The Local Knowlege

Courses & Travel's New Travel Planner

Travel Planner.jpg

Have you seen our new Travel Planner? Click here.

Members of the web staff have taken the time to organize a collection of our travel content by state.

For example, click on California and get a recent story I wrote about golf in San Diego. You also get a list of a few places to play and a link to star-ratings and each course's contact info. You also get a "Travel Guide," with links to a variety of recent Long Drives (Los Angeles to Monterey) and any other Away Games we've produced within the last few years (Santa Barbara and La Quinta).

Click on "View More" under "Multimedia" for "A Golfer's Guide to San Francisco," a slideshow of Pebble Beach, or a "virtual guide" of Harding Park, the site of the 2009 Presidents Cup.

We're a long way from replacing your travel agent or trip report from a trusted friend, but this is a big step in making it easier for you to narrow in on where to stay, play and eat when you're on the move.

Thoughts? (There's always room for improvement.)

--Matty G.

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News & Tours

This Week's Syllabus: Oct. 28-Nov. 3

OSU Pistol Pete logo.jpg1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)
The Cowboys still have depth beyond that of most teams in the country, but Mike McGraw's bunch will spend the winter break in Stillwater trying to see who wants to emerge as the most reliable prospects for the No. 4 and 5 man for the starting lineup.
Next event: Fall season over

Alabama logo.gif2. Alabama (NR)
Obviously there have been no problems with the transition from junior golf to college for Cory   Whitsett and Bobby Wyatt. The rookies were a big part of the Crimson Tide's two-stroke victory at Isleworth earlier this week, a great book end win to go with Carpet Capital triumph to start the fall
Next event: Fall season over

Florida logo.gif3. Florida (2)
Bad opening round at Isleworth made a comeback too tough for Buddy Alexander's group, but the Gators hung in there without their strongest lineup to finish T-3. Bank Vongvanij's individual win helps make a strong case for the senior's candidacy as the surprise performer of the fall.
Next event: Fall season over

Georgia Tech logo.gif4. Georgia Tech (NR)
What a way to claim first U.S. Collegiate title: 27-stroke victory nearly sets school record while all five starters post top-10 finishes. Yellow Jackets test in the spring will be to show they can play well away from home.
Next event: Fall season over

LSU logo.gif5. LSU (NR)
Apparently the Tiger men didn't like the women being the only one to get attention. Chuck Winsted's group comes off home victory at David Toms with runner-up to Alabama at Isleworth. Add in the victory at the Gopher Invite and it's been a very nice fall for the boys from Baton Rouge.
Next event: Fall season over

Alabama logo.gif1. Alabama (1)
Can the Crimson Tide continue their winning ways in California? We might know after round 1 ... Alabama has the country's best first-round scoring average (71.73 average per player). Of course, they also have the third best final-round average (72.27), second best average on par-3s and 4s and third best average on par 5s.
Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

LSU logo.gif2. LSU (2)
The Tigers will miss Megan McChrystal at the Pac-10/SEC Challenge, as she'll skip the event to compete in Futures Tour Q School. On the flip side, it will allow the rest of the team to prove they're more than just McChrystal and the seven dwarfs.
Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

Purdue logo.gif3. Purdue (3)
Amazing to think that the reigning NCAA champions are really kind of falling under the radar (except here, of course). Spring schedule is such that the Boilermakers really won't be meeting up with the West Coast heavyweights, but will have a chance to see some SEC schools a time or two.
Next event: Fall season over

UCLA logo 2008-09.gif4. UCLA (NR)
East Coast trip to North Carolina proves advantageous for the Bruins, who claim first victory of the season at the Landfall Tradition. Added bonus: Tiffany Lua captures share of first individual tournament victory. Confidence boosters all around for the folks in Westwood.
Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

USC logo.gif5. USC (4)
After the Bruins victory, and the near misses by the Trojans earlier in the fall, I get a sense that USC is ready to be the next group in the winner's circle come the Stanford event.
Next event: Pac-10/SEC Challenge, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Nov. 5-7

The number of golfers in the women's college game with scoring averages of 72.0 or lower, according to Golfstat as of Oct. 20.

