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Wildfire effort sparks golf play donation

Notes from the AT&T Champions Classic Pro-Am

Posted: March 14, 2008 1:53 a.m.
Updated: May 15, 2008 5:02 a.m.

After 18 holes in the AT&T Champions Classic's Pro-Am matchup, the four L.A. County Fire captains and pro Andy Bean horse around like a bunch of kids. From left: Captains Steve King and Gary Dellamalva; Bean; and Captains Mark Savage and Dave Chavez.

 
To express his, her or their appreciation for the outstanding job L.A. County firefighters did fighting last October's wildfires, an anonymous donor or donors paid $9,000 so a foursome of local fire captains could play in Thursday's Pro-Am Tournament, part of this week's AT&T Champions Classic golf tournament at Valencia Country Club.

Gary Dellamalva (Fire Station 73, Newhall), Steve King (76, Valencia), Mark Savage (135, Lancaster) and Dave Chavez (104, Canyon Country) teamed up for 18 holes with Champions Classic pro Andy Bean, who was celebrating his 55th birthday on the green.

"We're all glad they've got their day jobs," Bean quipped after the final putt. "No, we had a good time. We just came up a little bit short today on the birdies, but I think the main thing was going out and having a good time, and I think we led the pack on that."

Nice way to spend a birthday. How many years? "I'm 55 and proud of it," Bean grinned. "Glad to be here."

"Very unexpected, and very much appreciated," Dellamalva said when asked to comment on the anonymous donation, which helps fund the tournament's charitable donations. "We live in a great community here in Santa Clarita. Between us we probably have 70 years of working in this community alone. People out here are really good and we appreciate them as much as they appreciate us. We wish we didn't lose any homes, that's our goal."

Thursday's goal, as Bean noted, was to have a little fun. "It was outstanding," Dellamalva said of the match. "I wish I could do it every year."

King said he and Dellamalva were getting ready to retire in 2009.

"Gary and I have both worked out here 16-17 years each and it was a great privilege to be honored in this way, to be given the honor to play here. To mirror what Gary said, this is a great community. I drove for 10 years from Redondo Beach to work up here and fought that traffic and eventually moved up here, and love it. So this was a great going-away present for us."

All-pro competition in the 54-hole, $1.6 million tournament starts today at 10:20 a.m. and wraps late Sunday afternoon.

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