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California Senior Amateur: Nickeas jumps to 3-shot lead

SOMIS, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2011) -- Saticoy CC’s greens are known to be some of the most challenging putting surfaces in Southern California. Many of the state’s best senior amateurs found out how humbling they can be during the first round of the CGA Senior Amateur Championship on Monday.

Course knowledge can be a huge advantage on a difficult golf course, and no one took advantage of that more than Saticoy’s own Mark Nickeas. Nickeas, from Lake Sherwood, carded five birdies and two bogeys en route to a first round 69, and a three-stroke lead heading into Tuesday’s play. Nickeas, the only Saticoy CC member in the field, is a seven-time club champion and currently holds the club’s match play, stroke play and senior club titles.

“I putted and chipped phenomenally today,” he said. "It’s a huge advantage knowing these greens. Every putt is tricky if you’re above the hole.”

Herb Jensen, from Carmichael, is in second place with an even-par 72. Jensen, who won the SCGA Senior Four-Ball Championship two weeks ago, carded three birdies and three bogies. David Ujihara from Chino Hills is in third place with a 73. Three-time defending champion Jeff Burda is tied for ninth place after shooting a 76. The average score for the entire field was 81.5.

First played in 1992, the CGA Senior Championship is the state’s premier event for players ages 55 and over. It brings together the top players from the Northern and Southern California Golf Associations.

The championship consists of 54 holes of stroke play (18 holes per day). After 36 holes are completed, the field is cut to the low 33 players and ties for the final 18 holes. Stay tuned to scga.org for full coverage of the three-day event.

ABOUT THE California Senior Amateur

The California Senior Amateur Championship began in the fall of 1992, and is the state championship for players age 55 and over. The first two tournaments were played at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. In 1994, the event was moved to Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, and in 1995, a simultaneous NCGA vs. SCGA team portion of the championship was added. Starting in 2010 this 54-hole stroke play championship will rotate to selected courses throughout the state. Players must have an index of 7.4 or less and may attempt to qualify at any location in the state.

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