On its own, this number might not mean much, but in context of the past few seasons, it is a significant indicator of the overriding trends we're seeing in the women's game this fall: scoring are going down.

Indeed, I wrote a story for this week's issue of Golf World on this very subject, and did research to compare that 44 number to the past five seasons. Looking at old Golfstat Cup rankings to see at approximately this same time frame each year, how many stroke averages were at 72 or lower, here are the totals I found.

2009: 27
2008: 24
2007: 18
2006: 8
2005: 6

If it seems like we're seeing a lot more lower scores this year in the women's game, well it's because we are.

Here is an even more detailed breakdown:

              Women w/stroke averages of:
            71.0/lower   71.0-71.5    71.51-72.0
2010       16                  11                 17
2009       13                  2                   11
2008       5                     8                   11
2007       3                     4                   11
2006       1                     0                   7
2005       3                     0                   3

Suffice it to say, some coaches are adjusting to the new reality:

"Even par isn't going to get it done anymore," says Alabama's Mic Potter. "There was a time when if you shot under 300 [in a round as a team], you were going to win a tournament. Well, if you shoot 300 now, you're going to be last."

I wonder how many coaches of schools in the Golf World men's and women's polls have hosted a high school senior on an official visit this fall? I'm setting the over under on the men's side at six; for the women at eight.

* Earlier this week, I wrote about a memo sent by the NCAA to coaches' associations in several sports, including golf, seeking recommendations for how to go about implementing limitations in the number of days coaches could spend recruiting prospective student athletes.
The Golf Coaches Association of America and the National Golf Coaches Association are in the process of gathering information to respond to the NCAA's Dec. 3 deadline.

On the surface this might not seem like a big deal, but for those involved, this could ultimately lead to a massive change in the sports. "This is going to have a huge effect on everything," a source involved in the process told me recently. "This is going to have the same kind of effect on our sport as 24 days of competition, reduction of scholarships and defined windows you can actually be with your team."

The most likely alternatives that will be offered by the GCAA and NGCA are 1) a recruiting calendar that prohibits recruiting during set periods of time, 2) a set number of recruiting days per year, which coaches could use at their discretion or 3) a hybrid of the two. In trying to give some thought about what might be the best approach for the coaches to take, my guess is that either option 2 or 3 will be the plan that gets the largest proportion of coaches supporting it. A strict recruiting calendar that has dead periods during the year creates all sorts of problems in golf considering that junior tournaments are played throughout the year. You wouldn't want to have dead periods in the summer, with AJGA events on tap. So what about the spring or fall? Well in some states, that's when the high school seasons are played. Meanwhile, it seems like every major holiday period has a junior event scheduled opposite it.

Another interesting wrinkle about the calendar approach would be what might coaches do if their schools host a junior tournament during a "dead period"? What if you work at your school's golf course as director of golf? You might actually be prevented from literally going to your job. I'm not sure how well that would sit some.

* I've mentioned it to the folks at New Mexico State in the past but I'll do it again now. Rick Reilly, the award winning journalist at ESPN, did not won the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in 1979, as the sports information department has mentioned repeatedly in press releases. When I first saw this note a few years back, I thought it was very cool. I contacted Colorado's sports information department to find out more about it, but learned from the school that Reilly did not play for the Buffalo golf team. I then called and mentioned it to NMSU's SID office. Sure enough, the next season, there it was again in a release. I again gave them a head's up that this was not actually true, but no correction has been made.

Last week I saw the reference yet again in their pre-tournament release. So this time around I contacted ESPN to try and have Reilly say yes or no that he won the event. The information I got back from Reilly was that he did not win it. So ... I'll be curious if New Mexico State will finally update their records prior to the 2011 Wimberly.

