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SCGA Amateur : May Has a 68 to Take Lead as Voges Fades

Times Staff Writer

Bob May was not especially pleased with his four-over-par 144 through the first 36 holes of the 88th Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship, even though it left him only four strokes behind the leader after the first day of play at Braemar Country Club in Tarzana.

A third-round 68, which moved the 18-year-old player from La Habra into the lead by one shot Saturday, made him happier--but just barely.

“Today, I hit the ball better, but I fell asleep on two holes, and that hurt me,” said May, referring to three-putt bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 during a round of five birdies and only one other bogey.

May is at 212 going into today’s final round, just ahead of Greg Starkman of Beverly Hills, who is at 213. Don Baker of Canoga Park and Rich Greenwood of West Los Angeles are tied for third at 215.

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First-day leader Mitch Voges, whose knowledge of the course helped him to an even-par 140 through 36 holes, lost his way early in the third round, going three over par on the first three holes and finishing with a 77 for a 217 total.

Defending champion Dave Sheff played himself out of contention with a 76 for a total of 226.

The championship flight is due to begin play at 11:15 a.m. today with May, Starkman and Greenwood scheduled at 12:32 p.m. Baker, who is playing on his home course, tees off at 12:25 p.m.

For the first 15 holes, May’s play was one of the few bright spots in a round that proceeded with the speed and enthusiasm of a funeral procession. Pin placements on Nos. 1 and 12 killed a lot of golfers’ chances, particularly in the president’s flight (5-8 handicap), which teed off ahead of the championship flight.

Frequent three- and four-putts on No. 1 delayed the last group in the championship flight, Voges’ foursome, 45 minutes at the tee. Their round would take six hours to play.

Many golfers would have been pleased with four putts on No. 12, a 151-yard par-3. President’s flight golfers averaged eight putts at a cup cut into a slope on the left side of the green. Bill Hapgood of California City, who fired a 69 to lead the president’s flight, took 6 on the hole with five putts. Melvin Hawkins scored a 16 on the hole. The tournament committee decided to move the pin before the championship flight played the hole.

The backup at the 12th tee while the cup was moved delayed play nearly an hour. But the wait didn’t seem to bother May, whose four-iron shot landed five feet beyond the pin and rolled back to within an inch of the cup. He had to settle for birdie.

“I knew it was on line when I hit it,” May said, “I just didn’t know how long it was. I was hoping it would go in. I haven’t had a hole-in-one since I was 8.”

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The 21-year-old Greenwood, who will be a junior at UCLA, gets a hole-in-one every four years. His third came Saturday on the 150-yard, par-3 eighth hole. The ace, although followed by a double-bogey 6, put Greenwood back in the hunt. He almost had a second hole-in-one when his tee shot hit the flag at No. 18.

Greenwood’s playing partners for today’s round are familiar with each other’s game. Starkman shot a 72 last Tuesday in a tournament at PGA West to finish a stroke behind May, the tournament winner.

“I played about as well as I can play, and he shot a 71,” Starkman said. But both said they can play better than have so far at the short, tight Braemar East Course.

“You should be able to score on this course,” May said. “You should be able to get a lot of birdies; there are a lot of short irons.”

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May is playing in only his first SCGA Amateur, but the former Los Altos High School star who is headed for Oklahoma State in the fall is hardly a stranger to pressure golf. May qualified for the L.A. Open at 15, has won the Junior Tournament of Champions in Georgia and last month finished runner-up in the California Amateur.


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