NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Kris Hons' short game didn't desert him Wednesday while participating in the qualifying round of the inaugural Glendale City Golf Championship.
Despite lacking knowledge regarding the layout of Scholl Canyon Golf Course, Hons made a couple of key putts late in his 18-hole round to put him in the share of the lead in the tournament's championship flight with Ferdie Barbosa at one-under-par 59.
Hons and Barbosa were among a group of 16 from the championship flight to advance to the tournament's championship round, which will begin at noon Monday at Oakmont Country Club. In addition, eight participants from the Verdugo, Deukmejian and Brand flights advanced to the final round. Arica Rodriguez of Whittier captured the women's division flight title by 20 strokes with a five-over-par 65.
"I made a bunch of putts, which isn't always typical," said Hons, a former assistant professional at Oakmont Country Club from 2002-07. "Fortunately, I made enough putts to keep my round going.
"It's a short course. I felt pretty lucky be even through the 13th hole. My hardest hole was the 16th, which I birdied. Then I made putts on the 17th and 18th. I think it's going to take around an even par Monday to determine a winner because Oakmont is a very difficult course."
Like Hons, Barbosa, a Glendale resident, said he fared with his short game.
"I was able to get most of my shots near the pin, but I felt like my score could have been a little lower," Barbosa said. "I felt like I left a couple of shots just short of the hole."
James Hansen shot a 56 to take the lead in the Verdugo flight by seven strokes over Robert Burns. Bob Rountree, Alan Chien and Robert Bartshe each carded 61s to share the lead in the Brand flight.
Richard Dishongh notched a 56 to lead in the Deukmejian flight over Allen Black by three strokes.
Rodriguez, a junior at Whittier College, said she wasn't aware of the event until her father recently brought it to her attention.
"I'm just looking to play in tournaments," Rodriguez said. "I got my iron shots on the greens, which were kind of slow and bumpy.
"During my first few holes, I overshot the greens. It was hard for me to judge the distance on some of those first few holes, but my chipping got me back into it. It's great to win the championship, and I can see this tournament getting bigger."
The event, sponsored by Trusted Choice, is geared for amateurs with a maximum handicap index of 24. All proceeds will benefit the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Hons said he'd like to see the event grow.
"A lot of other cities have their own championships," Hons said. "It's good to see Glendale starting one, and it would be great if it can grow the next 20 years."