Kiawah Island Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Turtle Point GC, Kiawah Island, S.C.
Nov. 1-2
Host: Charleston Southern
Field: Bethune-Cookman, Butler, Campbell, Charleston, Charleston Southern, George Washington, Indiana, Longwood, Presbyterian, South Carolina, Stetson, Towson, Western Illinois, Western Kentucky
Defending champion: Charleston Southern (35-over 899) by 11 strokes over Gardner-Webb; South Carolina's Dykes Harbin (two-over 218) by one stroke over Charleston Southern's Kelvin Day
Skinny: School's fall invitational moves from Crowfield G&CC in Charleston to Turtle Point. New venue allows it to host more schools.

Royal Oaks Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Royal Oaks CC, Dallas
Nov. 1-2
Field: Arkansas, Baylor, Iowa, Lamar, Long Beach State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Penn State, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UNLV
Defending champion: Texas A&M (four-under 848) by three strokes over SMU; SMU's James Kwon (six-under 207) by two strokes over Texas A&M's Cameron Peck and Arkansas' David Lingmerth
Skinny: Iowa is trying for win No. 4 this fall, after finishing third in the event a year ago. It's been almost a month break from competition, so it will be interesting to see if the Hawkeyes might have lost their edge.

The Hummingbird Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
CC of Sapphire Valley, Sapphire, N.C.
Nov. 1-2
Host: Western Carolina
Field: Akron, Appalachian State, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Gardner-Webb, High Point, IPFW, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Radford, Samford, UAB, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina, Winthrop, Wofford
Defending champion: Furman (one-under 567) by three strokes over East Carolina and Kentucky; Furman's Garland Ferrell (seven-under 135) by two strokes over Akron's Lucas Murray
Skinny: For second-straight year the tournament hosts a event-record 18-team field

Stockton Sports Commission Pacific Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Brookside CC, Stockton, Calif.
Nov. 1-3
Host: Pacific
Field: BYU, Charlotte, Denver, Fresno State, Kansas State, Marquette, Nevada, Oregon State, Pacific, St. Mary's (Calif.), Santa Clara, UC Davis
Defending champion: UC Davis (20-under 832) by one stroke over BYU; UC Davis' Tyler Raber (14-under 199) by four strokes over Oregon's Eugene Wong
Skinny: Solid field and very informative tournament website.

Lady Paladin Intercollegiate
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Furman GC, Greenville, S.C.
Oct. 29-31
Host: Furman
Field: Chattanooga, Detroit-Mercy, East Tennessee State, Furman, Georgia State, Jacksonville, James Madison, Longwood, Mercer, Middle Tennessee State, Nova Southeastern, Presbyterian, Rollins, Samford, South Florida, Winthrop, Wofford
Defending champion: Nova Southeastern (35-over 611) by four strokes over Campbell; Nova Southeastern's Sandra Changkija (three-over 147) by two strokes over Campbell's Mary Mattson and Furman's Stefanie Kenoyer
Skinny: Impressive group of past winners includes Betsy King, Nancy Lopez, Sherri Turner, Donna Andrews and Dottie Pepper.

Pat Bradley Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Pelican Preserve, Fort Myers, Fla.
Oct. 31-Nov. 2
Host: Florida International
Field: Bethune-Cookman, Cincinnati, Daytona State, Drake, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Maryland, Murray State, North Texas, Oakland (Mich.), South Alabama, Stetson, Troy, Western Michigan
Defending champion: Furman (six-over 870) by seven strokes over South Florida; USF's Shena Yang (eight-under 208) by three strokes over UCF's Valentina Fontaine
Skinny: Amazing to think that a junior college team (Daytona State) might be the favorite. Meanwhile, host Florida International, however, is No. 25 in the Golfstat team ranking.

The Alamo Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Briggs Ranch, San Antonio
Oct. 31-Nov. 2
Host: UT-San Antonio
Field: Baylor, Central Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, UT-San Antonio, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF, Wisconsin
Defending champion: Tennessee (one-over 289) by three strokes over Notre Dame and Texas A&M; Notre Dame's Annie Brophy and Tennessee's Nathalie Mansson (two-under 70)
Skinny: Second edition of the event hopes to go longer than last year's rain-shortened one round affair.

Challenge at Onion Creek
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Onion Creek GC, Austin, Texas
Nov. 1-2
Host: Texas State
Field: Arkansas-Little Rock, Augusta State, Coastal Carolina, Denver, Eastern Michigan, Gonzaga, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kennesaw State, Michigan, San Francisco, Texas State, Xavier
Defending champion: Texas A&M (one-under 839) by three strokes over San Francisco; Texas A&M's Julia Boland (four-under 206) by one stroke over Texas A&M's Ashley Freeman
Skinny: Curious to see how low the scores might be as the tournament's yardage at Onion Creek is listed at 5,944 with a par 70.

Turtle Bay Collegiate Invitational
   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)
Turtle Bay Resort, Laie, Hawaii
Nov. 2-4
Host: Hawaii
Field: BYU, British Columbia, Hawaii, Portland State, Princeton, Southern Illinois, UC Irvine
Defending champion: UC Davis (four-over 868) by nine strokes over UCLA; USC's Lizette Salas (eight-under 208) by five strokes over UC Davis' Amy Simanton and San Jose State's Cristina Corpus
Skinny: Smaller field than usual, not to mention an unusually diverse one. ... Read
News & Tours

Report: Shoal Creek founder dead at age 87

Hall Thompson, the founder of Shoal Creek Country in Birmingham, Ala., and a controversial figure in golf, died Wednesday morning, according to the Birmingham News.

Prior to the PGA Championship at Shoal Creek in 1990, Thompson explained why the club had no black members. "That's just not done in Birmingham," he said, setting of a firestorm of protest.

The ensuing controversy caused the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the USGA to put in place policies that would forbid holding tournaments at clubs that don't have open membership policies.

Shoal Creek quickly admitted a black member, Louis Willie. Today, it is fully integrated and counts among its members former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

-- John Strege

... Read
News & Tours

Oklahoma State still No. 1 in men's polls

Oklahoma State and Oklahoma City remained atop Division I and NAIA Golf World/Nike Golf men's coaches' polls while North Alabama jumps into the top spot in the Division II poll and Guilford fills the No. 1 slot in the Division III poll. Voting for the polls closed Oct. 22.

Men D-I Nov. 1.jpg
Men D-II Nov. 1.jpg

Men D-III Nov. 1.jpg
Men NAIA Nov. 1.jpg

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News & Tours

Alabama rolls on in women's D-I poll

Alabama, Nova Southeastern and Methodist all keep their claim to the No. 1 ranking in the latest Golf World/NGCA women's coaches' polls. Voting for the polls closed Oct. 22.

Women D-I Nov. 1.jpg
Women D-II Nov. 1.jpg
Women D-III Nov.1.jpg

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News & Tours

Seven new members for GCAA Hall of Fame

The Golf Coaches Association of America will welcome seven new members to its Hall of Fame next month in Las Vegas, inducting six coaches who have each won a national championship during their college careers and one journalist who has chronicled more than two dozen NCAA men's championships.

Five coaches--California's Steve Desimone, USC-Aiken's Michael Carlisle, Oklahoma City's Kyle Blaser, Bob Alpers of St. John's (Minn.) and Texas Wesleyan's Bobby Cornett--remain active at their schools. Desimone started coaching the Golden Bears in 1980 and helped the team gain varsity status in 1982 before eventually leading them to the 2004 NCAA Division I title. Carlisle, Alpers and Blaser got their starts in the 1990s and have won 12 national championships between them. Cornett returned to the job in 2009 after coaching at Texas Wesleyan from 1985-99.

Also being honored is Floyd Horgan, who oversaw the Brevard CC program and was Hal Sutton's coach at Centenary in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and Ron Balicki, a veteran writer  with Golfweek magazine who has covered college and amateur golf since the 1980s.

