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ON THE GREEN

Choe Wins Third Straight Cup Event

September 13, 2000|PETER YOON

It wasn't a surprise that Jay Choe won the SCPGA Junior Tour Toyota Cup Tournament of Champions last weekend.

Choe, 16, of Yorba Linda, shot 70-70--140 at the PGA of Southern California Golf Club and won by three shots over Greg Wells of Glendora for his third Tour Cup victory in three events this summer.

The surprising part of the victory was that it didn't involve a playoff.

Or a chip-in.

Or a player named Choi.

His last two victories included all of the above.

On Aug. 1 at Lakeside in Toluca Lake, Choe finished regulation tied with James Choi of Lakewood. Choi hit his approach on the first playoff hole to within 20 feet and Choe was in a greenside bunker. Choe holed out for birdie and Choi missed his putt.

On Aug. 29 at Robinson Ranch in Santa Clarita, Choe and Jay Choi of Buena Park ended regulation tied. On the first playoff hole, Choe hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker and had to lay up with his second shot. Choi hit to within 10 feet. From about 45 yards out, Choe knocked it in and Choi missed his putt.

It may seem like Choe has an edge over those named Choi, but Choe said he was merely trying to extend the playoff each time.

"I don't know the secret," said Choe, a junior at Esperanza High. "In sudden death, it just goes in. I wasn't trying to make either one. I was just trying to get it close."

The victory over the weekend capped a remarkable summer for Choe. He had three top-10 finishes in American Junior Golf Assn. tournaments and finished fourth in the Inland Empire Amateur Championship, where he won the year before.

Choe hopes he can carry the momentum through his junior year and into next summer, when the watchful eyes of college coaches will scrutinize his every stroke.

"This will help my confidence a lot," Choe said. "Golf is such a mental game, so it will make a difference. I've improved a lot compared to last year, especially in the mental part of the game."

Apparently, the short game isn't bad, either.

FIELD FILLING OUT

Half the field for the Hyundai Team matches is set, with the LPGA Tour team of Grace Park and Kelli Kuehne the latest additions, tournament executive producer Terry Jastrow said Tuesday.

Phil Mickelson and Rocco Mediate of the PGA Tour and Gary McCord and John Jacobs of the Senior PGA Tour already had committed to join defending champions Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson of the Senior Tour, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia of the PGA Tour and three-time defending LPGA Tour champions Dottie Pepper and Juli Inkster.

The matches, to be played Dec. 15-17 at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, feature four two-player teams from each of the three tours.

For tickets: (949) 759-5175.

OC IN TOP 50

Orange County was ranked No. 48 in the "Top 50 Greatest Golf Destinations in the World" released in the September issue of Golf Digest.

Two years ago, nine county courses formed an alliance to promote Orange County as a single golf destination.

The courses, Pelican Hill, Tijeras Creek, Tustin Ranch, Aliso Viejo, Oak Creek, Strawberry Farms, Coyote Hills, Monarch Beach and Talega, which is still under construction, were chosen based on a variety of courses, a strong golf ambience, setting, other attractions, accommodations, value and ease of travel.

The Monterey Peninsula in Northern California topped the list, followed by St. Andrews, Scotland and Pinehurst/Southern Pines, N.C.

Orange County ranked third among California destinations, behind Monterey and Palm Springs/Palm Desert.

KUNG NO. 1

Candie Kung of USC, a Fountain Valley high graduate, is ranked No. 1 in both the Golfworld College Coaches poll and the Mastercard Collegiate golf rankings.

Kung, an All-American selection last year, won the Pac-10 individual title, finished 13th at the NCAA Championship and finished last season ranked No. 3. She is the second USC women's golfer in the last three years to begin the season ranked No. 1. Jennifer Rosales, now on the LPGA Tour, was the top-ranked woman in 1998.

TOWERSEY LEADS

Marianne Towersey of Newport Beach and Karen Mabli of Palos Verdes Estates shot 76 Sept. 5 at Santa Ana Country Club to lead a group of 19 qualifiers for the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship.

Other county qualifiers: Lisa Stanley of Laguna Niguel, Carol Kofahl of Huntington Beach and Merry Morgan of Mission Viejo.

The U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur, for amateur women 25 and older, is Oct. 3-8 at Big Canyon in Newport Beach.

LYFORD WINS SENIORS

Ted Lyford of Redlands survived a double bogey on the par-3 16th and won the SCGA Senior Amateur championship Tuesday at Mesa Verde Country Club.

Lyford, who shot 73-71--144, finished one shot ahead of former champion Paul Ladin of Westlake Village, Richard Davis of Los Angeles and top county finisher Van Rhebeck of Laguna Hills. All three shot one-over-par 71 in the final round.

In the first Super Seniors competition (players 65 and over), Bryan Conn of El Cajon matched his first round 73 for a 146 total and a one-stroke victory over David Feundlich of Rancho Santa Fe.

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