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August 31, 2005

USGA changes amateur rules on winning hole-in-one prizes

From:, OR - Aug 31, 2005

The Oregonian

You're playing a casual round with your friends, you come to a tough par-3, and there is a table set up near the tee, offering a $2 ticket for a chance to win a car if you make a hole in one.

Ah, but you want to enter a city tournament later in the year and are concerned that if you make an ace, you will lose your amateur status if you keep the car.

Starting next year, you won't have that worry.

The United States Golf Association announced significant changes in its rules about amateur status. The main change, regarding travel expenses, applies to few recreational golfers.

But the hole-in-one prize does. Previously, there was a $750 cap on prizes. Any amateur accepting a higher-valued prize lost his amateur eligibility. Now, that cap is gone.

A hole in one, however, must come "while playing golf," meaning during a regular round. So hole-in-one contests, putting contests and the like still are subject to the $750 cap.

Interestingly, the rule applies only to holes in one. Closest-to-the-pin competitions, even those during play, don't count.

Two golfers from the Portland area are among the top deaf golfers in the country.

Scott Hansen of Tualatin, a student at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, this month won the Far West Golf Tournament in Oakland, Calif., for the second time. In July, Hansen finished fifth in the open division at the U.S. Deaf Golf Championship in Rochester, N.Y.

Wally DeVe of Tualatin, a teacher at Cleveland High School, won the senior division of the U.S. Championship, and was second in the Far West, an event he has won four times.

Jenna Buchanan, a senior at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, will participate for the second consecutive year in the Wal-Mart First Tee Open in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Buchanan is a member of the First Tee of Portland.

Mike Tokito: 503-294-7603;

©2005 The Oregonian