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GOLF : Turner Scores Coup for Left-Handers

June 18, 1987|Ralph Nichols

Michael Turner has a task for those who think left-handed golfers are weekend hackers who can't keep their drives in the fairway.

Polish his L.A. City men's golf championship trophy.

Turner, 30, of Van Nuys, posted a 7-under-par 277 last weekend to become the tournament's first left-handed champion, ending 69 years of dominance by right-handers. Turner picked up five strokes in the final round at Rancho Park Golf Course for the history-making, two-stroke win.

"To be the first left-hander to win the tournament is kind of nice," Turner said. "It gives us some recognition."

Turner resents the stereotype that left-handed golfers are wild and aren't as good as their right-handed counterparts. He is doing his best to dispel such myths.

"Somebody always makes a comment about me playing left-handed," Turner said. "When they ask me why I don't switch to right-handed, I just ask them why don't they play left-handed?"

Turner, a 1981 Cal State Northridge graduate, was one of CSUN's top two golfers for three years, along with Vic Wilk, another left-hander. He won the Southern California Public Links Amateur Championship last year and hopes to be invited to this summer's Pacific Coast Amateur Championship.

Throughout his career, Turner, has had more trouble finding a good left-handed driver than shooting par.

"Club manufacturers have finally decided to start making clubs for left-handers," he said.

His putter served him well in Sunday's final round in which he had nine one-put greens, including a birdie at 17 to clinch the win over Brian Carson of Long Beach. Turner posted a 71 and 66 in the first two rounds at the Encino and Balboa golf courses. He shot 71 Saturday at Rancho Park and finished with a 2-under 69 Sunday.

Turner was part of a strong San Fernando Valley contingent in the tournament, which placed four in the top 11, including Jim Bracken, Kevin Eden and Wayne Tyni.

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