Amateur Net Championship returns to Industry Hills
After a one year absence from the venue, the SCGA knew it had to return to Industry Hills GC at Pacific Palms Resort for the 2014 Amateur Net Championship, as the 36-hole facility that has now hosted the event six times always makes such a great host. It was no different this year, as both the Ike and Babe courses were used for the two-day tournament, hosting 183 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
The Bobby Jones flight was won by Carlos Hernandez, who also won this event and flight back in 2009. Hernandez, a Rio Hondo GC member, used rounds of net 65 and net 71 to best the rest of the 45-person field by six strokes. Hernandez finished his two rounds with a net score of 7-under-par, with Sunny Bhullar of Los Robles Greens GC finishing as the only other competitor in the flight under par.
"It feels great," said Hernandez. "Competing against such great players, it really feels wonderful to win. In the last six months I haven't been playing a lot because my dad passed away, but I came back recently to participate in team play with my club and played well there. That's really what got me ready for this week."
Sid Melero of Balboa Park GC came in third place, with David Macias of Golf Southern Cal Club and Robert Cicero of Anaheim Hills GC rounding out the top 5.
Jack Nicklaus Flight
SCGA committeeman Bob Osborn Jr. picked up his first SCGA championship, winning the Jack Nicklaus flight of the 2014 SCGA Amateur Net Championship with a two-day net score of 2-under-par. Osborn used rounds of 65 and 76 to beat his 45-player field by two strokes.
"It feels really satisfying," said Osborn, a member of The Navy GC. "I haven't played a whole lot of golf lately so I'm very thankful to hang on today and win. Yesterday was great, today was a little ugly. The SCGA does such a great job on these tournaments, though, so to be able to be a champion of an SCGA event is just great."
Osborn was followed by Richard Messer of Canyon Lake T GC, Chris Chen on Hi Caps Golf Club, Harry Bobbitt of Brookside GC and Gary Dorris of San Juan Hills Golf Club, who all finished at even par two strokes behind the champion.
Arnold Palmer Flight
Playing in his first-ever tournament, James Kim, a member of the SCGA through Roger Dunn Mission Viejo, defeated his 46-person field to win the Arnold Palmer flight. Kim put together rounds of 73 and 63 to earn the championship.
"This is amazing, I just can't believe it," said Kim. "I really grinded it out. I wasn't playing great, but was able to have enough pars to stay in there."
Kim finished the two-day event with a total net score of 7-under-par, tying Gordon Wilson of the LA City Firefighters club. The tie was broken using the USGA method of matching score cards, using holes 10-18 from each competitor's second round, where luckily for Kim, his putter caught fire.
"I don't know what happened, it was just amazing," said Kim of his final nine holes. "Yesterday I couldn't make a putt and today I just figured something out."
Wilson was awarded second place, while Mitchel Stanton of North Ranch CC finished one stroke behind to capture third place. Mike Walker of Roger Dunn Santa Ana and Said Khatib of Black Gold GC finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.
To make matters even better for Kim, he won the Arnold Palmer flight of the Amateur Net Championship using a Callaway Speed Regime ball, winning a promotion offered by Callaway and the SCGA for this event. Each competitor was given a free dozen golf balls courtesy of Callaway, and any participant who won the event using the ball would automatically win a year's supply of Sped Regime golf balls as well as a Callaway Club Fitting.
"The balls were extremely responsive," said Kim. "They have a soft cover and my short game was really spot on because of it. Putting the ball felt really smooth off the club face. It's a really nice ball, I'm definitely excited to keep using it. Provided me with a lot of control."
Ben Hogan Flight
Twelve times did the trick for Keith O'Donnell of Southern Pacific GC, who won his first SCGA Amateur Net title after competing in the event a dozen times.
"I played well, I played really well," said O'Donnell. "I was able to make putts today, a lot of one putts, and it feels great. After 12 tries, I finally got her!"
O'Donnell finished in a tie with Satish Joshi of Palos Verdes GC and Neil Brown of Anaheim Hills Golf Club, and won by way of the card off. All three players finished their tournament at 5-under-par, with the champion posting net rounds of 70 and 68.