach GL and preceding Cypress Point Club by two years).   Originally designed by Seth Raynor, the Dunes Course made dramatic use of the native sand dunes in the area. The course would go on to become one of the original host courses (along with Pebble Beach and Cypress Point) of the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. 

In 1998, Rees Jones completed a renovation of the Dunes Course, adding length, rebuilding greens and constructing a modern drainage system. Jones' touch was particularly apparent in his dramatic overhaul of the par-3 14th hole, where the architect brought the ocean even more into play.

Mike Strantz totally rebuildt the Shore Course in 2004. In the last course he would design before his untimely death, Stranz rerouted and lengthened the course, taking advantage of the more open ocean setting. The golf world took notice: the course quickly garnered 41st place on Golfweek's Best Modern Courses list.

This is not the first time that MPCC has been involved in the California Amateur.  In 1987, 1989 and 1990 its Shore Course hosted two of the stroke play qualifying rounds. The year 1989 was memorable for Phil Mickelson who was 7-under for his final 11 holes en route to a 67, low round of the tournament.

"We're excited about the opportunity to play one of America's premiere amateur championships at one of the nation's most prestigious country clubs," says Dick Skavdahl, president of the California Golf Association, which conducts the event.  "Holding the championship at Monterey Peninsula CC in 2007 will allow us to have all the golfer's stroke play and match play at the same facility.  Players will have more opportunity for practice rounds and tee times will begin later in the morning.  The entire focus of the association and the club will be on the California Amateur Championship."

Club President Bob Moore says, "Monterey Peninsula Country Club is pleased and proud to host the 2007 California State Amateur Championship.  We believe our two golf courses will provide an excellent test for identifying California's best amateur players. Hopefully, this will begin a new era where the State Amateur Championship will be decided at great golf venues in both Northern and Southern California."

Although there were other tournaments held early in the 20th century, the California Amateur Championship dates its origins from 1912.  It was originally held at Del Monte GC but when Pebble Beach Golf Links was built in 1919, the championship shifted to that location.  Among the significant California Amateur champions are Jack Neville (Pebble Beach's designer), George Von Elm, Charles Seaver, Johnny Dawson, Gene Littler, Ken Venturi, Johnny Miller and Mark O'Meara.

This will mark just the second time that the California Amateur will not have been played at Pebble Beach Golf Links since that course was opened in 1919.  In 2000, the last time that PBGL hosted the U.S. Open, the California Amateur shifted, at The Pebble Beach Company's request, to Bayonet and Blackhorse GCs in Seaside.

In addition to the California Amateur, there are several other tournaments conducted during the week, including net championships and the California Senior Amateur.

The CGA is comprised of the five-man executive committees of the Northern and Southern California golf associations.  In addition to three events during championship week (California Amateur, CGA Senior Amateur and CGA Net Amateur Match Play), the CGA also conducts the biennial Seaver Cup matches, pitting an eight-man team from the South against an octet from the North.  The CGA also sponsors the CIF-CGA State High School Boys Golf Championship each year.

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