SANTA BARBARA, CALIF (Aug. 8, 2011) -- “There’s no place like home.”
Just ask local guy John Pate, inducted earlier this year into the San Marcos High Athletic Hall of Fame.
He and long-time pal, Steve Lass, UCSB’s golf coach, again teamed to win the 51st annual Santa Barbara Classic golf championship, and put an exclamation mark on this two-day, two-man, Fiesta-weekend tournament held at Santa Barbara Golf Club.
For those scoring at home, that’s 14 titles for Lass, 13 for Pate, and 12 together.
They won their first one together in 1987 and their previous title in 2007. Lass, the tournament’s all-time leader, also won with Scott Helton in 2003 and 2004, while Pate’s only title without Lass was his first in 1985 with Sam Randolph, Jr.
This year they held off second-place finishers Bobby Shaffer and Pepperdine star Josh Anderson to win by two strokes.
“We couldn’t shake those guys. Josh is easily the best player in the field. He shot a 62 and is a state champion,” Pate offered. (Anderson won the 2007 California State Amateur.)
And they went down swinging as Anderson nearly eagled his approach shot to the green on 18.
That could have made things very interesting, but, instead, Pate and Lass ‘stayed the course’ and won by two strokes, 122-124.
And about all those victories …
“My goal was to win 10 and I thought that would be awesome. Then 10 wasn’t enough,” said Lass.
On what it took to win this year, here’s Lass’ candid analysis:
“John played great both days. The best in 20 years for two days in a row. I made some clutch putts when we needed them.”
There were 80 two-man teams spread over four flights (A, B, C, D).
The top five winning teams in each flight received merchandise ranging from $900 for first place to $150 for fifth place.
“It was a wonderful tournament and we had a lot of fun,“ said Jeff Lavender, a Santa Barbara High School teacher who teamed with friend Shawn Stuerman. They finished in fourth place in the B Flight.
After the trophy presentation in Mulligan’s Café, SBGC Director of Golf Chris Talerico thanked everyone for the tourney’s success and especially committee members Vic Giglio, Dave Sparkes and Mike Atchley.
And in a scene familiar on ESPN SportsCenter, as the ever-humble Pate came off the 18th with victory in hand, his son Matt, 11, gave him a hug and they walked off together.
“Matt has quite an interest in golf. I’ve been taking him out with me since he was about age two,” the elder Pate said. “Now, we play a lot together … he’s on the local juniors tour … and he is doing well.”
Stay tuned, the Pate name could be etched on that big winner’s trophy for many years to come.
View results for Santa Barbara Golf Classic