Bud Ardell Wins 81st SCGA Amateur

The 81st SCGA Amateur Championship was a tournament that everyone wanted to win. But, no one could put together an aggressive game and take command.

At the end, Jon (Bud) Ardell, 23, of Bakersfield CC played steady golf as would-be leaders fired and fell back, and the young pre-med student from Bakersfield finished with a comfortable three-stroke victory.

Ardell had a one-under-par 71 for the final round over the tough 6,703-yard Oakmont CC course and a two-over-par 290 for the 72-hole competition. What proved to be the turning point for Ardell was an eagle on the 456-yard, par-5, ninth hole.

He was on the green and 12 feet from the cup with a driver and a 1-iron before he stroked the putt in for his eagle, but at that point he was still a stroke behind Jeff Hart, 20, of Lomas Santa Fe CC, the defending champion, and a USC golfer.

After his eagle, Ardell was shakey and it was still anyone's tournament. He bogied the 10th to fall two strokes behind Hart who had a par there. Then the wheels came off Hart's game.

The defending champion bogied four of the next five holes — No. 11 through 15, while Ardell picked up a birdie on the 432-yard 12th for a two-stroke turn-around to pull even.

But the Battle wasn't over. Hart birdied the 380-yard, par-4 No. 16 and was within a stroke of the lead, but the defending champion bogied the final two holes.

Ardell finished with a one-under-par 71 to go with earlier round of 71-75-73 for a 290 total and a three-stroke victory over Hart and Don Bliss, 28, of Mission Viejo.

Bliss had begun the final round in a nine-way tie for seventh place — four strokes off the pace. The former Big 8 champion played steady — and even-par 72 — as those around him fell back.

The 1978 SCGA Champion, Brian Gaddy, 35, of Annandale saw his game go from the sublime to the ridiculous and back to the sublime. He opened with a 71 of Friday, two strokes off the pace set by Randy Drake of Glendora. In the afternoon round, penalty strokes ate Gaddy up as he skied to an 81 and finished the day far back in the pack.

A 74 in the third round put Gaddy into a five-way tie for 19th place. But Gaddy didn't give up after taking a double bogey on the opening hole of the final day.

He birdied the second hole, bogied the third and turned in an eagle on the seventh to go with birds on No. 5 and 9 for a two-under-par 35 at the turn. He picked up two birdies on the back nine for a 68 to pull into fourth place.

The 81st SCGA Championship had more changes in the lead than a back-country political race.

Randy Drake of Glendora CC was the front runner with a 69 in the opening round but carded a 79 in the second round. John Burckle, 19, Mesa Verde CC, and David Hobby, 20, Santa Ana CC shared the lead at 144 going into Saturday's play. Burckle had rounds of 77-67 and Hobby had a 74 and a 70.

Burckle's 73 on Saturday gave him a 217 and a one-stroke advantage after 54 holes. Hart was a stroke back at 218 and four players were tied at 219 — Ardell, Hobby, Mark Johnson, 25, Sun 'n Sky GC, and John Grund, 21, Brookside.

From the ages one can see it's a young man's game.

Ardell is the son of Dr. and Mrs. David Ardell of Bakersfield, and an honor graduate in human biology from Stanford where he captained the 1979 golf team. He worked in the coroner's office in Bakersfield this summer while waiting to enroll in medical school.

His only previous tournament victory was in the Kern County Amateur.

In the handicap flights, Larry Cook, a 5-handicapper from North Kern took top honors with a net 68-65 in the President's Flight (5-8 handicap). Greg Norris, a 10-handicapper from Valencia GC led the Vice President's Flight (9-12 handicap) with a net 65-72. Bernie Maloney, a 21 from Indian Hills CC, won a playoff on the third extra hole after posting a net 74-62 in the Secretary's Flight (13-21 handicap). He beat Alan Matthews, a 17 from Los Coyotes.

President John Argue, whose father, Cliff, was president of the SCGA 30 years ago when Oakmont hosted the 51st SCGA Championship, recalled that 10 years ago the Glendale club was tournament host. That was the last of the SCGA Amateurs seen on local television.

Argue thanked the members and staff of Oakmont for making their fine facilities available. He presented an appreciation plaque to Oakmont President Warren Penland and expressed especial thanks to Manager George de Mayo, PGA Professional Richard (Skip) Whittet and Course Superintendent Richard Wagner.

Argue also expressed the appreciation of the SCGA for the member courses who made their facilities available for qualifying sites for the 81st championship — Brookside, Calabasas Park, Lake Arrowhead, Redlands, San Juan Hills, Santa Maria, South Hills, StoneRidge, Valencia and Willowick.

SCGA Tournament Chairman Peter Patman expressed his thanks and the appreciation of the SCGA to the directors and committeemen who conducted the Qualifying rounds and the finals at Oakmont.

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