BY ROBERT GAUTNEY contributing golf columnist email@example.com
Rich Gilkey and Manav Shah will carry the torch for local golf as the California State Amateur Championship gets underway on Monday in Monterey.
Gilkey (Liberty, BC and Fresno State) will play the Dunes Course at the Monterey Peninsula CC while Shah (Centennial, San Diego and UCLA) will play the Shore Course. On Tuesday, they will switch courses and the low 32 and ties after 36 holes will then advance into match-play with the champion crowned on Saturday.
Gilkey will play with Matt Seramin from San Geronimo and John O'Donnell from LA while Shah tees it up with Maverick McNealy from Portolla Valley and hometown star Casey Boyns of Monterey. Boyns is a 2-time Cal Am champ.
Bhavik Patel, now on the Web.com Tour, won the Cal Am two years ago and made it into the Round of 8 last year before turning professional.
The SCGA will have scoring updates, so if you want to see how our local guys are doing just log onto the SCGA.org or wait until next week's column to see how they fared.
What will U.S. Open?
Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., will host the 113th U.S. Open starting today. Ben Hogan once hit a 1-iron there on the 18th hole in the final round of the 1950 U.S. Open to secure a par and a spot into a 3-way playoff. Hogan won that playoff the next day.
So what will the 2013 U.S. Open at historic Merion bring us? After Monday's downpour, we could possibly see some really low scores, at least un-U.S. Open-like anyway.
The USGA says that the Merion GC can withstand a lot of water and it drains real well, but another spat or two of liquid will definitely put a damper on the golf and quite possibly allow the players to "put the ball into their hand." You know what that means. Even with bad weather, you allow those guys to clean it and place it and the scores start to head south!
But even with that looming, it's going to be another great weekend to watch golf. Like always, I will be rooting for Tiger Woods to win and I will enjoy Father's Day on Sunday even if he doesn't. It's an added perk for me in that it also happens to be my son's 9th birthday. And speaking of Woods, he and Sergio shook hands, although that doesn't mean that they have made up after Garcia's ill-advised fried chicken comment a few weeks ago. You think Garcia would welcome a final round, last-group pairing with Woods?
It's a major. It's can't-miss TV and I will be watching. Will you? After all, something might happen that could be worthy of a plaque!
Kern County Junior Golf Association
Crank it up boys and girls, the Kern County Junior Golf Association has started its summer series. Eleven tournaments for juniors age 7 to 17 at various courses throughout the summer.
Bhavik Patel , Stephen Hale and Bryan Hogan all turned professional within the past year and Rich Gilkey and Manav Shah are playing in the California Amateur next week. Lisa Kiggens (D'Amore) played on the LPGA Tour in the '90s and former Women's Kern County Am champion Meghan Shain just won the Women's Fresno County Amateur and was runner-up in the Sacramento City Amateur.
All played in the KCJGA and are just a smidgeon of the good and sometimes great players that have participated throughout the years in the KCJGA! The next wave of good (and perhaps great) local players will be playing at a course near you this summer.
The first two events were played at Mifflin-Buena Vista and Haggerty-North Kern and the next event will be June 18 at Foss-Kern River.
At NK on Tuesday, Jared Kinoshita and Tyler Burns tied with74s in the Boys 16-17, Warren Miller won the Boys 14-15 with a 72 and the Boys 12-13 winner was Dheer Patel with an 80. The Boys 10-11 winner was Hayden Hughes with a 49 while David Chuuon-Chan won the Boys 9U with a fine 44! For the girls, Lexi Keene shot a 71 to win the 14-17 division and Madi Daniel shot 50 to win the 13U.
At BV on June 4, Anthony Starbuck won the Boys 16-17 with a 70, Jason Yang won the Boys 14-15 with a 77 and Patel (77) again won the Boys 12-13. The Boys 10-11 winner was Hughes again with a 48 while Chuuon-Chan again won the Boys 9U (43). Amy Cooper won the Girls 14-17 with an 80 and Daniel won the 13U again with a 46.
If there are juniors out there that would like to play, you can get information on the KCJGA website at www.kcgja.com. The final event of the summer will be the two-day KCJGA Championship August 10-11 at Kern River. Players earn invitations by their play throughout the summer.
Entries are being accepted for the North of the River Championship to be played June 22-23 at the Haggerty-North Kern golf course. Entry is $100 and includes two rounds of golf, range balls and prizes.
The event is the first of the Michelob Ultra/Sports Authority Player of the Year Series and with only five events this year, points will be at a premium. Ron Killmer is the defending series winner and the perpetual trophy is on display at his home course, Foss-Kern River.
Contact the NK pro shop at (661)399-0347 to enter or to get further information. Deadline is Thursday June 20.
Patel in action this week
Bhavik Patel will be playing in the Wichita Open in Kansas this week as the Web.com Tour gets back to action.
Patel currently sits 31st on the money list after missing the cut two weeks ago in Maryland. After Kansas, the tour swings back to North Carolina, then Indiana, Utah, Kansas again, Idaho and then back to the east coast in Pennsylvania with one break in early July.
Junior clinic at North Kern
The Haggerty-North Kern Golf Course will host a free Junior Clinic June 17-19 from 9-10:30 a.m. each day. Juniors age 7 to 17 are welcome. All skill levels can attend and equipment will be provided but personal equipment is recommended.
There will be a mini-tournament on the final day for those attending days one and two. No advanced sign up necessary. Just show up a little before 9 a.m. each day! If you have questions, call Sam Barton Jr. at (661)399-0347 and bring those juniors out!
In honor of Bob Hope's birthday, the Humana Challenge (Jan. 16-19, 2014), announced that it will sell grounds tickets to next year's tournament in Palm Springs. The special began May 29 (Hope's B-day) and will run through June 16 (this Sunday). Weekly grounds passes (Wednesday-Sunday) are offered at $55 (plus taxes and fees) which is 55% off of the normal price in honor of the 55th playing of the tournament. Find out more at www.HumanaChallenge.com or contact the tournament office at (760)346-8184.
-- The Bakersfield Country Club will be the host of the SCGA Member Outing tournament on Monday, June 17. The weekly tournaments allow SCGA members a chance to play at clubs they might not normally get a chance too. Go to the SCGA website at SCGA.org and find the Member Outing link to find out more on how you can play, but you must be an SCGA member.
-- The 4th Roger Gunning Memorial golf tournament will be June 20 at the Bakersfield CC. Entry is $150 per player (4-player scramble) and proceeds benefit local youth baseball and scholarships for BC baseball players. There will be plenty of on-course competitions including two chances to win $10,000 for a hole-in-one! The tournament was completely filled last year so early entry is a must if you want to play. L.A. Dodger legend Maury Wills will be the guest speaker at the awards dinner following play. Contact Bob French at (661)428-6843, Teri Graf at (661)205-3830 or George Culver at (661)706-3775 to get more information on playing, sponsoring or volunteering.
-- Kern River pro Jacque Servadio, LPGA, is offering Father's Day specials. Find out more at ServiceYourSwing.com or call (661)301-5944.
-- Updated information (stats, etc.) on local players that are now competing in professional and college golf is always encouraged by Tee to Green as are golf related stories and information you believe that the readers would want to know about. Send the info to the email address listed below and don't forget about those holes-in-one! And thanks in advance!