Here are some thumbnails on the honorees, who will be formally inducted during the GCAA's national convention at the Tropicana Hotel on Dec. 6

Bob Alpers, St. John's (Minn.), 1992-present
    Two NCAA D-III titles (2007, '08); eight conference championships; 21 All-Americans; 2007 national coach of the year

Ron Balicki, Golfweek, 1983-present
    Covered 26 consecutive NCAA D-I championships dating back to 1985; stories have been recognized as award winners by the Golf Writers Association of America

Kyle Blaser, Oklahoma City, 1998-present
    Seven NAIA national titles; 11 conference championships; 21 All-Americans; six-time NAIA national coach of the year

Michael Carlisle, USC-Aiken, 1991-present
    Three NCAA D-II titles (2004, '05, '06); eight conference championships, 45 All-Americans; one NCAA player of the year; three-time national  coach of the year

Bobby Cornett, Texas Wesleyan, 1985-99, 2009-present
    Three NAIA national titles (1990, '95, '99); 65 tournament wins; three-time NAIA coach of the year

Steve Desimone, California, 1980-present
    One NCAA D-I title (2004); eight All-Americans; 11 All-American scholars

Floyd Horgan, Brevard CC/Centenary, 1966-1993
    Seven NJCAA titles; 48 All-Americans; NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee ... Read
Courses & Travel

Tuesday's Travel Tips

I get a lot of e-mails from . . . let’s call them “efficient” PR personnel.

Starting this week, I’ll take a selection of the best deals and post them every Tuesday.

What’s more spectacular than the North Shore of Kauai? 

That’s Taylor, my surf instructor! (You might say shameless, I chose spectacular.) Click here to read more about Taylor Kaluahine-Reid.

Can we agree the Na Pali Coast is spectacular?

The last time I played the Prince, ranked No. 12 on Golf Digest’s list of America's 100 Greatest Public, the views were better than the condition of the course, but it sounds like they’re taking steps to change that. As a result, if you just happen to find yourself on the island of Kauai anytime soon (I’m jealous), you’ll benefit from a break on the $200 green fee. 

According to this link (click here), they’re working on the greens and bunkers at the Prince course on the North Shore of Kauai, so you can play it right now for $100.

This is just one of the deals I’m featuring this week . . .

... Read
News & Tours

Video: The comedic stylings of Bubba Watson

This has been an eventful year for Bubba Watson, involving everything from his first PGA Tour win, to a playoff loss in the PGA Championship, to an appearance in his first Ryder Cup. On a far more somber note, he lost his father Gerry earlier this month after a length battle with throat cancer.

But even amidst personal sorrow, it's apparent Watson's sense of humor has remained intact. Take, for instance, the series of videos Watson recently posted on Twitter, all featuring what appears to be an old persimmon Ping driver, and the oddly infectious catchphrase, "You're welcome."

For instance, there is Watson using the driver -- or what he calls, "The Ol' Wooden Stick" -- to hit a flop shot.

... Read
News & Tours

NCAA exploring changes to recruiting

In recent years at the Golf Coaches Association of America's annual national convention, the topic of establishing a recruiting calendar that would designate specific times of the year when college coaches could go on the road to watch junior golfers has been floated, only to crash like the proverbial lead balloon. It's not so much that the coaches were against unilaterally setting limits to when they could be on the road searching for their next blue-chip recruit. It's that trying to wrap their arms around on when during the year to allow coaches to hit the road—and more importantly what times of the year to prohibit their travels—proved a far more challenging task than getting their players to work on their short games. With no pressing reason to investigate the matter much further, the coaches ultimately looked the other way and moved on to the next item on the agenda.

Such a luxury, however, no longer appears to be an option.

