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NOTEBOOK

Kohut Will Go Down Swinging

July 12, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MURRIETA — Look out golf course, J.T. Kohut is out to get you.

After struggling to an eight-over-par 79 in the third round of the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship on Saturday at the SCGA Members' Club, Kohut vowed revenge in the final round today.

"I'm going to go for everything," said the Westlake High senior-to-be. "If my game is on I'm going to shoot really low. If it's not, I'm going to shoot really high."

Kohut, who shared the first-round lead with Ed Cuff Jr. of Temecula and was tied for third after two rounds, fell victim to bad luck.

After barely missing putts from inside five feet on the first two holes, he hit an overhanging tree limb on the third hole that redirected his approach shot into a greenside water hazard and ended up with double bogey.

He regrouped, played even through the next 10 holes but found two sand traps en route to bogey at the 14th and pulled his approach shot out of bounds and ended up with triple-bogey seven on the 18th.

Kohut admits that a summer-long slump in which he did not shoot better than 73 in seven rounds before opening with 68 on Friday is still lingering. But he is not ready to give up.

"It's just something I have to work through," he said. "I'll be OK, though."

*

It appears history will have to wait another year for Craig Steinberg.

The Van Nuys resident, defending champion of the SCGA Amateur, shot three-under-par 68 Saturday, but concedes with a seven-stroke deficit and five players between him and leader Scott McGihon, he is probably out of the running for a record-tying fifth SCGA Amateur title.

Paul Hunter, who won in 1908, 1909, 1921, 1924 and 1926, is the only five-time winner.

"Seven strokes is a lot," Steinberg said. "I'd have to shoot around 65 and everyone else would have to shoot over par. I don't see that happening."

Steinberg, after opening with rounds of 73 and 74, made a valiant effort to get into contention Saturday.

The difference was greens in regulation, usually a staple of Steinberg's game. Friday he hit only 25 of 36 greens in his two rounds. Saturday he hit 16.

"Yesterday I couldn't save par," Steinberg said. "Today my only bogey was a three-putt."

*

Greg Padilla of Del Mar, an Arizona State teammate of former Granada Hills High standout Darren Angel, is two strokes off the lead, but if not for a bit of good fortune he might not be playing at all.

Padilla was exempt into the tournament because of a top-10 finish last year, but forgot to turn in his entry farm. He was allowed in the tournament only when Dave Olsen of Encino withdrew.

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