Southern California 2005 Tournament Preview
01 Mar 2005

Summer is known as the prime competitive season for amateur golfers, but there is plenty going on this spring, including early-season tournaments and qualifiers for some of the summer’s biggest events.

The 3rd Annual SCGA Foursomes will kick off the 2005 amateur golf season on March 21 and 22 at Red Hill Golf Course. This will be the first time the event, won last year by the team of Tim Hogarth and John Pate, will not be played at Bakersfield Country Club.

Hogarth was the 2004 SCGA Amateur champion; Pate won that tournament in 1999. The caliber of the defending champions shows the strength of field one can expect at this opener.

The entry deadline is March 10. The team members’ combined age must be at least 80. Go to scga.org for entry information. The first major of the year takes place April 29 and 30 as the Kelly Cup tees off at Lakeside Golf Club. The invitational event is named for Roger Kelly, one of Southern California’s top amateurs in the 1930s, and always has a strong field consisting of the area’s top amateurs.

Lakeside is a true test, despite measuring approximately 6,500 yards. Michael Turner’s 2-over-par 212 total was good for a five-shot win in 2004.

Another major tournament on the Southern California scene will be played May 19 through 22 at the Pasadena City Championship at Brookside Golf Club. Last year players like 2000 U.S. Mid-Am winner Greg Puga and four-time SCGA Amateur champion Craig Steinberg took part in this event, played in the shadow of the Rose Bowl.

Players come because it is one of only a handful of 72-hole city championships in Southern California, and believed to be the only one played over four consecutive days instead of two weekends.

It’s held on two courses, much like the PGA Tour’s Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. Players alternate between the club’s C.W. Koiner (No. 1) and E.O. Nay (No. 2) courses during the first two rounds. The final two rounds are played exclusively on the more difficult Koiner course, which measures 7,037 yards. Last year, only three people broke par; Brookside Men’s Club member Keith Kinsel walked away with the title with a 3-under-par 283.

A cut is made after two rounds. Last year it fell at 5-over-par 147. Like on the PGA Tour, everyone who makes the cut is guaranteed a payday, except the Pasadena City must pay out scrip. Players making the cut also receive another tee prize in addition to the one handed out Thursday.

The Anaheim City Championship, a 36-hole event held April 23 and 24 is also held at two courses, Dad Miller and Anaheim Hills, and should draw a quality field.

Daniel Im won last year’s event. He is a past CIF-SCGA champion and current member of the UCLA golf team. The runner-up was Todd Saukkola, the 2004 Big West Conference champion.

The Anaheim is a good early-season tournament because neither course is long, giving the opportunity for low scores. Those looking to contend for a title will have to go extremely low, though. Im shot 131 for the win; 141 was good for a 10th-place finish.

The Goleta City Championship, held on March 26 and 27 at Glen Annie, will be one of the year’s first tournaments for those looking to get an early start. Glen Annie Golf Course is located in the hills overlooking this town just north of Santa Barbara. That offers two distinct advantages – good drainage during this rainy season and ocean views. The tournament also attracts college players from nearby UC Santa Barbara and strong amateurs from Ventura County.

Nearly two months later, the Santa Barbara City will be held at the nearby Santa Barbara Golf Course on May 28 through 30. It’s a 54-hole event with a 36-hole cut. The tournament fills up early, so those interested in playing should call the course as soon as possible. This event attracts players like John Pate, the 1999 SCGA Amateur champion and local collegiate players.

As spring turns to summer, it means the start of SCGA and USGA qualifiers. For those wanting to kill two birds with one stone, Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Arroyo Grande will host California Amateur Qualifying and U.S. Open Local Qualifying on back-to-back dates (May 11 and 12).

The rest of the state amateur qualifiers will be held between May 4 and 16. The first stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open will be held between May 12 and 23.

Other Southern California tournaments in the spring will be the Rancho Santa Margarita Amateur on April 2 and 3, the Arvin City on April 24 and 25, the Long Beach Senior on May 11 through 13 and the Orange County Golf Championship on May 21 and 22.
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