A memo obtained by Golf World from the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Cabinet dated Oct. 7 and sent to sport-specific groups and coaches' associations in nearly 20 sports, including the GCAA and the National Golf Coaches Association, outlines the NCAA's interest in bringing all college sports "under the same general model of recruiting." To do so, the cabinet requested that each coaches' association submit recommendations by Dec. 3 on "appropriate parameters" for their sport regarding the potential implementation of a recruiting calendar or a specific number of recruiting person/evaluation days.

Currently a handful of sports, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women’s ice hockey, softball, men's and women's lacrosse and field hockey, have specific recruiting limitations. NCAA officials would like to have similar guidelines in all sports in part for the well being of the coaches and the prospective student-athletes burdened by the current recruiting process, as well as to help athletic departments reduce expenses.

The good news for golf coaches is that the NCAA doesn't appear to be looking to create a one-rule-for-all-sports policy, but is open to looking at variations on an individual sport basis.

Since receiving the memo, GCAA CEO Gregg Grost said that his association's National Advisory Board has been working on develop proposals for the general memberships' review. To speed up their efforts and meet the NCAA deadline, the country has been broken down into three regions, with NAB members canvassing their geographic area to try to find out where coaches' stand.

No specific plans have yet been drafted, but in all likelihood the coaches will be exploring one of three options:
  • * a calendar approach, where recruiting will be restricted to certain times during the year (i.e. summers or certain holidays)
  • * a recruiting days approach, where coaches would have a set number of days in the year that they can be on the road recruiting, but can use them at any time
  • * a hybrid model that would limit the number of days of recruiting as well as have certain "dead periods" in which no coach would be allowed to recruit.
Grost said that the NAB hopes to have information from the three regions back by Nov. 8, with the entire board then discussing the findings and drawing up two or three proposals for all Division I coaches to review starting Nov. 15. The goal is to have a two-thirds majority backing one proposal.

The Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues cabinet, chaired by UCLA senior associate athletic director Petrina Long, will review proposals from all sports at its February 2011 meeting, then likely push them back to the coaches' associations with comments and questions. The coaches' associations would then be expected to respond in the spring so potential legislation can be written that would be voted on in the 2011-12 legislative cycle and be in place for the 2012-13 season.
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News & Tours

College Players of the Week, Oct. 18-24

Alex Kang.jpegAlex Kang, San Diego State
It's not often that a player closes with rounds of 67 and 68 and can be disappointed. Of course, that's what happens when you shoot an opening-round nine-under 62 the way the junior from Oak Park, Calif., did at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational last week at Meadow GC in Fairfax, Calif. Kang's 16-under 197 broke the previous Aztez's 54-hole school record (set by Aaron Goldberg in 2006) by four strokes as he claimed his second career individual title, beating teammate Todd Baek and California's Ben An by one stroke.

While the team finished in second place to California by two strokes, Kang's performance--which included 16 birdies and an eagle offset by two bogeys--helped SDSU set the team 54-hole score best with a 46-under 806.

Honorable mention: Michael McGowan, North Carolina
The sophomore shot a college best 66 in the second round of the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate, then matched the score again in the final round at Forest Oaks CC in Greensboro, N.C., to help the Tar Heels claim the team title by seven strokes over eighth-ranked Auburn. McGowan finished third individually at 13-under 203, his best ever finish at UNC.

Tiffany Lua:Landfall win.jpegTiffany Lua, UCLA
The sophomore (right) claimed a share of the individual title at the Landfall Tradition after shooting a even-par 72 at the CC of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., and helped the Bruins take top honors in the team competition, the school's first victory of the 2010-11 season. UCLA finished with a 16-over 880 total, five strokes better than North Carolina. Lua posted a two-under 214 total.

Honorable mention: Brittany Altomare, Virginia
For the second time this fall, the Cavalier sophomore has claimed at least a share of medalist honors, joining Lua at two-under 214 at CC of Landfall. She is the third UVa player to win multiple individual titles in a single season, joining Calle Nielson and Leah Wigger. Virginia finished fifth as a team, 12 strokes back of UCLA.
... Read
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