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ON THE GREEN | CHIP SHOTS

Booth Has at Least 2 Amateur Appearances Left

July 28, 1999|MARTIN BECK and PETER YOON and STEVE KRESAL

Kellee Booth is getting closer to getting a job. Maybe.

Booth, the top-ranked women's amateur in the nation, plans to make a decision about whether to turn professional after the U.S. Women's Amateur next month in Asheville, N.C.

Booth, a former Santa Margarita High and Arizona State standout, has said how she fares this summer will help determine if she should go pro or spend another year as an amateur and try to make the Curtis Cup team for a third time.

Judging from the way she's playing, Booth is ready for the LPGA. On July 17 she won her fourth amateur tournament of the year, the Trans National at Oak Tree in Edmond, Okla.

That comes on the heels of Booth's victory last month at the Women's Western and a solid showing at the U.S. Women's Open, where she was in position to finish in the top 20 until an quadruple-bogey eight on her 72nd hole left her tied for 37th. In March she won a Futures Tour event in Riverside.

Now she's preparing for the North & South Amateur next week at Pinehurst and her biggest target, the U.S. Amateur Aug. 9-14 at Biltmore Forest Country Club.

Booth took about 10 days off after the Trans National and returned home to Coto de Caza. Today she and her father Mike plan to leave for Oklahoma City, where they'll pick up the family's "East Coast" car and drive to North Carolina, said her mother, Jane Bastanchury Booth.

Bastanchury Booth said her daughter is still mulling her options. "I don't know that she has made up her mind at this point," she said. "I think it is partially made up but things could change.

"We'll just have to wait and see; we don't even know. We haven't discussed it with her because she's the one who has to make the decision."

U.S. AMATEUR UPDATE

Steve Conway of Irvine, Ryan Donovan of Yorba Linda and David Rhorer of Corona del Mar qualified Monday for the U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 16-22 at Pebble Beach.

Donovan, an Esperanza High graduate who attends UCLA, was medalist in qualifying at Pauma Valley Country Club, where he shot 70-67.

Conway, who will be a senior at Santa Margarita, shot 73-71 and finished second to John Ray Leary of Culver City (68-73) at Mission Viejo Country Club. Conway will return to Pebble Beach, site of his improbable run to the quarterfinals of the California Amateur Championship last month.

Rhorer (70-75), who played collegiately at UCLA, finished a stroke behind Conway at Mission Viejo.

RHO NOW FOURTH

With her victory at the Junior World Championships last week at Torrey Pines, Angela Rho of Fullerton earned 60 national ranking points and moved to No. 4 in the Golfweek/Titleist National rankings with 440 points.

Rho, who will be a senior at Sonora, finished one shot ahead of Virada Nirapathpongporn of Thailand, who is ranked No. 2. Top-ranked Candie Kung of Fountain Valley did not play last week, but her 880 points are still good enough for a commanding 205 point lead over Nirapathpongporn. Lee Anne Hardin of Martinsville, Ind., the reigning U.S. Girls' Junior champion, is third with 595.

All four are playing this week in the Betsy Rawls Girls' Championship in Wilmington, Del. The winner gets 100 points and the runner-up gets 80. Third through fifth is worth 60 points.

Ron Won of Irvine moved up to No. 6 in the boys' rankings after his runner-up finish in the AJGA tournament at Coto de Caza last week. He has 315 points. Hunter Mahan of McKinney, Texas, a former Yorba Linda resident, is ranked No. 1 with 650 points.

Nico Bollini of Yorba Linda is 25th with 120 points.

BOLLINI TIED FOR 44TH

Bollini shot 3-over-par 73 Tuesday and is tied for 44th after the first round of stroke play in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in York, Pa. Bollini, who will be a junior at Servite, is eight strokes behind leader J.C. Deacon of Canada. Deacon shot a tournament-record 65. The top 64 players after today's second round will advance to match play.

PUTTING WOES

The American Putting Tour got off to a shaky start in Southern California when the tournament July 24 at Green River drew only 15 participants.

The 23-hole stroke-play putting tournaments have been drawing fields of up to 200 players in Las Vegas, where the tour started.

Richard Wade, director of operations for the APT, said it will probably take some time for the idea to catch on.

"We're thinking it will take three to five events to generate the interest," Wade said. "We just need to get people out and then go tell their buddies what a great time they had."

David Rose of Las Vegas won the Green River event by shooting 43. Wade, of Huntington Beach, was third.

The next APT event in Southern California is Aug. 14 at The Greens in Irvine.

BOATMAN TIES FOR FOURTH

Justin Boatman, who played at Dana Hills High and Saddleback College, finished tied for fourth at the Long Beach Open, which ended Sunday at El Dorado.

Boatman had three rounds of 68 and another of 69 to finish at 273. Boatman won $6,233.

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