WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (August 30, 2005) -- John McClure of West Los Angeles, did everything he thought he needed to win the 22nd Southern California Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship today at North Ranch Country Club, but it almost wasn't enough.
The 46-year-old McClure, who began the day with a one-shot lead, shot a 4-under-par 67 in today's final round but had to roll in a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole just to earn a playoff against 25-year-old San Diego State student Joshua Warthen of Pismo Beach. Both players finished the 54-hole event at 208, 6 under par. McClure then parred three consecutive holes to win the first playoff in the tournament's 22-year-history and the first three-hole aggregate playoff since the SCGA instituted that format.
Warthen and McClure finished three shots in front of Mark Gardner of Redlands and David Ober of Riverside, who finished at 211, 3 under par. Michael Turner of Sherman Oaks shot a 4-under-par 67 in the final round and rallied to tie Todd Strible of San Marcos for fifth at 1 under par. Those six were the only players to better par for 54 holes over the Ted Robinson-designed course.
McClure, who began the day a shot in front of Ober and two shots in front of Warthen, finished with seven birdies and four bogies on his closing round, only to have Warthen make six birdies and an eagle en route to a 6-under-par 65 today. "You'd think if a guy is leading a tournament and shoots 67 he could win it," said McClure after his victory. "Josh had an incredible round."
Both Warthen, who only took up the game at the age of 19, and McClure made dramatic birdie putts on the 423-yard, par-4 finishing hole in regulation. Moments after Warthen rolled in a 12-foot putt from the back fringe, McClure curled in his 25-footer to force the playoff.
After both players made par 4 on the 16th hole (the first of the playoff), Warthen encountered tree trouble on the 174-yard 17th hole and finished with a double-bogey 5, while McClure calmly two-putted for par. After both players played difficult second shots to reach the 18th green in regulation, Warthen lipped out a 25-foot birdie putt and McClure then two-putted from 40 feet for the title.
"I putted great in the last two rounds," McClure said later of his first SCGA-related title, despite a long amateur career.
For complete results, click on the tournament link above (amateurgolf.com premium membership requested).