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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GOLF ASSN. AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP : Woods' Record Round Was No Joke

July 24, 1994|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LA HABRA HEIGHTS — It started as idle banter between shots. It grew into half-serious joking.

A trio of Valley area players, with applause for another ringing in their ears, were more than a little distracted by the boisterous gallery following the group behind them in the third round of the 95th Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship.

Another cheer. Another.

Chad Wright of Ventura, one of the area trio, turned to his playing partners and cracked: "We're playing pretty good and nobody's cheering for us. "

Added Charlie Wi of North Hills, who played alongside Wright in virtual anonymity: "I almost wish I was watching, not playing."

Grown men and college hot-shots were left in the dust Saturday by 18-year-old phenom Tiger Woods of Cypress, who shot a course-record eight-under-par 62 at Hacienda Golf Club to take a commanding eight-shot lead with one round remaining.

Wi, Wright and playing partner Don Baker of Canoga Park all played fairly well or better, but they were mere cannon fodder for Woods, who shot 30 on the front nine to break away from the pack.

Baker, a former PGA Tour pro who regained his amateur status, couldn't play much better. He hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation to finish with a two-under 68 that left him tied with Wi for third at one-under 209.

However, Woods is at 200, a whopping 10 under. Hacienda's membership, not to mention the rest of the field, was stunned. Before Woods' 62, no player had shot lower than 68.

"That's about as good as it gets," said Baker, 43, analyzing his own solid round. "What else can you do?"

Not much, except watch the fireworks and wear earplugs.

Woods' score shattered the competitive course record of 66 at Hacienda set by Dave Olsen of Toluca Lake in 1992 and broke the SCGA Amateur record of 64 set by former Taft High standout Duffy Waldorf at Stockdale Country Club in Bakersfield in 1982.

Said Tom Kroll of San Marcos, who shot 70 while playing with Woods: "That's the best time I've ever had while getting beat by eight shots. Watching him play was great."

Wi, 22, stubbornly refused to concede the title, though.

"I'll just have to play real aggressive and not do anything stupid," Wi said. "I just wish I had the opportunity to play like that."

Wi's 68 was superlative enough in its own right. He used only 28 putts and recorded his lone bogey when he missed a 2 1/2-footer on the fourth hole.

Wright, 18, and Jason Gore of Valencia each shot 75 to fall well off the pace. Wright, who shot 40 on the back nine after hitting his tee shot out of bounds on No. 10, is alone in eighth at 216. Gore, 20, who double-bogeyed the ninth and 15th holes, is tied for ninth at 217.

Greg Bell of Studio City--who shot 78 to leave him at 222--had a hole in one on the sixth hole, an uphill, 205-yard par three. Bell, who played at USC, used a four-iron.

Dave Sheff, a member of the Oakwood Country Club in Glendale, shot 75 and is at 225, along with James Camaione of the Crystalaire Country Club in the Antelope Valley. Camaione shot 73.

Keith Kinsel of Glendale shot 76 and is at 227, followed at 229 by Mike Tingus of Calabasas, who shot 79.

Paul Ladin of Westlake Village, the oldest player in the field at 61, struggled to an 82 and fell to 231.

RUNAWAY LEADER: Tiger Woods sets course record. C1

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