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January 26 2012

8:55 PM

Perez and Torrey Pines go way back

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Pat Perez spent the better part of his teenage years either playing at Torrey Pines or doing odd jobs and picking up balls on the range.

The extra pocket money was great. "But it was the fact that I had free cart and free golf, all the balls I could hit -- and I hit probably all of them," Perez recalled.

It was a family affair, too. Perez's father Tony was a starter at Torrey Pines, and he’s been announcing the players on the first tee of the South Course during the Farmers Insurance Open for about 20 years.

Looks like he could have a lot of good things to say when his son steps to the tee there on Friday. Perez is currently 5 under through 17 holes on the North Course and in a tie for ninth, four strokes off the lead.

When the U.S. Open was played at Torrey Pines in 2008, Perez reminisced about playing the municipal course as a youngster.
 
"We had some help in the starter's booth, but we still had to get a number," Perez said. "We'd get here about 1, 2 in the morning and you've got to get a number from the guy. So if you were early you had to wait until someone else showed up and then you got your number and then you could go to sleep and set your alarm for 5:30.

"And then everyone would go in the coffee shop, get a drink or get something to drink.And then everyone would form a line across the top balcony up there. And it was one after another went off, and tee off at 6:30 and that was the kind of day. And then I'd go to work after that.

"I loved it. As a kid, you're getting out of the house, you got more freedom. I loved it. I wouldn't do it now, but it was fun at the time."

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