Golf Club Crowns New Champion
By Jack Beardwood
Morro Bay resident Les Wade shot a two round 151 then held on to win the Morro Bay Golf Club Championship, held Aug. 16 and 23 at the Poor Man’s Pebble Beach. Wade said he felt the pressure as he entered the second day of the event with a 3-stroke lead over San Luis Obispo resident, Cullin Rutherford, a Cal Poly student who took second with a 154. “I had to sit with it (the lead) for a whole week,” said Wade. “I’ve worked hard to get my game into the shape it is, so it’s very rewarding to see it come together for this tournament. My ball striking was really good today. I made a couple of clutch putts.” He also made three birdies on the final day. “I think it’s an excellent tournament. Very competitive,” he said. “The course is in excellent condition. And I won. It’s pretty hard not to like a tournament that you win.” He said it is the first time that he has won a club championship.
Rutherford previously won a club title in Nevada City, Calif. “It was close right up to the last hole,” he said. “It’s a great tournament. He (Wade) played great the whole time. It was good to play a fellow walker. Everybody else was in carts.” Rutherford said he has been a club member for a few months. “It’s just a great group of guys,” he said. “Everybody was very welcoming. I love the golf course. You can’t beat this area. You can’t beat the views. It’s the best course in the county.” He has a message for Wade: “I’m going to win it next year.”
Josh Heptig, superintendent of the county’s golf program, won the previous two events. He reportedly has been dealing with a shoulder problem. Wade was proud that at age 67 he was able to hold off the Poly student. “This is a game where an old guy can play with the young dogs,” he said. “It’s an amazing game where you can still be competitive.” A retired computer engineer, Wade couldn’t say enough about the course. “Morro Bay Golf Course is one of the best kept secrets in California for coastal golf. The ocean and bay views are superior to any course I’ve played.” He has played in Canada, Ireland, Washington, South Carolina and North Carolina.
It is not known how long the club championship has been contested at the golf course that was built 85 years ago. A plaque in the clubhouse has the names of champions as far back as 1971. Randy Kleinhammer, who won in 1994, 1980 and from 1996 to 2000, appears to have been the biggest winner. Dean Greene II won five straight from 1986-1990.
Rutherford, who hails from Nevada City, won low gross for the first flight. Don Albin of Los Osos won the low net at 139. In the second flight, low gross was Morro Bay resident Phillip Davis (169), while Don Hanak of Cambria won the low net (139). In flight three, Peter Wightman of Morro Bay was low gross champ with a 183, while Dave Dabritz of Cayucuos shot a 145 for low net.