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Funk not tight, even with Allergan group

GOLF: Pro, making his debut at Toshiba Classic, enjoys time with foursome who works for company that produces Botox.

March 06, 2008|By Soraya Nadia McDonald

NEWPORT BEACH — “Loose” seemed like an odd choice of word to describe a round of golf, but it was the first one that came out.

Amateurs Mike Ball, Ray Diradoorian, Julian Gangolli, and Robin Sears were all guffawing after their first round with pro Fred Funk in the first half of the Toshiba Classic pro-am Wednesday.

“Just listen to them,” Funk said amid laughs. “They’re actually the best amateur team I’ve ever been with.”

The foursome work for Irvine-based Allergan, the pharmaceutical company that produces Botox, which doctors inject to achieve an effect that is anything but, well, loose.

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“We’re the Botox company,” said Diradoorian, who was playing in his third straight Toshiba pro-am. “That’s our flagship drug. We make lots of other drugs for eye infections, for dry eyes, for obesity, for facial aesthetics.”

It was easy to read the group’s faces as they finished up on the first hole at Newport Beach Country Club, having started with the second at 12:30 p.m. The group finished tied for fifth with a score of 54.

“It was a great day,” Diradoorian said. “We saw [Funk’s] swing and we just patterned our swings after it. We’re in the money right now.”

“If my swing looks like theirs ...” Funk shook his head. “I’m not playing.”

Last year, Diradoorian played with Curtis Strange and Jim Thorpe.

“For us golfers that come out here, these guys are just really nice guys,” Diradoorian said. “I mean, they don’t have any egos. They’re helping you with your swing, they’re helping you line your putts up. Just really fun to be out here with them. And if you’re any kind of a golfer at all, it’s almost a religious experience getting to play with a pro.”

Diradoorian’s best shot was a birdie and he made par on the 17th hole.

“I had a shot for birdie, that’s that hole over the water, which is the money hole, and almost, almost sunk the birdie there,” Diradoorian said. “We did well.”

Pro Wayne Levi and amateurs Stan Lerch, Mike Nizard, Ken Burke, and Bill Willette sat atop the leader board at Wednesday’s end with a score of 51.

Funk, who won the Turtle Bay Championship on the Champions Tour last year, will be making his Toshiba debut when play starts Friday.

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