News & ToursMarch 24, 2011

Kia Classic: Blumenherst's 66 belies course reputation

INDUSTRY, Calif. -- Industry Hills Golf Club's reputation did not precede itself inasmuch as most of the players in the Kia Classic field this week were neither born yet or were too young to have paid attention the last time the LPGA played here.

The Olympia Gold Classic was held on the Eisenhower Course here in 1981 and 1982 (each won by Sally Little), on a course that was deemed so difficult the tour vowed not to return. How tough?

"Industry Hills, that horror chamber of lost balls, frustrated shots, high scores and more lost balls for amateur golfers, may prove just as puzzling to the women professionals," the late Shav Glick wrote in the Los Angeles Times on the eve of the first Olympia Gold Classic in 1981.

In the first round in 1981, only 20 of the 89 players in the field equalled or bettered par on a layout that measured 5,938 yards.

"It plays crazy," Lopez said.

"The whole course gets tougher the more you know about it," Little said. "There's no margin for error anywhere. I'm exhausted after playing 18 holes."

There are two courses at Industry Hills (the other is the Zaharias), both of them once considered brutal. For this tournament, nine holes from each is being used and the course measures 6,714 yards.

The courses here have been renovated since, apparently taking some of the sting from them. Amanda Blumenherst shot a seven-under par 66 to take the first-round lead on Thursday. Sandra Gal had a 67. Twenty players of the 71 in the morning half of the field equalled or bettered par.

-- John Strege

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