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GOLF : 400 in Field for State Amateur Qualifying May 15-16 in Chino

The road to Pebble Beach for the 79th California Amateur Championship will go through Los Serranos Country Club in Chino--as it has for the past 20 years--for golfers from Southern California.

A record 517 low-handicap golfers filed entries for the tournament from the southern half of the state, a number that the Southern California Golf Assn. had to pare to 400 to accommodate the two Los Serranos courses where qualifying will be held May 15-16.

On the first day, half the field will play the 7,110-yard, par-74 South Course, and the other 200 will play the 6,200-yard, par-71 North Course.

The fields will be cut to the low 50 and ties for the second round, with the players switching courses. After 36 holes, the low 43 will receive invitations to play June 25 at Cypress Point in the first round of the State Amateur. Actually, there will be 50 from Southern California, but there are seven exemptions. Another 50 from Northern California will complete the field.

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Paul Stankowski, the Southern California Amateur champion from Oxnard, heads the list of players who have exemptions. Others are Dave Stockton Jr. of Mentone, runner-up in last year’s State Amateur; Mark Johnson of Barstow, the SCGA Mid-Amateur champion, and the others who reached the quarterfinals last year--Jack Spradlin Jr. of San Diego, Pat Duncan of Rancho Santa Fe and Craig Steinberg of Van Nuys. Another spot will be held open for the NCAA champion, in case he is from Southern California, as was Phil Mickelson of La Jolla last year.

Bob Pastore, the SCGA senior champion from San Diego, also had an exemption but declined.

Defending champion is Casey Boyns of Pacific Grove, a caddy at Pebble Beach, who defeated Stockton, a USC student and son of former two-time PGA champion Dave Stockton, 3 and 1. The elder Stockton was recently named captain of the United States Ryder Cup team, which will meet a European team next year at Kiawah Island, S.C.

Players will find a number of minor changes on the North Course at Los Serranos, which is owned by former tennis star Jack Kramer. One they won’t find, however, is that No. 9 has been changed from a 217-yard par-3 to a 345-yard par-4.

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Officials of the SCGA ruled Friday that qualifying rounds would be played with the old hole, reasoning that the change would confuse players who had practiced under the par-3, par-71 format.

“No. 9 was a monster, especially when the wind was blowing,” said Kevin Sullivan, manager of the Los Serranos Golf Club courses. “It was a backbreaker that hardly anyone reached. Now, it is a much fairer hole and will give the course a par-72 rating. It isn’t long, but it has a two-level green and is well protected by three traps around the green and three more on the fairway.”

The State Amateur will conclude on June 29 with a 36-hole championship final at Pebble Beach.

The American Golf Club, a 50,000-member organization that is based in Santa Monica and has the largest membership of any golf club in the country, is planning its own national scrambles team championship.

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Qualifying tournaments will be held at the more than 100 courses operated by American Golf Corp. Included are Long Beach’s five municipal courses, Brookside in Pasadena, Camarillo Springs, Fullerton, Oceanside, Rancho San Joaquin in Irvine, Vista Valencia and Los Angeles County courses at La Mirada, Los Verdes and Mountain Meadows.

American Golf is also negotiating to take over operation of the Knollwood county course in Granada Hills.

Once the four-player teams are established, 13 regional tournaments will be held around the country. Southern Californians will play at Brookside, Oceanside or El Dorado in Long Beach. The finals will be Nov. 17-19 at the Painted Desert course in Las Vegas. Two teams will qualify from each regional tournament.

Players need not be American Golf Club members to participate in the event. Entry fees are $30 for members, $40 for non-members.

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Golf Notes

The late Alan Hale was a familiar figure at the Griffith Park courses for many years and was one of the municipal club’s most popular members. Friends of the former actor are planning a memorial tournament in his honor on May 17 at the nine-hole Roosevelt course. Hale, best known for his role as the skipper in Gilligan’s Island, died of cancer, and receipts will go toward cancer research, according to Tom Barber, Griffith Park professional and tournament chairman. For $15, players will get nine holes of scrambles golf, a clinic and a chance to reminisce about their old pal.

Security Pacific Bank has signed a three-year agreement with Centinela Hospital Medical Center to sponsor the Los Angeles Senior PGA tournament at Rancho Park. The $500,000 event will include a two-day pro-am Oct. 31-Nov. 1 to benefit the hospital’s Children’s Charity Fund, and a 54-hole tournament Nov. 2-4. . . . The Women’s SCGA will hold its 32nd annual Desert Championships Monday and Tuesday on the Bermuda Dunes, Eldorado, Tamarisk, Thunderbird and Vintage courses. . . . The 54-hole $50,000 Riverside County Open will begin Wednesday at Rancho California CC.

Entries will close Friday for the 67th Los Angeles City Women’s Championship May 22-24 at Rancho Park. Teri Melanson is defending champion. . . . Chris Tidland, the Valencia High golfer who won the L. A. City junior title, plans to enroll at Oklahoma State after graduating next month. . . . The U.S. National Senior Open Golf Assn. will hold its 20th annual spring championship May 15-17 at Mission Hills, Palm Valley and Monterey CC. John Kalinka of Honolulu is defending champion. . . . Clyde Thompson of Yorba Linda and Bob Lowe of Anaheim won the SoCal Left-Handed Golfers Assn. lefty-righty tournament at Green River. . . . The Bob Hope USO charity tournament will be played on May 14 at the Los Alamitos Naval Air Station course. . . . Millie Stanley successfully defended her Wilshire CC women’s championship with a 72-77-78-75--302.

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The number of golfers in the country has increased from 23.4 million to 24.7 million, a 5.6% jump, since 1988, according to the National Golf Foundation. However, the number of rounds played dropped from 487 million to 474 million. . . . Larry Gage, president of the Anchorage Golf Assn., writes to report that golfers in Alaska are now using the slope system for handicapping--leaving only Augusta National outside the fold.

The Spalding Invitational Pro-Am will return to the Monterey Peninsula in December after a one-year stay at Scottsdale, Ariz. Chairman Harold Firstman said the tournament, which includes pros from both the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour, will be played in December on the Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills courses.


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