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Rain and Duncan Reign Again in Amateur Golf

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It likely won’t go down as his most memorable, but Pat Duncan will take the victory. Duncan was declared the winner of the 58th San Diego Men’s Amateur Golf Championship after the fourth and final round at Torrey Pines south was cancelled because of rain.

It marked the second consecutive day that Tropical Depression Boris cut short the scheduled four-round, 72-hole event, which was pronounced final after 36 holes. Duncan, of Rancho Santa Fe, was awarded the victory because he led a field of 83 golfers in the championship flight after the first two rounds, played June 2-3.

While the 1990 results will go into the books with an asterisk, few will likely question the outcome. The victory is Duncan’s fourth San Diego Amateur title in a row, a tournament record. The 34-year-old has won the event five times, another record.

“I wish I could have played, but it wasn’t to be,” said Duncan, who was one of an estimated 40 players who decided to show up at Torrey Pines Sunday. “I was ready to play. I was playing real good (Saturday). I was ready to spend all day (to try and complete the third round at Balboa), but it’s still nice to win.”

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Duncan had completed the first two rounds four shots under par at 140 and led Rancho Bernardo’s John Earle by two strokes. He was playing at three-under par through 11 holes Saturday, but at 9:15 a.m. play was suspended and the third round cancelled because of sporadic showers and lightning at Balboa Park Golf Course.

By 11 a.m. Saturday the skies had become partly cloudy and the rain had stopped. Tournament Director John Walter, who manages the grounds at Torrey Pines, the site of Sunday’s final round, said the course would be playable with no subsequent downpour.

But the rains, which dropped .38 of an inch on San Diego Saturday, resumed around 1 a.m. Sunday and added one-fourth of an inch between 2 and 3 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. At 4 a.m., three hours before the scheduled tee-off, Walter declared Torrey Pines unfit for play.

Duncan opened the tournament with a one-under-par 71 at Torrey Pines South and trailed 23-year-old Rick Lindemann, a senior at San Diego State who had recorded a 69. But in the second round at Torrey Pines North, Lindemann slipped into a fourth-place tie when he finished at four-over-par 76. Duncan, meanwhile, came back with a 69 to take the two stroke lead that gave him his fifth title since 1984.

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Earle, 28, shot rounds of 72 and 70 to finish second at 142. John Lovett finished third at 144, while Lindemann, Jon Erickson and Craig Anderson wound up tied for fourth at 145.

After Saturday’s round was halted, Duncan, his clothes soaked from the rain, sat in the clubhouse coffee shop at Balboa and said jokingly, “Hopefully, we’ll get cancelled tomorrow.”

But nobody was hungrier to play than this full-time landscape contractor who calls himself “a Sunday golfer.” Earlier in the week, Duncan played in the Sectional Qualifier to the PGA U.S. Open at San Francisco Golf Club. He bogeyed his final two holes in the 36-hole event and missed the cut by two strokes at 148.

By Saturday, he had put the disappointment behind him. After all, he was the three-time defending champion of San Diego’s biggest amateur tournament, and on his way to making it four in a row.

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As it turned out, nothing could put a damper on that. Not even the rain.


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