72nd Annual SCGA Amateur Championship
After Bud Bradley set the pace on the El Niguel Country Club course with a 67, John Beetham took over and led the second, third, and final rounds with 282 to win the 1971 version of the Southern California Golf Association Amateur Championship. Beetham, a 22-year-old Cal State Long Beach student, headed off the challenges of Bud Bradley - fresh from a win in the Los Angeles City Men's Championship - Gary Sanders, the defending champion, and edged the recent finalist of the Trans-Mississippi Amateur, Allen Tapie. Qualifying eliminated three others that usually finish strong; U.S. Seniors champion Gene Andrews, U.S. Junior champion Aly Trompas, and Los Angeles Country Club champion Dick Runkle.
Bruce McCormick's tournament record of 280 still holds. He made that record in 1963 following up his back to back wins in 1947 and '48. Other notable performances in this tournament were produced by John W. Dawson, past president of the SCGA and Lakeside Golf Club past president, who won this amateur in 1942, '44, '45, and '52. Eight men have won the Amateur twice, and since McCormick's pair, Jim Ferrie won in '50 and '51, Ted Richards won in '54 and '61, and Alan Gieberger won in '56 and '59.
Beetham did not come into this tournament without credentials as he had recently won the Cottonwood Invitational. He has taken lessons from a winner, Johnny Revolta, and works for another winner, Jimmy Powell of Yorba Linda. His 6-foot 4-inch 200 pound frame and big smile reminded several in the gallery of Tom Weiskopf.
If any other golfer gave Beetham any problems it must have been Fred Good.
Fred Good of Torrey Pines shot a new Virginia Country Club course record of 63 during his 3rd round. This stands as an official record surpassing a precious 63 by Terry Small since it had not been scored under tournament conditions. And, we understand, there were two temporary greens in use when Terry's 63 was made.
Fred Good placed 5th overall in the Championship with rounds of 79, 74, 63, and 72 for 288 total. That 63 looked like this on the scorecard: 343454234(32) and 433444243(31)! Par is 71 on this 6,398 yard course.
During the final round Dick Pickup of Green River scored an ace on the 7th hole (Virginia's regular 15th hole), a par-3 144-yard shot. His technique for making this ace was to choke down on the five-iron and punch it. Dick ended up as runner-up in the Vice President's flight with a 203.
The lowest net of all flights was posted by Dick Johansen in the Secretary's Flight. In his second round he had a gross of 76 and his 15-handicap netted him a 61!
The Virginia Country Club course was played out of normal sequence so that television camera stands could be set up around the ninth hole-the 18th, while fine finishing hole, does not lend itself for adequate TV coverage.