Six years ago, Tim Hogarth stood proudly at Hillcrest Country Club, conquering the historic Los Angeles course to capture his first SCGA Amateur Championship title. This year, he did it again, only this time, the 2010 SCGA Mid-Amateur crown was his.
For the fourth time, defending champion Hogarth, a member of Brookside Golf Club, captured the 27th playing of the event, combining rounds of 67-67-70—204, 9 under par. “Hillcrest fits my eye I guess,” he laughed afterward. “I hope we can play out here more often.”
This year’s Mid-Amateur was a near repeat of the 2009 event at Hacienda Golf Club, in which Hogarth defeated Jason Bittick of Ladera Ranch. Hogarth, the one of the most winning amateurs in SCGA history and the only player to collect the “Triple Crown” (California Amateur, SCGA Amateur and SCGA Mid-Amateur titles) topped Bittick by three strokes in this year’s event, when Bittick finished 70-66-71—207.
“It’s a good course for me, the L.A. clubs that are a little more narrow,” Hogarth said. “But even with a lead, I knew there were obviously still people that could win.”
One of those was Bittick, who trailed Hogarth by two strokes going into the final round and rallied on the back nine to come within a shot. He capitalized on two Hogarth bogeys, on holes 11 and 14, the first bogeys in 44 straight holes for Hogarth.
“There were some tough holes on the back nine,” Bittick said. “I just ran out of gas.”
Hogarth, considered one of the steadiest SCGA players of all-time, felt the same. Those two bogeys worried him, he said, “and I thought I’d bogey the rest of the holes in the round.”
He didn’t though, and instead took advantage of strong putting during the event. For the last six months he’s been working with Dave Stockton to perfect his stroke, something he said he’d been struggling with last season. He’s also been working with a personal trainer, Daniel Farley of Pasadena who he met at Brookside Golf Club, for the last 14 months, which he credits for helping his endurance.
“Those 36 holes a day are hard when you’re 43,” he said. “This is a good age to start losing your game, and I’m trying to fight that by doing strength training, increasing flexibility and taking care of myself.”
Tyler Crawford of Rancho Mirage, who tied for second in last year’s event, tied for third this year with multiple SCGA champion (and frequent Hogarth playing partner in SCGA team events) John Pate of Santa Barbara. Crawford went 75-68-68—211, 2 under par, to Pate’s 71-67-73—211.
Two-time SCGA Amateur champion Kevin Marsh of Henderson, Nev. shot 72-73-70—215 to tie for fifth with Bakersfield’s John Balfanz, 71-73-71—215.
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