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Playing Skins For a Cure!!


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Ken Murray Jr., teaching pro at Marshall Canyon Golf Course now in his second year, figures Tuesdays in the summer should be competitive golf days.

So Murray is urging players of all ability levels to join his Marshall Canyon Skins Game twice a month. It all started Tuesday.

"All the skins are gross," says Murray with a smile. "Sorry, no net skins."

The next game is scheduled for 11 a.m. on July 8. The price: only $45.

Course conditions at the rolling 42-year-old layout in the La Verne foothills have never been better, according to several hard-to-please sources. They include Pete Waasdorp, a 3-indexer out of Montclair, and my son Pat, who teaches golf in Carpinteria.

They played Marshall early Saturday and came off the 18th green with nothing but praise for the entire facility.

"The greens are the best I've seen in 27 years of playing the course," says Waasdorp. "Every green was in top shape, and the fairways were beautiful. I was simply amazed."

Pat joined in, "It's a new course in very good condition. Every green, every fairway was excellent."

General manager Jamie Duffin, pleased to hear laudatory comments, credits greenskeeper Jose Santana and his crew for the "super shape" the course is in. Santana is the highly regarded greenskeeper who maintained El Rancho Verde Golf Course in Rialto so well before signing in with Duffin.

"Jose has been with us for about a year and a half, and he's done




a fantastic job," Duffin said Tuesday. "The recent heat wave worried us, but our greens came through it just fine."

So, with Santana, his crew, and Murray helping to direct, Marshall Canyon rates as a must-play course this summer. You might even try for a skin.

Golfers entering the 24th annual Inland Valley Amateur Championship Aug. 30-31 will not only be competing against top players, but they'll be joining in the battle against cancer.

A portion of each entry fee will go towards the highly respected Robert and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center at Pomona Valley Hospital.

The Center has recently announced the formation of a new Lung Cancer Program designed to improve treatment and early detection of cancer.

The "Valley" is scheduled for the North and South courses at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills. The tournament is open to all amateur players - regardless of ability levels or age - and they'll all be helping to treat cancer.

Another philanthropic golf group, the travelling Folga foursomes, will tee off Thursday at 9 a.m. at Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas.

The foursome of Mark Batista, Redondo Beach; Dan Goldsand, and Jack Hazelrigg of Chino Hills; and Joe Toledo, Chino, will lead the June parade.

Entry is $50. Proceeds from all Folga outings go to cancer research at the City of Hope.

Tiger won the U.S. Open, but Rocco Mediate, a veteran on the PGA Tour, also turned out to be a champion.

Rocco, 45, and Tiger Woods, 32, made big-time golf fun again, convincing millions of non-golfers that the sport was meant for everyone, and made us all proud to be golfers.

Mediate smiled a lot, answered goofy questions, and seemed at ease with himself in spite of a heart-breaking one-stroke defeat.

"I had a blast," Rocco said after the playoff.

"Unbelievable, my best day on a golf course."

We can learn from Rocco Mediate: graciousness in defeat, thoughtfulness toward other players and the gallery, unflinching adherence to a good swing that served him well. And most of all, refusing to succumb to pressure, stress, difficultlies and bad breaks.

He kept his cool, no whining.

He said, "I just kept hangin' in there." Don't we need that attitude in real life?

Tim Ballinger of Rancho Cucamonga, a longtime admirer of his favorite player, Jack Nicklaus, also was impressed with Mediate and his gallant battle against a young legend, albeit a limping one.

"Rocco's a people's player," Ballinger, who walked with the leaders at Torrey three days - Friday through Sunday - said. "We can all connect with him."

Tim is right; we're tuned in.

Mediate is entered in the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich. starting Thursday. He won it in 2000 so watch the television ratings go sky high.

Ontario resident and Chaffey High School graduate Dr. Frank "Bud" Taylor won the California Amateur Championship in both 1954 and `55.

Josh Anderson, 19, of Murrieta, the 2007 champ, faltered last week in the 97th California Amateur when he was eliminated in match play.

Locally, Tim Cha, 21, of Chino Hills now attending UC Irvine, qualified for match play after shooting 73-71-144 at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale and Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake. Cha won two matches and reached the elite eight (quarter finals) where he lost to Bermuda Dunes' Scott McGihon, 1-up.

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