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GOLF / THOMAS BONK : Allin Goes From Once-a-Month to an Exemption on Senior Tour

Buddy Allin of Santa Barbara will play in the FHP Health Care Classic, March 3-5, at the Ojai Valley Inn, which means he won’t have far to drive.

Allin, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, is a former head club pro at Saticoy Country Club in Camarillo. He qualified for the Senior PGA Tour when he finished third in the tour’s qualifying tournament in November.

“That was the hardest golf I’ve ever played in my life,” he said. “There was a lot at stake in that tournament. The exemption is only for one year, and if you goof, you’re out for a year. That’s a lot of pressure.”

Allin, who turned 50 on Oct. 13, played the last regular event of the year at the Kaanapali Classic and tied for 57th. He won $1,100. Three weeks later came the qualifying tournament and a year’s exemption.

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“The last 14 years, I’ve been a once-a-month golfer,” he said. “Now, I have a second chance at a golf career on the Senior PGA Tour, and I plan on making the most of it.”

He played at BYU with Johnny Miller, but left after 2 1/2 years for a tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam.

In 16 months in Vietnam, Allin served as a fire detection officer, as a forward observer and as a lieutenant. He won a Bronze Medal and an Air Medal and became a golfer again in 1970 after completing three years of service.

He earned his PGA Tour card in his first try in the fall of 1970, and he won the Greater Greensboro Open the next year. Allin’s best year was in 1974, when he won twice and finished ninth on the money list.

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He quit in 1981 after separate bouts with leg cancer, believed to be a result of Agent Orange bombings in Vietnam. He put the clubs away for the most part, but he watched the Senior PGA Tour take off and thought about picking them up again.

He is certain he made the right decision.

“They are playing for so much money now and there is so much at stake, I would have been crazy not to do it,” he said. “I don’t have any specific goals for 1995. If I win, that’s great, but I really want to prove that I can still compete.”

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It’s on Channel Fore: From Gary Van Sickle in Golf World about the new cable channel, The Golf Channel:

“Real men don’t ask for directions. They watch The Golf Channel. (We will, at least, until The Power Tool Channel, The Deer Hunting Channel and The War Movie Channel come on line. That’s why we have the multiscreen option on our remotes.)”

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A new crop of shoes: Robert Landers, the 51-year-old Texas farmer who qualified to play the Senior PGA Tour, said he will put away his standard jeans to comply with the tour’s dress code. But he still plans to play in sneakers.

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“I’m going to carry two or three pair of tennis shoes and a pair of golf shoes with me,” Landers told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’ll play in the tennis shoes unless I find a course where I need to wear golf shoes.”

He doesn’t have any equipment endorsements, but he does have a hat deal with Dickies Workwear.

“I never imagined I’d be representing them on the Senior PGA Tour,” he said.

Maybe the reason is that he used to sell Dickies’ merchandise when he worked for Mitchell’s department store in Azle in North Texas.

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Good field a hit: Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazabal and John Daly aren’t a bad place to start for the field of the Nissan (L.A.) Open at Riviera Feb. 23-26. All three have committed to play. Corey Pavin tries to defend his title.

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Golf Notes

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Mac O’Grady and Steve Pate will hold a golf clinic at Coto de Caza at 10:30 a.m. Friday. The event benefits Trabuco Canyon High’s golf team. Details: 714-858-4100 . . . Ken Venturi, who won the 1959 Los Angeles Open at Rancho Park, will be the former champion honored at the Nissan Open. Venturi, the 1964 U.S. Open champion, will be a CBS-TV commentator for the tournament at Riviera . . . Tony Jacklin will play the FHP Health Care Classic at Ojai. He played 14 events last year, his first on the Senior PGA Tour . . . The Pasadena Police Department’s Athletic Assn. and Foothill Area Community Services are sponsoring a charity tournament Friday at Brookside golf course in Pasadena. Details: (818) 578-0705 . . . The 10th NutraSweet golf and tennis classic will be held March 20 at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana. Competitors team with and against sports personalities and celebrities. The event benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Details: (310) 842-6742.


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