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SENIOR GOLF AT NEWPORT BEACH | SENIOR GOLF NOTEBOOK
/ STEVE KRESAL

Tournament Succeeds in Fund-Raising Role

March 16, 1998

Hoag Hospital Foundation's first trip to the big time of professional golf was an unexpected success.

The foundation, which has run a mini-tour event as its main fund-raiser for the past 23 years, took over the Toshiba Senior Classic this year and raised at least $600,000 for the hospital.

The figure is an early estimate, but the final accounting won't be completed for about six weeks. The Special Olympics of Orange County also will receive a small share because Monday's pro-am was designated partly for its benefit.

"We would have accepted breaking even," tournament co-chairman Jake Rohrer said, "so we're very, very pleased."

Not bad for a group that took over an ailing tournament in August and didn't have a tournament director in place until mid-October.

Rohrer and Hank Adler, the other chairman, credited the sponsors and the clear weather that dominated the week, including the Wednesday and Thursday pro-ams that cost $5,500 a player.

"Next year we're going for two commas," said Adler who has set the fund-raising goal at a million.

Attendance also helped. Based on ticket sales and tournament badges, the final-round crowd was close to 20,000, tournament director Jeff Purser said.

Purser said the biggest problem the tournament faced was parking, because the course is in such a confined area.

"We're going to clean up this mess," he said, "then we're going to write everyone we can think of a thank-you note. Then, we'll start to sell for next year."

*

Jerry McGee had one question for playing partner Harry Toscano after Sunday's final round.

McGee walked up to Toscano near the scorer's tent to ask why he was one of the four players served with a deposition subpoena at the start of the second round.

The subpoenas--also given to Don January, Bob Murphy and Miller Barber--relate to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that Toscano filed in July against the PGA tour saying it conspires to limit the playing field at senior events.

There are eight open spots in each tournament for non-exempt players. Four are taken by sponsor's exemptions and the other four go to players with the best scores in the Monday qualifying event that Toscano won at Los Serranos in Chino Hills. The field totals 78.

"He told me he thought I might be sympathetic toward his cause," McGee said. "I just grinned."

As soon as Sunday's pairings were announced, McGee said the kidding began about how he and Toscano would end up in an argument or that McGee would walk off after nine holes.

"As far as Harry and I," McGee said, "I was a gentleman toward him and he was toward me. . . . I didn't want to ask him on the first tee because I didn't want to upset him and didn't want to get upset."

Toscano made bogeys on the final two holes to shoot par 71 and finish at two-under 211. He tied for 23rd and earned $11,022.

"I don't have anything against the players," Toscano said, "it's the system."

*

So you know: Bob Murphy, who won the event in 1997, shot 75-72-69 to finish at 216.

Jim Colbert, the 1996 champion, closed with a 72 and was at 210. George Archer, who won the first Toshiba event when it was at Mesa Verde Country Club, had a three-round total of 215.

* Ray Carasco, a local teaching professional who earned one of the four spots for qualifiers, shot rounds of 74-72-75 for a 221, which earned him a tie for 67th and $1,114.67.

* Larry Nelson had the second-best round of the day, a six-under 65 that included birdies at 17 and 18. His 206 total left him in a fifth-place tie.

* Calvin Peete had chest pains at the course Sunday and didn't play in the final round. He was taken to Hoag Hospital, where he was examined and released.

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