Santa Ana wants to break through

There are at least two well-known unprecedented feats associated with the Jones Cup.

No player has ever sank a hole-in-one to win a car from Fletcher Jones Motorcars.

Also, Sana Ana Country Club has yet to win a Jones Cup title.

The 25 golfers in the 13th annual event have two chances to win a car on the fourth and 17th holes.

Santa Ana's chances to win its first title appear to have dwindled on one hand, yet improve in another view.

The Jones Cup, which pits local country clubs vying for bragging rights and a trophy, has added another team, as Shady Canyon of Irvine joins Big Canyon, Mesa Verde, Sana Ana and host Newport Beach Country Club Wednesday, with first tee set for 12:30 p.m.

"I think it's great to add another local club to the mix," said Geoff Cochrane, the head professional at Santa Ana and the team captain. "We're trying to win our first one, so now it's a fourth a team we're trying to beat. But I think it's great to have [Shady Canyon]."

On the other hand, Santa Ana has a great chance to make history when you consider the Jones Cup returns to Newport Beach Country Club. The last time the event was played there, in 2008, Santa Ana nearly won, losing in a three-team playoff.

"We've been close to winning it several times," said Chris Veitch, one of three Santa Ana team members who played for SACC in the 2008 edition. "The fact that we got into a playoff the last time we played there I think our chances are pretty good. We have basically the same team put together from four years ago. Our chances should be as good as ever. It would be really nice to break through and win one of these things."

Veitch, 58, won his third men's senior championship at SACC back in November. He last played in the Jones Cup in 2009 when it was at Santa Ana Country Club. That's when he was captured in a photo that could best describe Santa Ana in the Jones Cup. Veitch was hunched over in disappointment after missing a putt.

But Veitch, who works in property management and real estate investment, believes Santa Ana can break through this year. He returns from that 2008 team, as does Cochrane and Liz Slater, a four-time women's club champion at Santa Ana.

Slater is familiar with the Jones Cup and she also knows the Big Canyon's women's champ quite well. Last week, Slater teamed up with Lisa Brennan to win the low-gross title (76-77-153) at the Ladies Balboa Tournament at Big Canyon.

Slater is hoping her husband, Ed, can bring her some good luck in the Jones Cup. He'll be her caddy during the 18 holes.

Nick Kumpis, a pro at Santa Ana, is also on this year's team, as is Rick Herrera.

The men's champion at Santa Ana is yet to be determined, but Herrera was the low qualifier from the 36-hole men's club championship qualifier on Sunday.

Herrera won men's club titles in 1996, 1997 and 2006. Now he's hoping to help bring a Jones Cup title to Santa Ana this year.

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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