SOMIS, Calif. (July 18, 20087) — Twelve years after he won the Southern California Golf Association Amateur Championship, Kevin Marsh of Henderson, NV, put himself in contention for a second title with two sparkling rounds at Saticoy Country Club.
Marsh, the 2005 USGA Mid-Amateur champion, shot 71-69 — 140 today, 4 under par over the challenging 6,859-yard Saticoy layout. He has a four-shot lead over three golfers at the midpoint of the 109th edition of the nation’s second-oldest, continuously contested amateur golf championship.
Marsh, a Santa Barbara native who won the 1996 SCGA Amateur in a playoff over Pat Duncan at Santa Maria CC, was the only golfer to break par for 36 holes. He leads two veterans — 2004 SCGA Amateur champion Tim Hogarth of Northridge and 1999 SCGA Amateur champion John Pate of Santa Barbara — and first-round leader Austin Graham of San Clemente, who slipped from a 4-under-par 68 this morning to a 76 in the afternoon.
A total of 44 people made the cut for the final two rounds, which was at 154, 10 over par. Among those to qualify was defending champion Brett Kanda of La Crescenta, who is tied for 25th place, 11 shots off the lead at 151 for 36 holes.
The third round begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and the final round starts at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Live scoring will be available on the SCGA Amateur Web site: www.scgaamateur.org.
The 35-year-old Marsh posted four birdies and three bogeys in his morning round and was 2-under-par for the first nine holes of his afternoon round. “I putted really well all day,” said Marsh after his second round. “I made a lot of putts this morning.”
Marsh’s final nine holes (Saticoy’s front side) were an “E” ticket ride. He went bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey on his first four holes, then reeled off three straight birdies before making a miraculous save on the par-5 eighth hole when he drove into the trees, punched out into the fairway and then got up and down from 250 yards for par. He then two-putted for par 3 on the ninth hole (“my only ‘normal’ hole on the nine,” he would say later).
The 40-year-old Hogarth, the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links and 1999 California Amateur champion, opened with a 2-under-par 70 but struggled to a 74 in the afternoon. “To say it wasn’t a typical round for me would be an understatement,” said Hogarth, who made nine birdies (including his final two holes in the afternoon) but shot only even par. “However, it’s nice to have a chance; it’s been awhile since that happened.”
The 48-year-old Pate, whose brother, Steve, was a multiple winner on the PGA Tour, shot 71-73. The 18-year-old Graham, a rising sophomore at UC Davis, was one of just two collegians near the leaderboard; the other was USC student Bo DeHuff of Coto de Caza, who posted 2-under-par 70 in the afternoon for a 145 total, tied for fifth with another veteran, David Bartman of Los Angeles.