Vaughn leads local team to Oldsmobile Scramble

Dayton Valley Country Club has hosted the Oldsmobile Scramble Sectional Golf Championships for eight consecutive years. So when Dayton's assistant pro Rick Vaughan and his team started on the first hole on Friday, Vaughan figured his team might have an advantage over the other 22 teams.

"It's both good and bad," Vaughan said about his team playing on their home course. "It's good because we know the greens, so it helps with putting. But we have a lot expectations, which can be bad."

In its 17th season, the Oldsmobile Scramble is the world's largest amateur golf tournament. Each sectional team is made up of five players, normally including one professional player.

But before sectionals, four-player teams must first win their local tournaments. But the rules change at sectionals, which then allows Vaughan and other course professionals to compete.

The winners of the 130 different sectional championships then qualify for the National Championships, held every September at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

"It's the greatest golf pro-am tournament in the country," said John Joseph, whose team represented El Macero Country Club in Sacramento, Calif.

But after No. 16, Vaughan, a former University of Nevada golf star, said he was sure that his team wouldn't be heading to Florida.

Besides Vaughan, Dayton's team was made up of Richard Wilde, Jim Harrison, Jerry McConnell and his wife, Kay.

"It seems that you almost need a birdie on each hole to win these types of things," Vaughan said.

As it turned out, the El Macero team did exactly that, as they shot an 18-under gross score of 54 to advance to the national finals.

"It feels great to be going back to Disney World," said Joseph, who has competed in the national finals on three separate occasions. "They do it right out there."

The second team that qualified was Reno's Red Hawk Golf Club, which had a net score of 55. The net score is computed by subtracting the team handicap and their gross score. In Red Hawk's case, their team handicap was one, and they shot a 55 on Friday for a net score of 54. The teams with the top gross and net scores at each sectional tournament qualify for nationals.

Dayton Valley was in it early after shooting 7-under par on the front nine. But on the back nine, they didn't fare as well and finished with an 11-under 61. Dayton just missed a shot at nationals last year, finishing second..

"Since we know the course, we knew the holes that we could score on and the ones that you can't," Vaughan said. "We just struggled on the back nine."

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