Manley, Shady Canyon now know what to expect

Kirk Manley says he hasn't seen his golf clubs as much as he would like. That might be hard to believe coming from a head professional like Manley, who works at Shady Canyon Golf Club in Irvine.

Nevertheless, Manley is telling the truth. He said with Shady Canyon's closure the last 4 1/2 months, as the club resurfaced the course's greens, it has been hard to find time to play.

The club, Manley said, reopens on July 3. A week before then, Manley and four members from Shady Canyon will play a round of golf on a different course.

Manley will break out his clubs for the 14th annual Jones Cup at Santa Ana Country Club on Wednesday. The Jones Cup tees off at 12:30 p.m. and features the five local country clubs, Big Canyon, Mesa Verde, Newport Beach, Santa Ana and Shady Canyon.

Shady Canyon returns to the 18-hole, two-best-ball format tournament for the second straight year. Each team is comprised of the head pro, assistant pro, men's champion, women's champion and senior men's champion.

Shady Canyon brings back director of golf Brian Gunson, men's champ Kevin Baker and senior men's champ David Clare. The only player who's not back is Isako Takada, the women's champ. Manley said Takada was unavailable to compete, so Robyn Puckett took her spot.

"It will be Robyn's first time at the Jones Cup," said Manley, who isn't worried about her.

Puckett, who's from Australia, has competed as a professional. She's an amateur now, having won the Australian Women's Senior Amateur Championship in 2011 and '10.

Manley hopes Puckett can help Shady Canyon improve on last year's fourth-place finish.

"We didn't fare as well as we would've liked to have," Manley said of Shady Canyon's debut in the Jones Cup. "It's good camaraderie and a little competitive. The first time we didn't know what to expect. It was our first time. We are a little bit better prepared this time, more knowledgeable."

Manley said many of his teammates have played at Santa Ana in the past. They will get a practice round on Tuesday to reacquaint themselves with the course.

Big Canyon has won the Jones Cup the past two years, eight times overall. Mesa Verde has finished first four times and Newport Beach once.

"We want to bring the cup home," said Manley, whose club, like Santa Ana, has never claimed the trophy and the bragging rights that come with it.

"We haven't played golf as much as we would like. That's the challenge. We've been working during the closure. Once the event starts, the competitive juices will flow."

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