INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (April 21, 2008)--For the past two decades, Jeff Wilson has been a stalwart in Northern California and national golf competitions. Now the 44-year-old Fairfield resident has added Southern California to his radar screen.
Today at Toscana Country Club, Wilson shot 67-66 -- 133, 11 under par over the Jack Nicklaus-designed South Course, to take a five-shot lead over Will Tipton of Corona del Mar after two rounds of the 25th Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) Mid-Amateur Championship.
Tipton (one of two Toscana CC members in the field) shot 70-68 -- 138 and will play with Wilson in the final pairing tomorrow (Tuesday). A total of 45 golfers made the cut for the final round at 152, 8 over par. Tee times begin at 8 a.m.
Six shots back of Wilson is 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Kevin Marsh of Henderson, NV, who shot 71-68 -- 139. He’s followed by former UCLA golfer Brandon DiTullio of Thousand Oaks (69-71 -- 140) and Bakersfield’s John Balfanz (72-70 -- 140).
Wilson opened with five birdies and no bogeys for a 5-under-par 67 in the morning round and shared the first-round lead with Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes. Wilson then blistered the front nine in the afternoon for a 5-under-par 31 and birdied two of his first four holes on the back nine before making two bogeys coming home. McGihon skidded to a 77 this afternoon and is at even-par 144.
After his afternoon round, Wilson joked about joining the SCGA. “Don Dubois (a Toscana member) kept ragging on me to join so we could play four-ball events together,” said Wilson. “So last year I joined SilverRock and then my wife and I bought a condo in La Quinta.”
Wilson’s resume includes medalist three times in the U.S. Mid-Amateur (he’s made the quarterfinals twice and semifinals twice in match play), and medalist in the 2000 U.S. Amateur. He was also the only amateur to make the cut in the 2000 U.S. Open.
Tipton cited the benign conditions for the low scores today. “With no wind and the greens in perfect condition,” he said, “it became a putting contest. I’m not surprised at the scores I saw except, perhaps, for mine. If the wind blows tomorrow, it will be a different story, but if it stays down like it did today, there could be some really low scores tomorrow.”
Marsh -- who like Wilson, belongs to an SCGA club, which makes him eligible for association events-- shot 71-68 -- 139. “I could have gone so much lower,” lamented Marsh after his second round. Marsh had five birdies and two eagles in his second round but also posted three bogeys and a double bogey 6 on the 11th hole to fall back.
Defending champion Tim Hogarth of Northridge is well back after shooting 76-72 — 148. Emblematic of his struggles, Hogarth shot even-par in the afternoon despite making four birdies and an eagle.
Kent Wiese of Huntington Beach had the shot of the day when he knocked in a 4-iron shot for a hole-in-one on the 200-yard, par-3 fourth hole in the second round.