PAUMA VALLEY - The 35th annual SCGA Senior Amateur Championship kicked off Monday at Pauma Valley Country Club. After an exciting round of action, only two players managed to break par, paced by first-round leader Dave Delich of Colorado Springs.
The Pauma Valley member and 2008 and 2011 Colorado Senior Match Play Champion fired a first-round 3-under par 68 over the 6,700 yard layout to take a one-stroke lead over Ken Noonan of Pleasanton. Delich, who only plays Pauma Valley a few times a year, aced the par-3 12th hole en route to an opening nine of 34. Noonan, who got in as an alternate last week, had four birdies and two bogeys to put himself one back. Defending champion and reigning Senior Player of the Year Jeff Burda is part of a group of four players who shot even par 71, within striking distance of the leader. Seventeen players are within five shots of the lead and the championship is still very much up for grabs.
Click here for full results.
Reigning SCGA Senior Player of the Year Jeff Burda (pictured) looks to defend his title at the 35th SCGA Senior Amateur Championship, beginning Monday at Pauma Valley CC. Pauma Valley last hosted the Senior Amateur in 2005, with Scott Monroe winning by three strokes over Steven Hakes.
This year’s champion will be exempted into the 2013 SCGA Amateur Championship and 2013 SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship. The top-10 finishers will earn exemptions into this year’s CGA Senior Amateur Championship, to be held November 12-14 at Del Rio Country Club in Modesto, California.
There are seven past Senior Amateur Champions in the field, including Burda (2011), Howie Knodt (2009), Clark Heath (2008), Rich Tolly (2007), Steve Bogan (2004 & 2006), Scott Monroe (2005) and Ted Lyford (2000).
The feature pairing of round one will be the 8:50 a.m. group off tee #1 of defending champion Burda, 2009 Champion Knodt, 2007 Champion Tolly and defending CGA Senior Champion Mark Nickeas.
Pauma Valley Country Club, founded in 1960, is a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design that winds through the foothills of the Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County.
The club rests in the valley of the San Luis Rey River and was home to the “Duke” otherwise known as John Wayne. For this championship, Pauma Valley will play to a 6,678 yard par 71.
Key holes include: The par three, third, which at 187 yards has trouble all over the place in the forms of bunkers and water hazards. Holes four through six provide a demanding challenge of long par 4’s and will be a key stretch on the front nine. Players will not get much of a reprieve on the back nine as the 10th hole is a demanding uphill par 4 to a severely titled green front back to front. The championship can well be decided on the finishing hole, a downhill 447 yard bender to the right. Players will have to avoid the out of bounds left and thread a drive to a narrow fairway. Greg Casagranda and James Heath currently hold the course record of 63 on the par 71 layout.