Official Optimistic Event's Sponsor Will Be Back

TIMES STAFF WRITER

There was little question about how Jim Colbert played in the Toshiba Senior Classic this weekend: He played well.

Questions linger, however, about how the tournament itself played at the Newport Beach Country Club.

Tournament officials were quick to praise everything from the course to the food to the volunteers. They were less specific about whether the tournament will net any profit.

"I think we will," said Bob Neely, whose company organized the tournament this year.

Neely committed to donating profits to Make a Wish, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and the National Dyslexia foundations. After the tournament, he said it would take at least a month to determine how much, if any, money the charities would receive.

Neely said the tournament already has committed to donate money to the golf programs at Orange Coast College and UC Irvine.

Sunday's attendance was announced as 28,500 bringing the three-day total to 63,500, which exceeded expectations by nearly 14,000, according to Neely.

"I think we've had a fantastic week in all respects," Neely said.

Whether the title sponsor, Toshiba's Irvine-based computer systems, agrees with Neely remains to be seen. Toshiba's original three-event, $3.2-million commitment ends next year.

"We're feeling very, very positive about doing this again," said Tom Scott, Toshiba vice president and general manager of the computer division.

Scott said he expects Toshiba will make a decision before the July deadline for renewal.

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Microcosm: The trio of Bob Eastwood, Hale Irwin and Bud Allin provided a tournament- within- a- tournament on the back nine Sunday.

After finishing the front nine tied at three-under par, they each made three birdies and a bogey to tie at five-under after the 11th hole.

That's when Eastwood, who won the 1976 Little Crosby on the Newport Beach course, began to make a run. He finished with a 64 for the day and a 10-under 203, good for second place behind Colbert.

Irwin gave chase, making birdies on the par-four, 370-yard 12th, the par-four, 397-yard 14th and the 15th to go eight-under. He slowed after that, however, making par on the next two holes. He missed a tantalizing, two-foot birdie putt on the 18th that rolled around the rim and made par. He finished with a final-round 66 and an eight-under 205, good for third place.

"I played very well but I didn't putt extremely well, as you could see," Irwin said.

Allin made a birdie on the 12th, then watched as the others pulled ahead. He made a bogey on the 17th before finishing at five-under 208. Although he was left in the wake of Eastwood and Irwin, he said he enjoyed the round.

"We've been friends for a lot of years," he said.

Allin, 51, Eastwood, 50, and Irwin, 50, have a combined 81 years in professional golf.

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Photo op: Tournament organizers might have liked to have seen Chi Chi Rodriguez tee off later in the day in front of big crowds and television cameras. But after shooting an 82 Saturday to finish at 11-over-par for the first two days, Rodriguez was relegated to a 7:45 a.m. tee time Sunday. Although the early-morning crowd was sparse, he didn't disappoint. In Rodriguez's typical, charismatic style, he kept the gallery chuckling with witty asides.

Especially grateful for Rodriguez's friendliness was fan Arthur Eichler, 74, who was watching from his wheelchair on the fairway on No. 10 when Rodriguez spotted him. Rodriguez ducked under the yellow rope and insisted on a taking a photo. Eichler, who was visiting from Memphis, said he was thrilled. "You better believe it," he said.

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Hole-by-Hole

Total for 77 posted scores at Newport Beach County Club:

*--*

Hole Par Avg. Birdies Pars Bogeys DB TB 1 4 4.000 14 52 10 0 1 2 4 4.130 5 58 13 1 0 3* 5 4.701 22 53 1 0 0 4 3 3.000 11 56 9 1 0 5 4 4.195 3 57 16 1 0 6 4 4.091 6 61 8 1 1 7 4 4.182 9 47 19 2 0 8 3 3.078 11 50 15 1 0 9 4 4.143 8 54 11 4 0 Out 35 35.519 89 488 102 11 2 10 4 4.026 11 53 13 0 0 11 4 3.766 26 43 8 0 0 12 4 3.909 16 52 9 0 0 13 3 2.974 14 52 10 1 0 14 4 3.987 13 53 10 1 0 15** 5 4.597 23 44 4 0 0 16 4 4.208 5 55 13 4 0 17 3 3.156 8 52 15 1 1 18 5 4.714 25 49 3 0 0 In 36 35.338 141 453 85 7 1 Total 71 70.857 230 941 187 18 3

*--*

* Totals do not include one eagle.

** Totals do not include six eagles.

DP Denotes double bogeys; TP Denotes triple bogeys

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