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Tournament Director Waits on Woods, Then Scrambles

November 22, 2000|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Now that the tournament field is set for the Hyundai Team Matches, tournament director Gary Pollard is breathing a little easier.

Pollard has been scrambling to fill the field for the last month because he had been holding on to hopes that Tiger Woods might play in the Dec. 15-17 event at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast.

Woods gave his official "No" Oct. 9, leaving just two months for Pollard to complete the PGA Tour portion of the matches, which feature four teams from each of the three major U.S. tours competing in three separate match-play tournaments.

Jean Van De Velde and Steve Flesch got the final spots, Pollard announced last week, but by holding out for Woods, the options were beginning to wear thin.

"Our rules say we have to go off the [PGA Tour official] money list," Pollard said. "When Tiger said no, we kept running in to scheduling conflicts with other players. Ernie Els was going to South Africa, Hal Sutton was going here, Paul Azinger was going there."

Bob May, who grew up in La Habra and seemed a natural after grabbing national headlines for his showdown with Woods in the PGA Championship, also could not play. But Pollard said he is pleased with Van De Velde and Flesch.

Van De Velde, from France, is best know for his runner-up finish in the 1999 British Open when he blew a three-stroke lead on the final hole. Flesch, the 1998 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, finished the season 13th on the money list.

They join defending champions Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia, Phil Mickelson and Rocco Mediate, and Tom Lehman and Duffy Waldorf as teams from the PGA.

Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson are defending champions of the Senior PGA Tour portion. They will be challenged by Gary McCord and John Jacobs, Allen Doyle and Dana Quigley, and Bruce Fleisher and David Graham.

Juli Inkster and Dottie Pepper will defend their title in the LPGA division against Annika Sorenstam and Lori Kane, Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, and Grace Park and Kelli Kuehne.

Spots are still available for the two-day Pro-Am Dec. 13-14. For information call the tournament office at (949) 759-5175.

Tickets for the event are $25 for Friday practice rounds, $35 for competition on Saturday and Sunday or $65 for a three-day pass. To purchase tickets call the tournament office or Ticketmaster at (877) 484-3014.

LOCALS RULE

The women's golf team at UC Irvine has a distinct local flavor.

Coach Kelly Crawford said Tuesday that Sunny Lee of University High, Shelly Raworth of Villa Park High, Karlie Ward of Saddleback College and Hye-Yoon Jung of Fullerton College have signed to play for the Anteaters when they begin play in September 2001.

"I'm pretty excited," Crawford said. "I can't wait for the season to start."

Stella Lee of Irvine High signed last week. Crawford said she hopes to sign two more players.

PINNACLE GOLF

Construction on Black Gold Golf Course in Yorba Linda is nearing completion and course officials anticipate a Spring 2001 opening for the course designed by Arthur Hills.

Green fees have not yet been set for the city-owned course that will be run by Kemper Sports Management, but Mark Hoesing, regional manager for Kemper Sports, said they would be similar to the fees at Coyote Hills in Fullerton.

Coyote Hills charges $85 Monday through Thursday and $105 Friday through Sunday.

Hills said the course will be a challenging test for golfers of all abilities.

One feature of the course will be the tee box on the par-four 12th hole. At an elevation of approximately 750 feet, course officials are touting it as the highest elevation for a tee box in Orange County.

PASSING GRADES

Pat Burke of Coto de Caza and Chris Tidland, formerly of Valencia High, advanced to the final stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying tournament by finishing in the top 23 at their respective second-stage tournaments.

Tidland, who went to Oklahoma State and lives in Stillwater, Okla., shot 72-70-74-68--284 during the second stage at Black Horse in Seaside. He finished tied for fourth, two strokes behind stage winner Tim Petrovic of New Port Richie, Fla.

Burke shot 72-70-70-76--288 and tied for 17th at Oak Valley in Beaumont, surviving 50 mile-an-hour winds during the final round. Mark Johnson of Helendale shot 277 and won the stage.

Those advancing to the final stage are guaranteed at least a conditional exemption for the Buy.com Tour and can qualify for a full PGA Tour exemption. The final stage is Nov. 29-Dec. 4 at PGA West in La Quinta.

Chris Berry, formerly of Esperanza High and UNLV, shot 77-76-75-74--292 at Black Horse and missed advancing by two shots.

Among the others who did not advance are: Justin Boatman of Aliso Viejo (77-76-75-74--302 at Black Horse); Ahmad Bateman of Huntington Beach (71-75-70-81--297 at Oak Valley); Steve Runge, formerly of Capistrano Valley High (76-69-70-76--291 at Bear Lakes in West Palm Beach, Fla.), and Neale Smith of Tustin (73-73-76-71--293) at Bear Lakes.

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