GLF: Four champions are back to reclaim SB City title

Brian Helton is the defending champion at the Santa Barbara City Golf Championship to be played this weekend at Santa Barbara Golf Club.

Brian Helton is the defending champion at the Santa Barbara City Golf Championship to be played this weekend at Santa Barbara Golf Club. (Presidio Sports Photo)

Four past winners, including defending champion Brian Helton, lead the field for the 54th annual Santa Barbara City Golf Championship this weekend at the Santa Barbara Golf Club.

The three-day Memorial Day weekend tournament tees off on Saturday with shotgun starts at 1:30 p.m. for the championship flight and 7:30 a.m. for all other flights. The tees times are reversed for Sunday: the championship flight at 7:30 a.m. and the other flights at 1:30.

The top 30 percent of each flight will make the cut for Monday?s final round. The tee times on Monday are slated between 8 a.m. to 10:30, with the leaders going off between 10 and 10:30.

?This is one of the strongest amateur fields in the state,? Chris Talerico, the director of golf at SBGC, said about this year?s tournament.

Helton is back after winning last year?s tournament title by two strokes over Shane Lebow, Dave Siordia and Brandon Gama.

Gama is one of the former champions who will be looking to claim the title again. When he won in 2008, he set the tournament scoring record with a total of 17-under 193.

Also back are two-time winner Kevin Marsh (2004-2005) and John Pate, tournament?s all-time winningest player with six championships (1980, 1989-90, ?93, ?95 and 2001).

Other players who figure to be strong title contenders include Lebow, a member of Santa Barbara High?s 2010 state title team who just completed his junior season at Stanford; Allen Geiberger, the son of former PGA Tour star, Al ?Mr. 59? Geiberger; Brett Silvernail of the UCSB golf team and locals Jordan Scott and George Downing. Downing recently qualified for the California State Amateur.

Talerico said the tournament has a full field with 200 players.

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