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52 youth compete in golf tournament
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Hughson's Ryan Lonergan and Jack Rodgers worked on chipping and putting with PGA teaching professional Greg Silva for two weeks at the River Oaks golf course.

"He taught us a lot of things," said Rodgers, 13.

Lonergan and Rodgers applied what they learned at a tournament for juniors, ages 11-13, on the front nine of the Ceres golf course on Friday. The intermediate golfers had a lot of fun even though they failed to take home the top prize.

"We're getting better," said Lonergan, 13.

About 130 youth signed up for the first session of the 11th annual River Oaks junior golf program. Approximately 52 of those players--beginner, intermediate and advanced--participated in the program's tournament. The top-three finishers in two of the three flights received trophies.

"They gained experience so they won't be afraid to play in a tournament later on," said Rob Phipps, River Oaks golf professional.

Bobby McFarlane and Fredrick Palmer finished first in their respective age divisions. They were also rewarded for posting the two lowest scores. McFarlane and Palmer will join more than 20 instructors from the junior golf program and play 18 holes of golf at the Greenhorn Creek Golf Club, located just outside of Angels Camp, at the end of the summer.

McFarlane, a member of the Ceres High boys golf team during the 2003-2004 school year, placed first in a field of eight with a 2-over-par 33 on the back nine course in the 14-and-older flight. He had one birdie, five bars and three bogeys.

Cameron Lund placed second with a 13-over 44. He had three pars, two bogeys, two double bogeys, one triple bogey and one quadruple bogey.

Kelley Lund, Cameron's brother, placed third with a 15-over 46. He had two pars, one double, four double bogeys and two triple bogeys.

Around 24 players vied for titles in the 11-13 flight, which was played on the top nine course.

Palmer beat Christina Uhalde by one stroke.

Palmer placed first with a 3-over 30. He had one birdie, four pars and four bogeys.

Palmer trailed by two strokes with three holes remaining. He finished with a birdie, par and bogey.

Uhalde placed second with a 4-over 31. She had one birdie, three pars and five bogeys on the day.

Uhalde posted three straight bogeys at the end of the day.

Daniel Noakes placed third with a 10-over 37. He had one par, six bogeys and two double bogeys.

About 20 players in the 10-and-under flight, including Zachary Turnbow, Jesse Lopes, Trent Dams, Vincent Apodaca, Emily Pinhen, Helen Barnes, Daniel Barnes, Austin Barnes, Chase Gonzalez, Leanna Jasek-Rysdahl, Delaney Stewart, Caitlin Glass, Trenton Flippo, Brentnie Flippo, Darren Trainor, Jackson Michael, Mason Donasbeino, Stone Centeno, Halle Clemeti and Anthony Fernandes, played for fun on five holes.

The junior golf program is being staged in two four-week sessions: June 15-July 9, and July 20-August 13. The program has served more than 3,000 boys and girls, ages 7 to 17, since its creation in 1994.

"It keeps a lot of kids off the streets and out of trouble," Phipps said. "That's the purpose of this program." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier