SCGA Amateur this weekend at Saticoy CC

Here is a release from the Southern California Golf Association about this weekend’s SCGA Amateur at Saticoy Country Club in Somis …

SATICOY COUNTRY CLUB SET TO CHALLENGE 109th SCGA AMATEUR CONTESTANTS JULY 18-20

SOMIS, July 14 — Last year when Brett Kanda won the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) Amateur Championship, he shot 275 (9 under par) over the par-71 Victoria Club course in Riverside. When the 109th edition of the nation’s second oldest, continuously contested amateur golf championship tees off at Saticoy Country Club in Ventura County on Friday, July 18, don’t expect the winning score to be that low. “In fact,” said one veteran SCGA observer, “I’d take 290 for 72 holes and relax in the clubhouse.”

Saticoy, the home club of SCGA President Bob Lowe, will be the first Ventura County course to host the amateur and one of the most challenging in recent memory. For one thing, at 6,984 yards from the back tee, it’s more than 500 yards longer than Victoria Club. As was the case at the recent U.S. Open, the SCGA will vary tee lengths on several holes, including the treacherous par-3 10th hole, which will play from 170 to 144 yards from an elevated tee to a narrow green fronted by bunkers and a pond.

Although the club dates from the 1920s, it moved to its present hillside location in 1964. William Francis Bell (often called Billy Bell, Jr., although he wasn’t a “junior” since his father was William Park Bell) designed the 1964 layout. What Bell (who also designed Torrey Pines and Industry Hills) created was considered a championship layout from the day it opened. Among the major championships the club has hosted are the 1998 SCGA Mid-Amateur and the 1996 and 2003 SCGA Four-Ball Championships, along with qualifying events for U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur and other major national events.

However, 40 years later, the course was in danger of becoming outdated, so the club invited several noted architects, including Tom Doak, Robert Muir Graves and John Harbottle III, to inspect the facility and make recommendations. “All of the architects said the same thing,” remembers Lowe: “Great routing, good collection of holes, weak bunkers.”

Harbottle — well known for his work in remodeling courses such as Hillcrest CC and Hacienda GC — was selected for the remake of Saticoy. “John did a great job of bringing the course back to its historical roots while, at the same time, modernizing it for contemporary play,” explains Lowe. “In our case, John really went back to the bunker concepts of Billy Bell’s dad, William P. Bell, adding lots of capes and bays and bringing bunker edges around the front of the greens so that players no longer could simply bounce the ball on the greens.”

When 2004 SCGA Amateur champion Tim Hogarth played the newly renovated course for the first time, he commented, “I’m going to have to re-learn how to play this course.” It’s a sentiment shared by many.

Kanda of La Crescenta, three-time champion Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes and newly crowned California Amateur champion Nick Delio of Valencia will be chasing history in the championship, which runs July 18-20.

A field of 84 golfers will play 36 holes on Friday, July 18, with players teeing off at 7:20 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. from the first and 10th tees. The field will be trimmed to the low 42 scorers and ties after the second round. The third round will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and the final round will begin at the same time on Sunday.

Live hole-by-hole scoring will be available at www.scgaamateur.org.

The 21-year-old Kanda, a sophomore at UNLV, is bidding to become just the seventh player ever to win back-to-back titles. After playing superlative golf for 63 holes last year at Victoria Club in Riverside, Kanda had to withstand a scary finish, that began with a double bogey on the 10th hole and bogeys on the 11th and 13th holes. Eventually, he righted the ship and finished three shots in front of Brian Edick of Valencia (who finished runner-up for the third consecutive year).

The 40-year-old McGihon, who won the SCGA Amateur in 2000 and again in 2005 and 2006, is bidding to become just the fourth golfer to win four or more SCGA Amateur titles. Paul Hunter won five times (1908, 1909, 1921, 1924 and 1926). Four-time champions are Dawson (1942, 1945, 1946, 1952)

The 18-year-old Delio, who won the 97th California Amateur Championship last month at Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, could become the first person since Johnny Dawson in 1942 to win the California Amateur and SCGA Amateur in the same year. The long-hitting Delio, a sophomore at Cal State Northridge, got into the state tournament as an alternate and made the most of it, pounding 15-year-old Austin Roberts of Carmichael, 7 & 5, in the 36-hole championship match.

ABOUT THE SCGA AMATEUR

The SCGA Amateur is one of the nation’s oldest continuously contested amateur golf championships. The first SCGA Amateur was held less than one year after the Southern California Golf Association was formed on July 29, 1899. Only the Utah Amateur, begun in 1899, has a longer consecutive string (the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur both predate the SCGA Amateur but both USGA events were suspended during war years).

Throughout its rich history, the SCGA Amateur has been won by some of the greatest golfers in history, including George Von Elm, Dawson, McCormick, Al Geiberger and, in 1994, Tiger Woods, who set single-round (62) and 72-hole (270) scoring records winning at Hacienda GC. Equally impressive are those who tried and failed to win the title, including such professional major winners as Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Scott Simpson, Mark O’Meara and Phil Mickelson.

ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GOLF ASSOCIATION

Founded in 1899, the Southern California Golf Association is one of the oldest and largest regional golf associations in the world, with more than 160,000 individuals who belong to more than 1,250 clubs in Southern California and Baja California. Among its many services, the SCGA provides handicap indexes for its members; uses its own state-of-the-art handicap computer system at all clubs in Southern California; provides course ratings and Slope ratings for all clubs in the association; publishes FORE Magazine, an award-winning, four-color bimonthly publication for members; publishes the annual Southern California Directory of Golf; runs one of the most dynamic golf web sites in the world; conducts 13 championships and dozens of qualifying events for itself and the United States Golf Association; and presents dozens of seminars throughout the year for individuals and member clubs.

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