Dave Hobby Rallies To Win By Single Stroke Over Randolph And Starkman At Santa Maria

Dave Hobby of Santa Ana Country Club rallied on the final two holes with a crucial birdie and par to win the 84th SCGA Amateur Championship at Santa Maria CC by one stroke with a 285 total — three stokes under par for four rounds.

Hobby entered the final round tied for the lead at 209 with Sam Randolph of La Cumbre GC and watched the young Santa Barbaran take a two stroke lead after nine holes.

Then Randolph "suffered through one of my worst nine holes ever in competition." He had three double bogies in a six-hole span and gave Hobby the opportunity to get back in the hunt.

In the meantime, Greg Starkman, Hillcrest CC, who trailed the leaders by seven strokes after 54 holes of championship, had pulled into a brief lead on the 17th hole, thanks to three birdies on the back nine.

A bogey-5 on the 397-yard finishing hole took Starkman out of the race, when Hobby saved a par from the green about 25 feet above the hole and Randolph missed a 40-foot birdie attempt, which would have put him into a tie.

Just minutes earlier, Starkman sank a birdie putt on the 347-yard 17th hole. Hobby, playing with Randolph and Ernie Gonzalez, Bonita GC, in the following threesome, holed a 15-foot birdie to regain the tie.

By then, Randolph was a stoke behind and needed a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff. His 40-foot attempt missed by inches.

Starkman had a bogey on the final hole. Hobby, 23, a former San Diego State golfer, and Randolph, 19, a USC sophomore with an outstanding freshman year, started the final 18 dead even at 209 and gave every indication of staying just that way.

Each birdied the 485-yard, par-5 first hole, and they played even until No. 4, where Randolph covered the 376 yards in birdie-3, but they were even again after the 347-yard sixth hole where Randolph had a bogey-5.

Both had bogeys on the 211-yard No. 7 before Randolph went two strokes up with a par to Hobby's bogey-6 on the 528-yard No. 8 and another par to Hobby's bogey-5 on the 486-yard No. 9.

Randolph had played the front nine in even par, while Hobby had carded a 39 total — two-over-par.

Starkman, 19,who began the day trailing the leaders by six strokes, lost a stroke to par and was seven strokes behind Randolph at the turn, He had taken a bogey-5 on the 420-yard fifth hole.

Gonzalez, playing in the same group with Hobby and Randolph, dropped four strokes to par and trailed by seven. He had three bogeys and one birdie on the back side to finish with a 78 for the day, 290 for the tournament and a tie for fourth place with former champion Bud Ardell of Bakersfield CC.

The course jumped up and grabbed Randolph on the back nine. He took a bogey-5 on the 419-yard No. 10, but no damage was done in the battle with Hobby, who also bogied.

Starkman, playing a group ahead, gained a stroke with a par. The 21-year-old Bruin began to make his move on No. 11 with a birdie-4 on the 510-yard hole to pick up three strokes on Randolph, who carded his first double bogey, and a stroke on Hobby, who bogied. Starkman was now three strokes behind Randolph and two behind Hobby.

Randolph's collapse continued on the 333-yard No. 12 where he took his second double bogey after hitting his approach shot over the green, Hobby and Starkman parred, giving Hobby the lead by a single stroke over Randolph and two over Starkman.

The battle was on! Starkman had a birdie-2 on the 114-yard 13th hole, and Randolph matched it, whole Hobby took par. The Santa Barbaran was again ahead by a stroke.

Each parred the 362-yard 14th before Randolph increased his lead to two shots with a birdie-3 on the 364-yard No. 15 to pars for his nearest rivals.

Disaster struck for Randolph on the 182-yard No. 16. Starkman had made par. Randolph's tee shot went 10 feet over the green. He took four strokes to get down when his chip was short. Hobby parred and there was a three-way logjam at the top.

At No. 17 — 347 yards — Starkman rolled in a birdie putt to take the lead, which Hobby matched when he rolled in a 5-footer a few minutes later. Starkman's possession of the lead was brief — just long enough for the final group to walk to the green. Randolph tailed by one stroke.

When the roar went up from the 17th green, Starkman knew that he was back in a tie. Starkman hit what he termed "one of the worst shots of my career" into the right trap at the 18th green. He took a bogey with Hobby all alone at the top and Randolph one shot back in the 8th fairway.

The drama continued at the 18th green before a gallery of some 250 spectators. Randolph was on in two, but 40 feet above the cup. He barely shaded the cup to the left.

Hobby, who had been in the left fringe in regulation, chipped to within six feet — no gimmie — and then rolled it in for a par and the championship.

"After Sammy missed, my putt was much easier," commented Hobby. "But the hole which was the turning point was No. 17. I had to make my birdie there to stay even with Starkman. It was from about 15 feet and straight uphill or maybe a little left to right to the cup.

"It gave me a boost when I needed it. It was probably my best putt all day," he added.

Randolph's long putt on No. 18 was crucial to him. "My last putt was all over the center of the hole and then it broke left," he explained. "I really thought it was going in."

Randolph said he was lucky to be close after the disastrous start on the back nine.

"I had trouble controlling myself after those two double bogeys," he admitted. "I was almost past the point of being mad. I probably would have broken something if those people (the spectators) had not been around."

"I still might break my putter," he added, only half-jokingly.

While Ardell, the 1980 SCGA champion, had a 290 total and a tie for fourth place with Gonzalez, Lee Davis, 1975 champion, was 13 strokes off the pace.

Bill Viele of Quail Lake led the field briefly after shooting a 67 in the opening round of the finals on Friday. It turned out to be the low round of the tournament for the perennial qualifier.

Hobby opened with a 69 and followed Friday afternoon with a 68 for a four-stroke, mid-point lead, 137 - 141, over Randolph who had rounds of 72 and 69, over the Santa Maria course which was in top condition.

Almost every competitor had praise of the condition of the course and the hospitality of the host club and its members.

In the Handicap Tournament, Tom Hoag, an 8-handicapper from Mission Viejo, led the President's Flight after the first round with a net 68. But, David Eberstein, a 7 from Woodland Hills, had a one-under-par 70 for a net 63 in the second round and a 134 total to beat Hoag by six strokes.

Vern Bebernes, a 5-handicapper form Santa Maria, and Jan Koelsch, an 8 from San Clemente, had net 70s after the first round, but ended well back in the pack after 36 holes.

In the Vice Presidents Flight, Jack Groves, a 12 from Stockdale, came from five strokes off the first-round pace set by Tom Lawlor, a 9 from Griffith Park, who had a net 66 in the opening round, Groves had a 75 for a net 63 and a 134 total in taking the first place award, by two strokes.

Following him were Harold Dennee (10), Rancho Maria, 72-74 — 136; Glenn Claypool (11), Collins GC, 70-67 — 137; Bob Barneson (11), Candlewood, 75-63 — 138; and Lawlor, 66-73 — 139.

The only tie and sudden-death playoff came in the Secretary's Flight when Wayne Norrington, a 13-handicapper form El Dorado, and Nick Kazanjieff (14), Wilshire, finished with 134.

Norrington, who won the playoff with a bogey-6 on the first extra hole, had nets of 69 and 65. Kazanjieff had rounds of 64 and 70 after leading into the final day's play.

Other flight leaders were: David Ordlock (16), Los Serranos, 67-69; Thomas Holland (15), Muroc Lake, 68-69; and Vernon Joiner (16), Willowick, 65-74.

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