SOMIS, Calif. (July 19, 2008)--Kevin Marsh, whose roots are in Santa Barbara, is feeling right at home at Saticoy Country Club in nearby Ventura County. The 35-year-old Henderson, NV, resident, who won this event in 1996, fired a 2-under-par 70 today and leads the 109th SCGA Amateur Championship by three shots heading into tomorrow’s final round of the nation’s second-oldest, continuously contested amateur golf championship.
Marsh’s 210 total for 54 holes, 6-under-par over the challenging 6,905-yard layout, is three shots in front of 2004 SCGA Amateur champion Tim Hogarth of Northridge and UC Davis rising sophomore Austin Graham of San Clemente.
Those two are five shots clear of the next three golfers: Wayne Merich of Moorpark, Spencer Anderson of Pacific Palisades and Brian Edick of Valencia, each of whom is at 2-over-par 218 for 54 holes. Final-round tee times begin tomorrow at 8 a.m.
The 35-year-old Marsh, who won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and played in the 2006 Masters, had four birdies and two bogeys in his third round.
“I actually played a lot better today than I did yesterday,” admitted Marsh after his round today. “If I had putted as well today as I did yesterday, I could have gone really low.”
Marsh bogeyed the 427-yard first hole for the second round in a row (“It was kind of a wakeup call,” he said later) but followed that up with a birdie 3 on the third hole and closed his front nine with birdies on the eighth and ninth holes (the latter with a 15-foot putt).
The back nine was more eventful. Marsh snap-hooked his drive on the 14th hole out of bounds but rallied to save bogey, and then rebounded to birdie the next hole. On the 487-yard, par-4 17th hole, Marsh blocked his drive right into the trees, chipped back into the fairway, then hit a wedge shot to within a foot to save par. He finished his round by getting up and down from a greenside bunker to save par on the final hole.
After an up-and-down first two rounds that saw him make nine birdies but finish only even par for 36 holes, Hogarth was back on his normal game today (three-time SCGA Amateur champion Scott McGihon called it “Timmie golf”). Hogarth posted three birdies and 15 pars for a 3-under-par 69 and stands at 213 for 54 holes, 3 under par.
“This was more like my game and far less stressful,” said Hogarth after Saturday's round. “I gave myself a chance for tomorrow; that’s all I can ask.”
He and Marsh will be paired together for the final round.
The 18-year-old Graham, who was the first-round leader after a 4-under-par 68, was 1 over par through 12 holes today but birdied four of his final six holes, including three in a row. Graham, who finished sixth at this summer’s Long Beach City championship, is seeking his first major title.
In contrast to yesterday’s marathon 36-hole session, there were 10 under-par rounds posted today. One of those was by Scott Almquist of Coto de Caza, who was 7 under par after 15 holes today but made double bogey on two of his final three holes to finish at 3-under-par 69. He’s tied for ninth with 1999 SCGA Amateur champion John Pate of Santa Barbara at 5 over par.
Defending champion Brett Kanda of La Crescenta is tied for 21st after shooting 74 today for a 9-over-par total of 225. Nick Delio of Valencia, who won last month’s California Amateur Championship, is tied for ninth at 5-over-par 221 after an even-par 72 today. Delio is bidding to become the first golfer since Johnny Dawson in 1942 to win the California Amateur and SCGA Amateur titles in the same year.
A Marsh win tomorrow would form the second-longest span between championships. Bruce McCormick won in 1947 and 1948 and then won his third title in 1963 (when he was 51 years of age). In addition, with a win tomorrow, Marsh (or Hogarth) could become the 20th golfer to win two or more SCGA Amateur titles.
--Courtesy Robert D. Thomas, SCGA