A companion can keep a golfer from talking to himself like some sort of lunatic. And when the companion is the golfer's mother or 12-year-old son, a semblance of decorum is evident even in the most trying of times.
Without the company, Tim Hogarth and Craig Steinberg might have come totally unglued Friday in the first two rounds of the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship at Industry Hills Golf Club.
Both players began the tournament with a chance to make history, but Steinberg is a longshot to win and Hogarth didn't make the cut for the third round today.
Steinberg, a lawyer and optometrist from Van Nuys who shared a cart with his son, Ryan, is five shots off the lead at 73-75--148.
Hogarth, a former Cal State Northridge All-American who was accompanied by his mother, Betty, finished at 78-78--156.
Scott McGihon of Bermuda Dunes, who shot 69-74, and 17-year-old Steve Conway of Dove Canyon, who totaled 73-70, share the lead at 143, and 12 players are ahead of Steinberg.
John Pate of Santa Barbara is at 70-74--144.
Others from the region making the cut were David Johnson of Palmdale at 76-75--151, Derek Patao of Sherman Oaks at 78-74--152, Ryan Fowlkes of Woodland Hills at 73-81--154 and Brandon DiTullio of Thousand Oaks at 77-77--54.
Hogarth, 33, was attempting to become the first player since 1942 to win the California Amateur and SCGA Amateur tournaments in the same year.
The Alemany High product, who lives in Chatsworth, won the state amateur three weeks ago at Pebble Beach Golf Links and won five of his previous seven tournaments.
"I wanted to play well," said Hogarth, who skipped the SCGA championship the last two years. "I wanted to give this tournament my full effort, but I rarely play this course and I was trying a new driver, which was a mistake."
It was his second mistake in recent days. Hogarth neglected to mail in his entry form to the U.S. Public Links tournament and was unable to play.
He struggled all day on the Eisenhower and Zaharias courses at Industry Hills.
"I was feeling a little depressed because of the Public Links oversight," he said. "Now, I'll be spending the rest of the weekend with a drink by the pool."
Although the weather was milder than anticipated, both courses at Industry Hills were unforgiving. The narrow fairways are crowded with trees and the rough is ankle deep in fallen leaves and debris.
"The greens held better than I expected, but you pay for any mistake on either course," said Steinberg, 41, who is trying to become the second player to win the SCGA title five times.
He won the championship in 1988, '91, '92 and '97 to approach the record of five titles set by Paul Hunter from 1908 to 1926.
"I'd love to get it," Steinberg said. "It's a matter of having a chance on the last day."
Despite digging himself a hole, Steinberg is not conceding anything. The tournament continues today on the Zaharias course, which Steinberg believes is the more difficult.
The final round Sunday is on the Eisenhower course, which is 180 yards longer but less narrow.
"Anyone who makes the cut has a chance to win," he said. "If I'm within five or six shots, that's nothing on these courses."
Steinberg shot 73 in the morning on the Eisenhower course and was one over par after the first nine holes on the Zaharias course before unraveling. He double-bogeyed the 10th hole after hooking his first two shots into trees.
At least Steinberg spent quality time with his son. Nothing brings a family together like hard times.
"The cart was threatening to become a cuss house," Ryan Steinberg said, smiling. "But, really, my dad doesn't cuss much."
Give him two more days.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
100th SCGA AMATEUR
Industry Hills Golf Club
Scott McGihon, Bermuda Dunes: 69-74--143
Steven Conway, Dove Canyon: 73-70--143
John Pate, Santa Barbara: 70-74--144
John Mallinger, Escondido: 69-76--145
James Camaione, Upland: 75-70--145
Mark Etue, Carlsbad: 70-76--146
James Popoff, Whittier: 71-75--146
Ryan Nomura, Carpinteria: 75-71--146
Greg Padilla, Rancho Santa Fe: 75-71--146
Eddy Lee, Corona: 69-78--147
Craig Steinberg, Van Nuys: 73-75--148
David Johnson, Palmdale: 76-75--151
Derek Patao, Sherman Oaks: 78-74--152
Brandon DiTullio, Thousand Oaks: 77-77--154
Nonqualifiers from area:
Tim Hogarth, Northridge: 78-78--156
Jason Winter, Oxnard: 76-81--157
Mark Savage, Newhall: 76-82--158
Keith Kinsel, Glendale: 80-78--158
Chris Etue, Chatsworth: 77-82--159
Gary Grimes, Palmdale: 78-81--159
Steve White, Glendale: 80-81--161
Mitchell Brown, Woodland Hills: 85-77--162
Bob Frishette, Burbank: 82-81--163
Andy Brisbois, La Canada: 84-79--163