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County : GOLF / PETER YOON

Pate Grateful to Take Charity

July 31, 1998|PETER YOON

The pain might still be there, but six years of suffering came to an end on Sunday for Steve Pate, the Agoura Hills resident who won the CVS Charity Classic at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass.

It was the sixth PGA Tour victory for Pate, who plays out of North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, but his first since winning the 1992 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.

A broken right wrist suffered in a car accident early in 1996 hampered his playing for the last two years. Despite playing in pain, the victory has given Pate a new outlook on competing.

"I know I can win again," he said after his victory.

"I'd kind of forgotten what it means to me. There's nothing quite like it."

Pate, after finishing 95th on the money list last year, had come close this season, finishing second at the Phoenix Open in January, sixth at the Buick Invitational in February and ninth at the Tucson Chrysler Classic in February.

His $270,000 winner's check brought his season earnings total to $658,250, 27th on the money list.

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Craig Steinberg of Van Nuys and Tim Hogarth of Chatsworth will have their work cut out for them next week.

Steinberg, a four-time SCGA amateur champion, and Hogarth, 1996 U.S. Public Links champion, are representing different teams in the Morse Cup competition at the Pacific Coast Amateur beginning Tuesday at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.

On Aug. 11 they will be trying to qualify for the U.S. Amateur championship at Industry Hills Golf Club, one of the most difficult courses in Southern California.

The Pacific Coast Amateur dates conflict with the other two qualifying dates for the U.S. Amateur, so Hogarth and Steinberg are forced to play at Industry Hills or leave Southern California to try to qualify.

"Not only is the course hard, but the field is going to be loaded," Hogarth said. "But it's U.S. Amateur qualifying. The fields are tough everywhere."

Included in the field are Brian Ricketts, SCGA Mid-Amateur champion, and Ed Cuff, Jr., California Amateur champion. Ricketts and Cuff are playing in the Pacific Coast Amateur.

Morse Cup competition pits three-man teams from the 14 amateur golf associations across the Western U.S. that make up the Pacific Coast Golf Assn.

Hogarth will represent the Southern California Public Links Golf Assn. along with Ricketts and Guy Livesay of La Habra, while Steinberg is playing for the defending champion Southern California Golf Assn. with Cuff and Mark Johnson of Helendale.

Jason Gore of Valencia, who has since turned professional, won the Pacific Coast Amateur title last year on the South Course at the Makena Golf Resort on Maui in Hawaii.

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It may be harder to get into the U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament this year, but the applications keep coming.

Last year a Southern California-record 540 players tried to qualify for the U.S. Amateur. Although the USGA lowered the maximum handicap index allowed for qualifiers from 3.4 to 2.4, that total was nearly matched this year with 501 trying to qualify at six Southern California sites, including Aug. 3 at Saticoy Country Club in Somis.

Other sites include: Seven Oaks Country Club in Bakersfield (Aug. 3); Pauma Valley Country Club (Aug. 3); Western Hills Golf and Country Club in Chino Hills (Aug. 6); the SCGA Members' Club (Aug. 6) and Industry Hills Golf Club (Aug. 11).

There are 64 players from the region entered, including Hogarth, Brandon Jones of Agoura Hills, Jason Semelsberger of Newhall, Al D'Amato of Simi Valley and Tim Wren of Oxnard, all of whom played in the event last year.

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Azuceno Arevalo of Oxnard received a $5,000 college scholarship from the Southern California Public Links Golf Assn. Foundation.

Arevalo, who will attend Stanford in the fall, was sponsored by the Buenaventura Golf Club.

The scholarship is not restricted to golfers but is awarded based more on academics and financial need.

"It's for someone who isn't going to college to major in golf," SCPLGA President Craig Kessler said.

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