COSTA MESA - Most people knew there was something special about
Mark O'Meara's golf game when he played in the Will Jordan Classic in
1979 at Costa Mesa Golf & Country Club.
O'Meara, then of Mission Viejo and now a star on the PGA Tour, won the
U.S. Amateur championship a week earlier in Cleveland, Ohio, defeating
John Cook in the final, 8 and 7, before arriving in Costa Mesa.
The late Joe Costello, who founded the popular Will Jordan Classic --
now officially the Costa Mesa City Championship -- in 1973 when he was president of the Costa Mesa men's club, considered O'Meara's victory here
in '79 as one of the championship's greatest moments.
"(O'Meara) drove all the way from Cleveland to Costa Mesa to play in
this tournament," Costello once said. "That's how important this
tournament was to O'Meara."
In 1979, O'Meara and Brad Greer squared off in a two-hole playoff,
before O'Meara won, and, shortly thereafter, turned pro. O'Meara won the
Masters and British Open in 1998.
But O'Meara isn't the only former Costa Mesa city champion to achieve
a legacy in golf.
In 1974, the second year of the Will Jordan Classic, then-USC standout
Scott Simpson won at Costa Mesa, defeating, of all people, his father,
Joe, on the 18th hole with a 45-yard wedge shot to within four feet of
Simpson, who sank the four-footer to win that year, won the 1987 U.S.
One of the more recent Costa Mesa city champions, Bryan Saltus
(Newport Harbor High), could be the next one to make it big. The 1995 and
'96 Costa Mesa champion qualified for the Canadian Tour this summer,
finishing tied for fifth out of 140 players in a qualifier at Kamloops,
Saltus, 30, won the San Francisco Open and a $20,000 first-place check
in early May, after taking third at the Tommy Bahama Newport Beach Open
in April at Newport Beach Country Club.
In the three-round San Francisco Open at Palo Alto Municipal Golf
Club, Saltus shot a blazing 67-68-65--200, tying a course record on the
final day and winning by four shots.
The former Big Canyon Country Club caddie, whose home course is Costa
Mesa Golf & Country Club (Los Lagos Course), is sponsoring himself on the
As for this year's 29th annual Costa Mesa City Championship Aug. 4-5
-- the July 20 entry deadline has been extended two days with the field
limited to the first 320 players -- Scott Osterhout of Huntington Beach
will try to defend his title.
Osterhout won the Costa Mesa City Championship last year, beating Eric
Wang of Cypress in a three-hole playoff, after they both shot 142 in two
rounds (one round each at the Los Lagos and Mesa Linda courses).
The event, which has been played every year by its inaugural winner of
1973, Jim George (Estancia High), features $10,000 in prizes and five
flights, including a senior division. The lowest handicap index for the
past year will be used and a $175 entry fee is charged, which includes
greens fees for both days, tee prizes, awards and a barbecue both days.
For more information on this year's championship, visit the pro shop
or call (714) 540-7500, ext. 3 or 108.
In the 29th annual Santa Ana Country Club Junior Golf Invitational,
Michael Tran of Rancho Santa Margarita won the overall championship
Monday with a 2-under-par 70, while SACC member Steve Harwood won the
16-17 age group, shooting 74 and winning in a three-way playoff on the
first extra hole.
C.J. Vuytowecz of Pauma Valley won the 14-15 age group with an
even-par 72, while Rory Hie captured the 12-13 age group with a 74 from
the back tees.
Daniel Kush (Newport Harbor), John Hoppe (SACC), David Kendall (SACC),
Garrett Whitfield (Newport Harbor), Brad Chamberlin (Corona del Mar
High), Piper Miller (SACC), Robert Chase (Big Canyon Country Club), Scott
Travers (SACC) and Tim Frohling (Newport Beach Country Club) also played
in the prestigious junior event.
Officials of the Hyundai Team Matches, played at Pelican Hill Golf
Club in Newport Coast the past two years, have found a new home for the
December silly-season made-for-television event: The Monarch Beach Golf
Links in Dana Point.
The Irvine Co., which owns Pelican Hill, declined an offer to host the
tournament again this year, forcing officials to search for another
"We are thrilled about the new partnership with the new St. Regis
Monarch Resort & Spa (adjacent to Monarch Beach)," said Terry Jastrow,
president of Gaylord Event Television, which produces the event.