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Golf: Costa Mesa City Championship has quite a history

July 20, 2001

Richard Dunn

COSTA MESA - Most people knew there was something special about

Mark O'Meara's golf game when he played in the Will Jordan Classic in

1979 at Costa Mesa Golf & Country Club.

O'Meara, then of Mission Viejo and now a star on the PGA Tour, won the

U.S. Amateur championship a week earlier in Cleveland, Ohio, defeating

John Cook in the final, 8 and 7, before arriving in Costa Mesa.

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The late Joe Costello, who founded the popular Will Jordan Classic --

now officially the Costa Mesa City Championship -- in 1973 when he was president of the Costa Mesa men's club, considered O'Meara's victory here

in '79 as one of the championship's greatest moments.

"(O'Meara) drove all the way from Cleveland to Costa Mesa to play in

this tournament," Costello once said. "That's how important this

tournament was to O'Meara."

In 1979, O'Meara and Brad Greer squared off in a two-hole playoff,

before O'Meara won, and, shortly thereafter, turned pro. O'Meara won the

Masters and British Open in 1998.

But O'Meara isn't the only former Costa Mesa city champion to achieve

a legacy in golf.

In 1974, the second year of the Will Jordan Classic, then-USC standout

Scott Simpson won at Costa Mesa, defeating, of all people, his father,

Joe, on the 18th hole with a 45-yard wedge shot to within four feet of

the flag.

Simpson, who sank the four-footer to win that year, won the 1987 U.S.

Open.

One of the more recent Costa Mesa city champions, Bryan Saltus

(Newport Harbor High), could be the next one to make it big. The 1995 and

'96 Costa Mesa champion qualified for the Canadian Tour this summer,

finishing tied for fifth out of 140 players in a qualifier at Kamloops,

British Columbia.

Saltus, 30, won the San Francisco Open and a $20,000 first-place check

in early May, after taking third at the Tommy Bahama Newport Beach Open

in April at Newport Beach Country Club.

In the three-round San Francisco Open at Palo Alto Municipal Golf

Club, Saltus shot a blazing 67-68-65--200, tying a course record on the

final day and winning by four shots.

The former Big Canyon Country Club caddie, whose home course is Costa

Mesa Golf & Country Club (Los Lagos Course), is sponsoring himself on the

Canadian Tour.

As for this year's 29th annual Costa Mesa City Championship Aug. 4-5

-- the July 20 entry deadline has been extended two days with the field

limited to the first 320 players -- Scott Osterhout of Huntington Beach

will try to defend his title.

Osterhout won the Costa Mesa City Championship last year, beating Eric

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