2010 Championship Recap and Past Winners
The SCGA Amateur is one of the nation’s oldest continuously contested amateur golf championships. The first SCGA Amateur was held less than one year after the Southern California Golf Association was formed on July 29, 1899. Only the Utah Amateur, begun in 1899, has a longer consecutive string (the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur both predate the SCGA Amateur, but both USGA events were suspended during war years).
A match play format was used for the first 58 years of the tournament. In 1957, the format was changed to 72 holes of stroke play. In 1973, increasing interest and the number of entries resulted in regional qualifying with a 36-hole finale. The 72-hole stroke play format was reinstituted in 1974. In addition to the championship itself, for many years the tournament also had net competition in flights. However, due to the increasing popularity of this portion of the tournament, a separate SCGA Amateur Net Championship was created in 1993.
The list of SCGA Amateur champions includes many of the legendary names of golf. Charles E. Orr, who won the first title with a 6 and 4 win over SCGA President Charles Maud, was described as a “crack player from the Pasadena Country Club.” Another Pasadena resident, Dr. Paul Hunter, won a record five SCGA Amateur titles from 1912 to 1929. In 1925, George Von Elm (pictured right) became the only player ever to win the SCGA Amateur, Northern California GA Amateur and California Amateur in the same year (a year later, he became the first Southern Californian to win the U.S. Amateur).
In 1933, another legendary amateur, Charles Seaver (who was also the father of baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver), won the California and Northern California GA Amateur. When he won the SCGA Amateur in 1934, he held all three titles at the same time for a few weeks; only Von Elm has equaled that feat.
The ‘40s were a golden age of golf in Southern California, with the likes of Johnny Dawson, Bobby Gardner and Bruce McCormick — all eventual Walker Cuppers — capturing SCGA Amateur titles. Notable winners in the 1950s included future PGA Champion Al Geiberger (in 1956 and 1959) and car dealer Fletcher Jones, while future PGA Tour members Barry Jaeckel, John Jacobs, Mark Pfeil, Tony Sills, Jeff Hart, Greg Twiggs, Dave Sheff, David Hobby, Paul Stankowski, Todd Demsey, Charlie Wi and John Merrick have won in subsequent decades. Among those who have tried to win the SCGA Amateur and failed are Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson, Corey Pavin, Mark O’Meara, Phil Mickelson, Duffy Waldorf and Jason Gore.
In recent years, Craig Steinberg has won four SCGA Amateur titles (1988, 1991, 1992, 1997), just the third person to accomplish that feat, joining Dawson, who won four times, and Hunter, who won five titles. Scott McGihon joined the list of three-time winners when he won back-to-back titles in 2005-06, in addition to his 2000 win. In 1994, Tiger Woods (pictured left), the most celebrated golfer of the current generation, won the SCGA Amateur at Hacienda GC, setting a four-round scoring record of 270, helped in large measure by a single-round record 62 in the third round. Woods scoring record held up until last year when Scott Travers finished the championship in a record setting 16 under par.