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Irvine’s Jordan Nasser fired rounds of 71-69--140 to lead after the first two rounds of the 28th SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Mesa Verde Country Club. Nasser is leading Scott Almquist (71-70--141) by one stroke, and two back are first round leader Mark Miller (69-73--142) and Tyler Crawford (73-69—143). The course is playing to a par of 70 with hole #1 converted to a 450 yard par-4. The final round will start at 8 a.m. tomorrow with the final field cut to the low 42 players and ties.
Players were met with sunny skies and a golf course that was in absolute perfect condition. Superintendent Robert Gluck and his staff were complimented all day long from players on the conditions of the fairways and greens. The SCGA staff presented the players with a challenging mix of hole locations, changing the flag position between rounds to give the players a completely different set-up for each round.
Nasser, the 2006 California State Amateur Champion, had 5 birdies and 4 bogeys on his afternoon scorecard. After the round, Nasser commented on his play. “The pins were really difficult, but I was driving the ball well and keeping a lot of my approach shots below the hole," he said. "The course was absolutely perfect, if you hit a great putt it went in every time. I hoping to keep it going tomorrow by just hitting fairways and greens and hopefully get lucky.”
There are 11players within 4 strokes of the lead, including past champions Robert Funk, Brad Larsen and John McClure. With a lot of experienced players in the hunt, it could be anyone’s title to take tomorrow.
Mesa Verde CC is a Billy Bell designed layout which opened in 1959 and has hosted a number of professional tour events throughout the years. Winners of the five PGA tour events staged here include Billy Casper and “Champagne” Tony Lema, who had his first PGA Tour win at Mesa Verde. Playing to all points of the compass, each hole at Mesa Verde offers unique strategic challenges and requires the precise use of all 14 clubs. By virtue of its Kikuyu grass fairways and roughs, Mesa Verde plays significantly longer than its listed 6803 yards. Add to that the mature tree canopy that lines most fairways and the challenge soon becomes evident.
Key holes include: The par four, 5th, which can be stretched to 456 yards and plays to a small, well-guarded green. The long and challenging par five’s on the back side, 11 and 13, which both tip out at over 580 yards. The 13th can be especially demanding when played into the prevailing afternoon breeze. However, as anyone who has played at Mesa Verde before will attest, the culmination of the round at the par three 18th is what many remember Mesa Verde for. Listed at a manageable 204 yards from the back set of tees, this little monster, with OB left and water all down the right, has most players thinking about it long before they step on the tee. Par is an excellent score here. Alan Tapie and John Burkle share the current course record at 62.
ABOUT THE SCGA:
For more than 110 years, the SCGA has been the most trusted resource for Southland golfers. From the casual player to the devoted golfer, the SCGA administers the game of golf and makes the sport more enjoyable, on and off the course. As the principal ruling body for the game of amateur golf in Southern California, the SCGA provides a host of member services, including access to many of the region’s top courses. Among the other primary services offered, the SCGA measures courses and provides USGA Course and Slope Ratings; conducts Southern California’s major amateur golf championships; provides news and information on issues affecting golfers; sponsors the education of youth through golf; administers a computerized USGA Handicap System, and provides Rules of Golf education and assistance.
With a mission to lead, serve and advance amateur golf in Southern California, the SCGA keeps its 160,000 members and 1,200 clubs informed through various communication channels. Its recently redesigned Web site provides up-to-date association news and tournament results, and its member magazine reviews standout golf course restaurants, the latest apparel and accessories, and great golf travel destinations. The SCGA cares about the future of golf and supports the education and character development of Southern California youth.