This event is limited to players with handicap indexes of 10.4 and below and are age 55 and above. Competitors compete in 18 holes of qualifying play in order to determine those that will advance to the championship. 90 players advance to play 36 holes of stroke play over two days to determine the Association’s Senior Amateur Champion.
David Delich was in trouble. On the second hole of a three-hole playoff to decide the 35th SCGA Senior Amateur Championship, the Pauma Valley CC member hooked his tee shot way left of the bunkers that sit left of the fairway. The ball of his opponent, defending champion Jeff Burda, lay in the perfect location. In between Delich's ball and the flagstick were a number of trees, and it looked like the home-club guy would surely lose the hole.
Instead, he won it. Delich punched the ball through the trees, the type of shot that according to him "only lands on the green one out of every six times," and the ball came to rest at the back of the green, about 40 feet from the hole. With Burda's ball eight feet from the cup, things still didn't look great for the Colorado Springs resident, who has owned a home in Southern California for almost 20 years. But getting to play first, Delich surely put the pressure on Burda by draining his 40-foot putt and hearing quite the applause from his fellow Pauma Valley CC members, who had gathered to cheer on their man. Possibly rattled by Delich's heroics, Burda missed his putt. The two both parred the par-3 third hole, declaring Delich the winner of his first SCGA Championship.
"It means a lot to win this," said Delich. "This was the first time I was eligible for this tournament, and I hadn't played in an SCGA event in awhile. Certain things went my way today. It could have just as easily been Jeff who won. But it feels great."
Burda, who has won a number of both SCGA and NCGA Championships, was not without chances Tuesday. He missed a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation, and another six-footer on the final hole of the three hole aggregate playoff that would have forced the competition to continue. Burda had an impressive round durin regulation, carding a 1-under par 70, tying him for the highest score of the day.
Delich, however, had built a large enough lead Monday to survive somewhat of a rough second round. The eventual champion was 5-over par through his first nine holes Tuesday, including a double-bogey, three bogeys and no birdies. He turned it around after the turn, though, to shoot a second-round score of 73.
Delich also led the field after the first day of play, shooting a 3-under par 68 that was highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par 3 12th.
The top 10 finishers earned exemptions into both the 2012 CGA Senior Championship as well as the 2013 SCGA Senior Championship.