Preview: Top senior field prepared for inaugural Ojai Senior Cup
25 Oct 2019
see also: Ojai Senior Cup, Soule Park Golf Course

Soule Park will co-host the inaugural Ojai Senior Cup
Soule Park will co-host the inaugural Ojai Senior Cup

By David Ober

The inaugural Ojai Senior Cup is set to begin play this weekend, Oct. 26-27 at Ojai Valley Inn and Soule Park Golf Course in Ojai, Calif. Tournament director Keith Brown’s stated aim is to make the tournament one of the premier senior events in California, if not the country.

Headlining the field is Tim Hogarth, the 1997 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion who played the Masters the following year. Hogarth has won everything there is to win in California amateur golf, and with 18 (!) Southern California Golf Association titles to his credit (more than any living player), Hogarth is definitely the man to beat.

“I’ve worked on a few projects with Keith over the years, and I know how hard it is to get a tournament off the ground, so I wanted to help in any way I could,” Hogarth said of playing the inaugural event.

The field also includes John Pate, a two-time California Senior Amateur champion; Iain Macdonald, a 15-time USGA qualifier and current Kelly Cup Senior and Inland Empire Senior champion; Bob Valerio, a 13-time USGA participant; Tal Tartaglia, a 2015 U.S. Senior Open qualifier; and Tom Norys, a three-time USGA qualifier and 2016 Los Angeles County Senior champion.

The forecast calls for unpredictable strong winds on Sunday, which could level the playing field on Day 2.

Regarding the courses, Ojai Valley Inn is a George C. Thomas design that has history as a host for the PGA Champions Tour. The last Champions Tour event there was in 1996, when Walter Morgan outlasted Gary Player in a playoff. Soule Park is a first-rate public facility originally designed by Billy Bell and remodeled by famed architect Gil Hanse. According to the popular podcast/website The Fried Egg, "Soule Park is in a class of its own. Only a handful of municipal facilities in the country can match its combination of affordability and superb architecture."

Thomas also designed such regional, private gems as Los Angeles Country Club, Bel-Air and Riviera. Ojai, though, can be played by anyone who is staying at the resort. Ojai checks in at 6,300 yards and with fast greens, it makes for an old-school test of golf.

The Ojai Senior Cup is a 36-hole event for players ages 50 and over. The $190 entry fee covers green fees, golf cart, range access, prize fund and a player gift. There is a maximum allowable handicap index of 3.9 for the Championship division, and the Net field will be flighted – for men and women – based on entries.

ABOUT THE Ojai Senior Cup

Growing event that aims to become one of the top Senior Amateur Championships on the West Coast. Top players such as Tim Hogarth and Dan Sullivan have already put their names on the trophy. Played at a classic golf course located in the beautiful destination location of Ojai, California. 54-hole competition with Senior (55+, 7.4 max index) and Super Senior (65+, 8.0 max index) Divisions. Those aged 65+ may choose to play in the Senior Division.

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