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Big Canyon looks to continue Jones Cup success

Big Canyon team captain Robert Pang tries to will a birdie in the hole during the 21st annual Jones Cup.
Big Canyon team captain Robert Pang tries to will a birdie in the hole during the 21st annual Jones Cup community golf tournament at Mesa Verde Country Club last year.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Big Canyon Country Club was originally scheduled to host last year’s Jones Cup annual community golf tournament. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened, and the event was pushed back nearly three months.

Mesa Verde ended up hosting — and winning — the tournament, which pits five local country clubs against each other in a two best ball format.

Big Canyon is hosting the 22nd annual tournament in 2021, though, and hopes to regain bragging rights. The event tees off Thursday at noon and also features Newport Beach, Santa Ana and Shady Canyon country clubs.

Big Canyon, led by team captain Robert Pang, has been the most successful of any club in the tournament. The club goes for its 11th title this year and again features Pang, who was at the helm for four of its previous Jones Cup victories. Professional Chris Valeriano, men’s champion Taylor Wood, ladies champion Olivia Slutzky and senior men’s champion David Franey round out the team’s competitors.

Michael De Dios of Greenstripe Media, which coordinates the event, said Big Canyon may be especially motivated to win one last time for its club general manager David Voorhees, who is set to retire soon. Voorhees has been the general manager at Big Canyon since 1996.

Shady Canyon, which has won two previous Jones Cup titles, tees off first at noon. The team features captain Brian Gunson, men’s champion Eoin Middaugh, ladies champion Kelly Ly and senior men’s champion Charles Kavanaugh, with the professional spot to be determined.

Mesa Verde ladies pro Kim Izzi, right, is congratulated after sinking a birdie putt during last year's Jones Cup.
Mesa Verde ladies pro Kim Izzi, right, is congratulated by teammate and captain Heidi Wright-Tennyson after sinking a birdie putt during last year’s Jones Cup.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Captain Andrew Alderice leads Newport Beach Country Club, which also features professional Richard Mendoza, men’s champion Rich Thomas, ladies champion AiLam Newkirk and senior men’s champion George Schmidt. The club also aims for its third Jones Cup trophy.

Defending champion Mesa Verde is led by captain Heidi Wright-Tennyson, professional Mike Fergin, men’s champion Ryan Knapp, ladies champion Kim Izzi and senior men’s champion Eric Woods. Izzi got red-hot last year, sinking nine birdies and helping Mesa Verde win its seventh Jones Cup.

Santa Ana is the lone participating club that has never won the Jones Cup, but longtime team captain Geoff Cochrane hopes to change that this year. Professional Drew Buddle, men’s champion Ryan Dwight, ladies champion Diane Booth and senior men’s champion Boyd Martin round out the Santa Ana squad.

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