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North Squad Gives South a Scare

Golf: All-star match shows the talent level is beginning to equal out across the county.

May 30, 1996|MARTIN BECK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH — The balance of power in Orange County high school golf is decidedly weighted to the south, which is proved yearly when the North team is drubbed in the county all-star match.

But there was nearly a power shift Wednesday. After winning the event--often handily--in its first eight years, the South had to scramble to win in the ninth, 13-11, at Newport Beach Country Club.

The competition, sponsored by the Southern California PGA and featuring the county's top high school seniors in match play, came down to the final foursome.

University's Bill Bodensteiner and Estancia's Mike Perry, representing the South, each won his match on the final hole. Bodensteiner beat Brea Olinda's Anthony Eliason by making an eight-foot birdie putt and Perry beat University's Kris Blackburn (a substitute for late scratch Jeff McGraw of Servite) by making par.

Bodensteiner and Perry won four of the six points contested in the foursome, giving the South its margin of victory.

"I was having good fun until I realized I was one down with three to go," said Bodensteiner, who won the 17th and 18 holes.

Another rally was crucial for the South, after Ryan Donovan of Esperanza and Eric Lama of Valencia easily closed out their individual opponents--Jason Gross of San Clemente and Wil Smith of Dana Hills.

Donovan defeated Gross, 5 and 4, and Lama won, 4 and 3, over Smith, and as a team they led by four with four holes to play. But Gross birdied the 15th and 17th holes and Smith hit a three-wood from 240 yards on the 510-yard 18th to one foot and made putt for eagle, to leave the team match in a tie.

That enabled the South to salvage one point, without which the match would have ended in a tie. "This is the comeback of the century," Gross said.

The South's first two twosomes--Santa Margarita's Steve Wagner and Greg Pittenger and Huntington Beach's Perry Dickey and Chris Wilson--each won four points.

Wagner, who shot two-under 69, the only sub-par round of the day, beat Terry Noe of Sunny Hills, 4 and 3. Pittenger and Wagner beat Noe and Eric Wang of Cypress, 2 and 1, and Wang beat Pittenger, 2 and 1.

Dickey, who shot 72, beat Sean Redwine of Villa Park, 5 and 4, and teamed with Wilson to beat Redwine and Jason Beach of Los Alamitos, 6 and 4. Beach beat Wilson, 1-up.

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