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2015 Amateur Net crowns its champions

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What started with more than 850 hopefuls ended with four champions, as the 2015 SCGA Amateur Net Championship concluded at Industry Hills GC at Pacific Palms Resort. Both the Ike and Babe courses were used for the two-day tournament, hosting 180 players who had already made it through 18 holes of qualifying to earn a spot in the SCGA's premier net championship. The championship field is divided into four flights of different handicap levels.

Bobby Jones Flight

J.P. Iriart of El Prado Men's GC took the win in the Bobby Jones Flight, putting together rounds of net 71 and net 68 for a two-day total of 4-under-par. Iriart managed to edge out Chris Carlson of Bear Creek GC by two strokes to win his first SCGA Championship.

"I played very conservatively both days," said Iriart. "I've had a number of disasters here over the last few years playing both of these golf courses, so essentially I hit a lot of hybrids off the tee and just tried to grind it out."

The win came in Iriart's second time playing in the SCGA Amateur Net Championship, having earned a sixth place finish a few years ago.

"Finishing just out of the Top 5 the last time was kind of a motivator for me to come back and try to get in the Top 5 and even win it," he said.

Carlos Hernandez of Rio Hondo Men's Club was the only other competitor to shoot under par, with a two-day total of 1-under. Rounding out the Top 5 was Dale Foley of Upland Hills CC in fourth place and James Meyer in fifth place.

Jack Nicklaus Flight

The Jack Nicklaus Flight, where competitors played the Babe Course Monday followed by the Ike Course Tuesday, was won by Curtis Lew of Screaming Eagles GC. Lew managed net scores of 66 and 68 to beat the rest of the field by six strokes at 9-under-par.

Earning a second place finish was Aaron Marsh of Upland Hills CC, whose rounds of 71 and 69 earned him second place at 3-under-par. Carmelo Valdivia of Toluca Lake Men's GC finished in third place, Dennis Boyd of Almansor Men's GC finished in fourth and Ivan Castillo of Industry Hills GC took advantage of his home course familiarity to earn a fifth place finish.

Arnold Palmer Flight

Angelo Cofino of Skylinks Men's GC waited 12 years for this, but it finally happened again, as the SCGA member who also won the SCGA Amateur Net Championship back in 2003 won it again in 2015. For Cofino, the win is a long time coming.

"Since I won the Championship in 2003, I've actually missed qualifying every year since until this year," said Cofino. "I was finally able to make it again and it worked out."

Cofino shot net 72 on the Ike Course on Day 1 before following that up with a final round score of net 67 on the Babe Course.

"The first day I struggled a lot," said Cofino. "I couldn't keep my ball in play. Today I kept the ball in play and hit 14 greens in regulation. I putted and chipped well too and that was enough."

He was able to earn the victory by edging out Albert Lopez of Pacific Coast GC, who finished just one shot behind. Ono Molina of LA County GC finished third with Ron Fernandez of Sunset Hills CC and Mike Swain of San Diego Defense Industry GC finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

Ben Hogan Flight

Mike Haley of Lumberjacks GC won the Ben Hogan Flight, carding net 69 on Monday and net 66 on the Babe Course on Tuesday to finish at 8-under-par, two ahead of Bill Ree of Brookside Men's GC.

"There were ups and downs in my place," said Haley, a first-time SCGA Amateur Net Championship participant. "I made some shots and hopefully they end up where I aim them."

Garrett Calhoun of San Gabriel CC finished in third place, four shots off the lead, while Marcelo Bernardo of San Juan Hills GC finished fourth. Don Slayton of Ventura Men's GC rounded out the Top 5.

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