The 2015 U.S. Senior Open was a smashing success by every measure, tangible and intangible.
Three golf-positive scenarios have emerged in the afterglow:
▪ Del Paso Country Club stays in the national championship mix, perhaps hosting a midtier United States Golf Association event in three or four years as a bridge to another USGA major (the Women’s Open, maybe?) in seven to 10 years.
▪ The Champions Tour returns to Sacramento, perhaps using a rotation of courses that will keep displaced club members happy and venues fresh.
▪ The LPGA Tour returns to the region.
Everything is speculation right now. What’s known is:
There is momentum. If the success of the Senior Open is going to have future benefit to golf in the region, the time to act is now.
▪ 115,000 fans showed up at Del Paso despite some brutally high temperatures and no Fred Couples, the 50-and-older player who moves the needle.
▪ The USGA and the players couldn’t have been happier with the course, the city and corporate support.
▪ Champions Tour president Greg McLaughlin attended.
▪ There is momentum. If the success of the Senior Open is going to have future benefit to golf in the region, the time to act is now.
Sacramento remains a fertile market for both tours. Fan and corporate support was always strong, but that didn’t stop the Champions Tour (2001) and LPGA Tour (2005) from bolting. A committed title sponsor was the issue. The questions now: Has the right company emerged in the past 10 years, and did the Senior Open stir the pot enough to get it involved?
The 2000 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials was a once-in-a-lifetime experience when it came to Sacramento. When it returned in 2004, it was big, but the buzz (and ticket sales) wasn’t the same. Can golf be different?
▪ Cameron Park’s Corey Pereira won the prestigious Sahalee Players Championship by six shots last week in Sammamish, Wash. The Washington junior is No. 23 in the Scratch Players World Amateur Golf Ranking and front and center in any discussion regarding the next big thing to hail from the Sacramento region.
Pereira, who won the Pacific Coast and California State Fair amateurs last year, is exempt into the U.S. Amateur in August. He should be in the mix for a berth on the 10-man 2015 American Walker Cup team.
▪ Sacramento State’s Owen Taylor tied for third at Sahalee. The senior, who redshirted last year, set the Hornets’ season stroke-average record in 2013-14.
▪ Roseville’s Josh Sedeno, who finished second in the California State Amateur two weeks ago at Lake Merced, is second in Northern California Golf Association Player of the Year points. Sedeno has also qualified for the U.S. Junior later this month.
▪ Granite Bay’s Bryan Baumgarten and Grass Valley’s Logan Lowe also qualified for the U.S. Junior.
▪ Rocklin’s Nicole Schroeder qualified for the U.S. Girls Junior. Schroeder has been on a roll, reaching the quarterfinals of the California Women’s Amateur at Quail Lodge and receiving an invitation to the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in September.
▪ Granite Bay’s Vanessa Richani also reached the quarterfinals of the California Women’s Amateur.
▪ Folsom’s Noor Ahmed and Austin Fox, Elk Grove’s David Laskin and Granite Bay’s Drake Mendenhall also received Nature Valley invites.
▪ Bradley Reeves of Woodbridge shot an 11-under-par 61 at Cherry Island en route to winning the Sacramento County Junior. He parred the last three holes – that after a first-round 77.
▪ Gold River’s John Catlin tied for fourth in the PGA Tour Canada’s Siga Dakota Dunes Open. He is 21st on the CanTour money list through four tournaments.
▪ Sacramento’s Jonathan De Los Reyes was the medalist by 10 shots Monday in U.S. Amateur qualifying at Diablo Country Club. Loomis’ Austin Smotherman was the qualifying medalist in Dallas.
Steve Pajak: (916) 326-5526, @Steve_Pajak