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Golf: Rolling numbers on the greens at Costa Mesa City Championship

August 05, 2001

Richard Dunn

COSTA MESA - With the leaderboard stacked in the 29th annual Costa

Mesa City Championship with low-scoring amateurs, the conditions at Costa

Mesa Golf & Country Club were nothing less than professional Saturday.

One of the reasons for the record number of players in the field --

320 registered -- is because of the reputation of Costa Mesa

superintendent Jim Fetterly, who has reached a pinnacle this weekend in

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the two-day championship with players in near disbelief about the Los

Lagos and Mesa Linda golf courses, owned by the city and operated by Mesa

Verde Partners.

Since Mesa Verde Partners took over in the early 1990s, and especially

since Fetterly was hired as superintendent three years ago, the two golf

courses have come full circle -- from threadbare fairways, pockmarked

greens and water hazards without water to the level of a private country

club.

"Jim's the best there is," Costa Mesa Country Club pro Jack Smith

said. "The players are raving about the greens. Not just the greens, but

the whole golf course. The greens are (Fetterly's) signature. I'd go on

the record to say they're the best municipal greens in Southern

California, and that's why a lot of people are playing."

Fountain Valley's Ken Wertzberger, one of three players Saturday to

card 66 on the shorter Mesa Linda course (par 70) and join today's midday

tee-time group of leaders, kept the ball under the hole on the fast

greens.

"The golf course is in fabulous shape and the greens are

unbelievable," said Wertzberger, who has twice knocked on the door of

winning the historic Costa Mesa City Championship, only to come up short

both times.

"Fetterly's reputation is kind of getting out. I think that's why

everybody's here this weekend," said tournament director Sean Collins, a

Costa Mesa pro for eight years.

With the 36-hole, two-course event notorious for playoffs, Collins

changed the leaders' tee times today from last to 11 a.m., which about in

the middle of the field. There are 150 players in the championship

flight, also a tournament record, he said.

"The golf course is in the best shape it's ever been, and this is the

best turnout we've ever had," Collins said.

Mike Drucker of Big Canyon Country Club, who plays in the senior

flight, added: "This is a Southern California treasure for a golf course.

You ought to get Huell Howser out here ... every year it gets better and

better."

Fetterly said this weekend's championship is the creme de la creme of

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