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Still a fun day for Newport

Jones Cup

Hosts enjoy tournament, but find it tough to make putts as they finish last at 13th annual Jones Cup.

June 28, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Scott Smeltzer…)

NEWPORT BEACH — One would be hard-pressed to find someone who had more fun at the 13th annual Jones Cup than Tony Letendre.

Letendre is in his first week as director of golf at Newport Beach Country Club. The professional's first shot on the first tee Wednesday at the club didn't exactly go very far.

The trick ball, provided to Letendre by NBCC assistant pro Robbie Maurer after Letendre pretended to forget his own ball, exploded on contact. Just after, Letendre addressed the laughing gallery.

"What I said was, 'I hope we have this much fun while I'm here, and thanks for welcoming me,'" Letendre said. "We just wanted to lighten it up, lighten the mood and make sure everybody was having a good time."

Newport Beach's five players did enjoy the time on their home course. It just wasn't nearly enough to win the tournament.

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The hosts finished last among the five teams, finishing at two-under par in the two best-ball format. Newport Beach, which consisted of Letendre, pro Carlo Borunda, men's club champ Brian Lindley, senior club champ Jan-Erik Palm and ladies' club champ Debbie Fleming, was never really in contention late for the title won again by Big Canyon in a playoff.

But Letendre also will remember how he sank a nearly 20-foot birdie putt on hole No. 18, winning $2 back from his teammate Borunda. Prior to teeing off Wednesday, Letendre said he lost the money to Borunda on the putting green.

"The deal was that it was double or nothing, whoever makes more birdies [during the round]," Letendre said. "Before we teed off, we decided as a team that everybody has to make three birdies to have a chance to win this thing. He and I were the only two that had a chance to get to our [three] birdies. I told him as I'm standing over that putt, I go, 'I'm getting to our three and I'm winning my money back.'

"It's not about the $2; it's just the fact that I don't have to pay him," he added with a laugh.

Early on, it looked like Borunda would double up. He sank birdie putts on the first two holes, single-handedly putting Newport Beach at two-under. Borunda also had an eagle opportunity on the par-five No. 3.

But he three-putted. Newport Beach, whose lone Jones Cup victory came in 2004, stayed at two-under. Only Lindley could make par on the par-three No. 4, and the hosts dropped back.

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