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Roth can run one tourney, win another

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As if there was ever any doubt, how about yet another example of how much better today’s talent pool of golfers is compared to the pre-Tiger era?
Jeff Roth, head pro at Farmington’s San Juan Country Club, is one of the nation’s best senior golfers.
Not just best senior club pros, mind you. One of the best senior golfers, period.
On Monday, Roth won the U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Albuquerque Country Club. He beat Mac Magee in a six-hole playoff after both shot 2-under 68 in the 40-player field.
Thus Roth, 55, heads to the Senior Open for the fourth time. He has also played in five Senior PGA Championships. He has made the cut in three of his previous eight senior majors and finished in the top 20 twice.
But as hot as Roth has been the past few years, the highest he has finished in the San Juan Open — held on his own San Juan Country Club Course — is third during that same four-year stretch (2010).
Yes, it’s mighty tough to win a tournament that you also are running. There are a lot of duties behind the scene for the head honcho.
But it’s also pretty doggone tough to finish playing and running a 72-hole event  — which Roth did on Sunday — drive from Farmington to Albuquerque that night, and tee it up at 7:40 a.m. the next day.
Then win a spot in a senior major.
The point is, the competition today — even at a top-notch regional event like the San Juan — is absolutely incredible.
Sure, Nicklaus had Trevino, Palmer, Player, Watson and some other rivals.
But there were only a handful of guys in that age who were actual stars on the PGA Tour, and not many more who  even played on it.
Golf, then, was a country club sport.
Today, it’s worldwide.
Only a few of the guys playing the San Juan each year have ever been on the Tour, much less than the PGA Tour. They are mostly up-and-comers hoping to someday break through.
And while Roth has finished in the top 10 three times, he has yet to win that event because the talent at the San Juan is remarkable. It is even better on small circuits like Arizona’s All-American Gateway Tour, which is for guys who have yet to make the Web-com Tour. And the is for guys who have yet to make the PGA Tour.
And the guys on the PGA Tour? They are generations better than any group of guys from the pre-Tiger era.


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