GLENDALE – Chris Russo wasn’t aware the Glendale City Golf Championship existed and had made just one prior appearance to Oakmont Country Club to watch a friend take part in a United States Open men’s qualifying round.
After a former teammate on the Cal State Northridge men’s golf team called to inform Russo about the event nearly a month ago, Russo was persuaded to participate in the championship.
That decision proved a wise choice for the Thousand Oaks resident.
Russo carded a one-over-par 72 on Monday to win the tournament’s championship flight by one stroke over Keith Kinsel of Glendale.
“It’s a cool course and the first time I’ve played here,” said Russo, a senior on the Arizona State men’s golf team, who parred the par-five 18th hole to clinch the victory. “I got here early [Monday] and played a practice round.
“I made some putts, and I was hitting the ball well enough to where I didn’t get in trouble. I had a lot of fun and am glad to win.”
Russo opened the tournament Thursday with a one-under-par 59 in the qualifying round at Scholl Canyon Golf Course.
He entered Monday’s round two strokes off the lead behind Lewis Simon and Nick Sarian, who alerted Russo about the competition.
Kinsel, the reigning club champion at Oakmont, fired a 70 to finish at 128.
Kinsel, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, opened with a 62 at Scholl and appeared to not make the cut. However, Kinsel was the first alternate and joined the field of 16 in the flight after one of the players who made the cut backed out because of an injury.
Kinsel made a late bid at the title, but couldn’t overcome Russo.
“I played good at 70, and it’s a difficult course to play,” said Kinsel, who parred the final hole. “I was really impressed with the field.
“It’s great to be a part of this event in the early stages. Hopefully, it will continue to grow.”
Glendale resident Jerry Butt took the Deukmejian flight for the second straight year, carding a four-under-68 to top Se Chavez by six strokes.
Butt entered the final round in a four-way tie for first place and finished with a two-round total of 128.
Bill Ree captured the Verdugo flight. Ree finished at two-over-par 74 to win by four strokes over Clifton Tucker and James Hansen, who began the round tied for first with a 56. Tucker opened with a 64.
In the Brand flight, Malik Basurto defeated Robert Burns and Boz Crowther by one stroke. Basurto shot a three-over-par 75 to finish his two-round score at 137.
Brittany Branker of Mission Viejo captured the women's division flight Thursday at Scholl after shooting a 12-over-par 72.
All proceeds benefited the Glendale Parks and Open Space Foundation, a non-profit organization.
The event was sponsored by Trusted Choice.