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Letendre on board for NBCC

Jones Cup

Club's new head professional, in his first week on the job, leads host NBCC into the 13th annual Jones Cup.

June 26, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Tony Letendre, the new head pro at Newport Beach Country Club, will be leading his team at the Jones Cup on Wednesday.
Tony Letendre, the new head pro at Newport Beach Country… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Tony Letendre said Monday that he hasn't heard too much about the Jones Cup, the annual golf tournament that tees off at Newport Beach Country Club at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

After a last-minute switch, Letendre is Newport Beach's team captain for the event. But it is easy to forgive him for not knowing about the particulars of the tournament.

Monday was Letendre's very first day on the job, as head professional at Newport Beach.

That hasn't stopped people around the course from giving him Jones Cup advice.

"Everybody that has been greeting me since I've been here has told me everything from, 'No pressure, but we think you'll play well,' to, 'I think this is our year to win,'" Letendre said. "I don't know what to expect. I don't know what to think. I'm just happy to get it airborne off the first tee."

Letendre, 35, came from Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, where he had been since the club opened eight years ago. He replaces Paul Hahn, both as the Newport Beach Country Club head pro and in the tournament. Hahn had played in all 12 previous editions of the Jones Cup.

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Letendre said the private club is under new ownership and decided to go a different direction. He said becoming the head pro at Newport Beach was a great opportunity to further his career.

When Letendre said he got the call from NBCC General Manager Perry Dickey about playing in the Jones Cup, the choice was easy.

"Shoot, I always like to play golf, so that's all right," Letendre said. "To come here in my first week and get to meet the club champion, the ladies' club champ and the senior club champ, that's a pretty good deal if you ask me."

Letendre will be the only first-timer on the host squad. Professional Carlo Borunda, men's champion Brian Lindley, senior men's champion Jan-Erik Palm and ladies' champion Debbie Fleming all have previous experience in the tournament.

Fleming has the most Jones Cup experience. This will be her fourth Jones Cup appearance in six years.

Lindley, who previously played the tournament in 2005 and '06, is back for his third go at it. He became the men's club champion in dramatic fashion earlier this month, when Lindley said he sunk a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win that title.

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