BY ROBERT GAUTNEY Contributing golf columnist email@example.com
Manav Shah, Ruffie Fessler and Neil Bautista will attempt to give Bakersfield back-to-back winners of the most prestigious Southern California amateur golf event.
The 114th SCGA Amateur Championship is being played this weekend (Friday through Sunday) at the San Diego Country Club as 84 of the best amateur players from So Cal (and a few out-of-area players too) will try to put their name on the perpetual champions trophy.
Should Shah, Fessler or Bautista win, their name will appear just below that of local star Bhavik Patel, who won the 113th edition last year at Big Canyon CC in Newport Beach and now plays professionally on the Web.com Tour.
All three local players started on the 10th tee Friday but their scores were not known at the time of this writing. There were 36 holes of play on Friday and the top 42 and ties advance to the final 36 holes on the weekend.
Fessler went off at 8:51 am with JJ Holen of Castaic and Jeff Wibawa from Encino. Shah was next at 9:09 am along with Alex Wagner from San Diego and Andrew Morgan from Long Beach while Bautista started at 9:18 am with Danny McCarthy, Jr. from Rancho Santa Margarita and Marcus Mercado-Kiel from Santa Ana.
Fessler and Bautista advanced in one of the seven qualifying tournaments at Brookside back in May while Shah received an exemption for his win along with Patel in the SCGA 4-Ball Championship and top 5 finish in the SCGA last year. A total of 584 players attempted to qualify at the seven sites.
Bautista recently won the North of the River Championship at Haggerty-North Kern in June when he shot a 7-under-par 65 in the final round. Bautista will be attending Fresno State this fall. Shah is a junior at UCLA while Fessler completed his college career at Fresno State this spring by being invited to compete in the NCAA Western Regional.
This is the second time that the San Diego CC has hosted the tournament but the only other time was way back in 1936! Many top and known names are in the field including Beau Hossler who led the U.S. Open briefly two years ago as a 17-year-old while only two players that have ever won the event are playing -- Tim Hogarth (2004) and 3-time champion Scott McGihon (2000, 2005-06).
If any of our three local stars made the cut, you can track their score at SCGA.org or find out they played in next week's column.
34th Bakersfield City Amateur
Entries will be accepted through the deadline of July 24 at 5 p.m. for the 34th Bakersfield City Amateur Championship that will be played July 27-28 at the Sundale CC.
Entry is $120 and includes two rounds of golf, a Saturday lunch and tee prize. Awards be will given in the Championship Flight (index 3 and less), President's Flight (4-10 index) and a Seniors Flight (age 50 by July 28). Any player who has a handicap higher than 10 can play but must play to a 10 index.
The tournament is the second of the Michelob Ultra/Sports Authority Player of the Year Series events in which players finishing in the top 10 in championship flight play earn points towards the 2013 Player of the Year.
Call (661)831-5224 to sign-up to play or to get more information. The net proceeds will benefit Child Abuse Prevention (Bakersfield Exchange Club).
KCJGA weekly winners
This week's Kern County Junior Golf Association tournament was played at Sundale CC on Tuesday and Jared Kinoshita shot a 73 to win the Boys 16-17 and Amy Cooper won the Girls 14-17 with a 79.
The Boys 14-15 winner was Michael Chang while Dakota Ochoa won the Boys 12-13 with an 85. The Boys 10-11 winner was Donovan Simos with a 43 and David Chhuon-Chan was the Boys 9U winner at 46. The Girls 13U winner was Madi Daniel with a 49.
Next week the KCJGA tournament will be at the Rio Bravo CC on Tuesday.
Amateurs in final round at Humana Challenge
Six amateur golfers will get to play in the final round of the 2014 Humana Challenge in La Quinta as part of a change in the format for the pro-am event.
Amateurs played the first four rounds when the event was a 90-hole tournament and they have played the first three rounds the last two years when the tournament went to 72 holes. Now, the three amateurs with the lowest gross score and the three with lowest net score will play in the final round with two professionals, starting on the 10th tee, giving each a "true final round tournament experience".
Another change to the format is the addition of the Club Team Challenge Pro-Am that will be played the Monday following the tournament on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West. Three members from the same club along with their PGA Club pro and a PGA Tour pro will play an 18-hole event.
You can find out more about playing in the field as an amateur, having your club play in the Monday pro-Am or information about advanced tickets at HumanaChallenge.com or by calling (760)346-8184.
Patel in action this week
After taking a week off, the Web.com Tour resumed tournament play this week with the Utah Championship at Willow Creek CC in Sandy, Utah.
Local pro Bhavik Patel shot an opening 69 in the first round and was equal 66th. It is not known what Patel shot in the second round, but he likely would have needed at least another 69 to make the top-60 and ties cut line.
Patel has earned $83,760 in 13 tour events and sits 29th on the money list. The top 25 earn a PGA Tour playing card in 2014 after the Tour Championship at the end of September in Florida.
BCC hosts U.S. Amateur Sectional
The Bakersfield Country Club will host one of six Southland U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifying tournaments over the next few weeks on July 29.
It is not known how many spots will be up for grabs in the 36-hole one-day event, but typically 2-3 spots will advance to the U.S. Amateur Championship which will be August 12-17 at The Country Club of Brookline in Brookline, Mass.
According to the SCGA's website, there are 17 Bakersfield amateurs that will be competing for a chance to play in our country's showcase amateur event. Besides those 17, Pete Fernandez, Jr. and Manav Shah will also be competing at other courses. Fernandez will be at Mission Viejo CC and Shah at Fairbanks Ranch CC in Rancho Santa Fe.
-- The 20th Santa Maria Valley Amateur Championship will be July 27-28 at the Rancho Maria GC. There will be a championship flight and two handicapped flights. Entry is $175. Call (805) 937-2019 to get more information.
-- 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!