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ON THE GREEN | BOYS' GOLF

Section to Review Practice Rounds Rule

May 17, 2000|PETER YOON

A protest filed by Woodbridge High's golf team prior to the Southern Section Individual Regional tournament was rejected by section commissioner Jim Staunton but has resulted in the section's agreement to review the rule regarding practice rounds at playoff sites.

The rule in question prohibits practice rounds at any playoff sites sites after April 15. Woodbridge was disqualified from the Southern Section team finals after admitting to breaking that rule with an illegal practice round before the May 8 South Coast Divisional tournament at El Prado Golf Club.

Woodbridge officials then called for action against several participants in the Individual Regional tournament Monday at SeaCliff Country Club, contending that those players also violated the practice-round rule by playing in regular-season matches at SeaCliff after April 15.

Huntington Beach, which uses SeaCliff as its home course, played regular-season matches against Newport Harbor, Los Alamitos and Edison after the practice-round deadline.

Had the protest been upheld, Woodbridge players John Clarke and Billy Moon would have advanced to the Individual Regional instead of Newport Harbor players Kevin Olson and Daniel Kush, based on their finish in the Sea View League individual tournament.

Huntington Beach players Andy Anderson, Kevin Kohara and Jason Katzen and Edison's Daniel Lee also would have been replaced.

But Staunton ruled that since Huntington Beach had scheduled its matches at SeaCliff long before SeaCliff was secured as a regional site, no violation had occurred.

He added that Huntington Beach Coach Bill Seckington was instrumental in securing SeaCliff as a site.

"We don't want to punish them for doing the section a service," Staunton said. "The rule very clearly says 'practice rounds.' It was my basic determination that [the regular-season matches at SeaCliff] were not practice rounds."

The current rule does not specifically address regular-season matches played at playoff sites. It simply states that players and coaches are prohibited from playing, walking or being on the course.

Woodbridge Coach Tracy Roberts can't figure out why regular-season matches are allowed at playoff sites after the deadline with that rule in place.

"The reason of the protest was to point out the ambiguity of the rule," Roberts said. "I never expected anyone to get disqualified."

Staunton said that the section golf advisory committee will be asked to review the rule in its next meeting.

"There is no question that the wording of that rule will be addressed," Staunton said.

Five of the six players from Huntington Beach, Newport Harbor and Edison playing in the tournament Monday at SeaCliff finished in the top 24 and qualified for the section finals. Mike Clarke and Nate Yates of Woodbridge, the Sea View League individual champion and runner-up, both missed by a shot.

NEW FACE

John Alber, Director of Rules and Competitions for the Southern California Golf Assn., has accepted an invitation to join the Southern Section golf advisory committee, he said Tuesday.

Alber, an expert in the USGA Rules of Golf, will advise the committee on interpretation and enforcement of the rules.

OPEN QUALIFYING

Several of the top prep players in the county will play in U.S. Open local qualifying today at Aliso Viejo Golf Course.

Brian Sinay and Ryan Miller of University, Kevin Olson of Newport Beach, and a foursome of Santa Margarita players: Steve Conway, Taylor Wood, Chris Gallagher and Dave Hawkins are in the 102-player field competing for spots in a June 5 sectional qualifier in Daly City and the chance at a berth in the U.S. Open June 15-18 at Pebble Beach.

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If you have an item or idea for the Boys' Golf report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at peter.yoon@latimes.com

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