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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AMATEUR GOLF

Pate Is Confused, but He's Also Leading by Two Shots

July 13, 2002|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

John Pate has no confidence in his golf game, he has no control over his shots and he has no idea how he will play over the weekend in the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship. What he has, however, is the tournament lead after shooting rounds of 71 and 69 in the first two rounds Friday at El Caballero Country Club for a two-round total of two-under-par 140.

Pate, 41, from Santa Barbara, was befuddled about how he ended up with a two-stroke lead over USC sophomore Nico Bollini of Yorba Linda and Stanford senior Ron Won of Irvine.

"I pretty much pull-hooked every shot," said the older brother of PGA Tour player Steve Pate. "I just made a bunch of putts. I have no confidence going into tomorrow. I could shoot a million over the weekend."

Pate, who won the SCGA amateur championship at Industry Hills Golf Club in 1999, was three under in his first round before bogeys on three of his last four dropped him to even. He made four birdies and a bogey in the afternoon. He said the first two rounds Friday were vastly different from his start three years ago.

"When I won, I hit a lot of good shots but didn't make any putts," Pate said. "Today, I made a lot of putts."

Bollini, who was medalist last week in the North-South Amateur championship at Pinehurst in North Carolina, was the first-round leader with a 69. He endured a bogey-double bogey-bogey stretch on the front nine of his 73 in the afternoon.

Won, who dominated as a junior player at University High, has struggled with his game since starting at Stanford, but he said things are finally starting to turn around. His second-round 68 was the low round of the day.

Defending champion John Merrick of Long Beach is four shots behind Pate after rounds of 70-74.

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