Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (April 17, 2012) - If the SCGA gave out championship rings instead of championship trophies, Tim Hogarth of Northridge would have just earned himself one for his thumb. The SCGA veteran won his record-setting fifth SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship Tuesday, hanging on for the victory despite carding a round of 75. Hogarth's three-round total of 3-over par 217 bested Anthony Melillo by two strokes.
"It means a lot," said Hogarth when asked about becoming the first to win the event five times. "Last year at this time I was in a cast, I really didn't know what would be next and thought there could be a problem with my hand going forward, so to come back and win, I'm really proud."
Hogarth entered the day with a three-stroke lead, but Patrick Duncan gave the veteran a run to start the day, posting a 2-under on his front nine as Hogarth ended his own first nine holes with three-straight bogeys. A tough back nine for Duncan put him out of contention, however, and Hogarth warded off late attacks from Melillo, defending champion Scott Almquist and Justin Warthen down the stretch.
Almquist and Warthen tied for third place with final scores of 2-over par 221. Despite great playing conditions on the course and perfect weather, the Rancho Santa Fe course bested many of the competitors Tuesday. Just one participant (Gary Havro) finished his round under par.
"Today was a tough day," said Hogarth. "Once you get momentum going the wrong way it's hard to get it back, so I'm just really happy to hang on and win. The lead got stretched to a comfortable amount,and at that point I lost a little bit of focus, but I really was fortunate enough to hang on."
Hogarth last won the event in 2010, after also being named champion in 2009, 2007 and 1999.
"People travel all over the country to play in tournaments, always searching for great events. I've always felt like I didn't need to travel because the SCGA puts on such great tournaments at such great golf courses. I really do look forward to playing in these."
FULL RESULTS ROUND 3 PAIRINGS
Wednesday, April 16 - After 36 holes and nearly 12 hours of golf, the Mid-Amateur Championship’s original field of 84 players has been cut to 43. Atop the leaderboard is four-time SCGA Mid-Amateur Champion Tim Hogarth, who managed to put up a 2-under 142 after rounds of 69 and 73 on after a long, windy day. “The second round was tougher. The only difference between rounds was that I didn’t putt nearly as well this afternoon," Hogarth said. “I’m just happy that I’ve left myself with such a great chance heading into tomorrow.”
Gary Robinson of San Diego, Calif. sits in second with a 1-over par 145 after rounds of 70 and 75.
With a large field completing two rounds today, the weather certainly had varying effects as the day wore on. Anthony Melillo from Brookside, who shot an opening round 69, credited the wind for a general increase in second round scores. “The wind really kicked up [in the afternoon], making the course a little tougher. It was really swirling and a lot of times you didn’t know where it was coming from," he said.
The difficulty of today’s greens also came into play for many of the day’s competitors. Robinson acknowledged the quickness of today’s greens, speaking to how the difficulty may have worked to his advantage. “I putted well today actually," said Robinson. "I only had one three-putt. I am used to greens like this. I like them fast."
At the end of the day, 83 players found themselves looking up at the veteran Hogarth. With a three-shot hole going into the final round, Robinson spoke about playing catch-up with 18 to play. “[Hogarth]’s obviously such a great player with a great history. It just gives me the opportunity to go out there and free-will it."
A number of well-known SCGA competitors struggled Monday, failing to make the cut with scores higher than 11-over par. 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur Quarterfinalist Tony Behrstock, 2008 and 2009 SCGA Senior Player of the Year Howie Knodt and 2006 California Amateur Champion Jordan Nasser were among the 40+ players who failed to figure out the Rancho Santa Fe course.
This year's Mid-Amateur Champion will earn an exemption into the 101st California Amateur Championship at La Cumbre CC on June 25-30. The top-5 finishers will earn exemptions into the 113th SCGA Amateur Championship at Big Canyon CC July 20-22. Round 3 begins at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.