Josh Sedeno, one of the nation’s most prized golf recruits, did what most college freshmen would do when faced with a challenge.
Playing safety in a pickup football game featuring members of the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide football team, Sedeno fractured two knuckles while breaking up a pass.
He wasn’t able to take a full swing for a month after the injury. His coach was not swayed that the game was touch, not tackle. Or impressed that Sedeno got his hand on the ball against such strong competition.
I spent a lot of time learning. The grass. The South. School. It was all an adjustment.
Del Oro High School graduate Josh Sedeno, on attending Alabama
“Yeah, we don’t do that anymore,” Sedeno said of football games, recreational or otherwise.
Sedeno started at Alabama in January after graduating early from Del Oro High School in Loomis to get a leg up on his academics. He’s been back in Roseville for two weeks, long enough to earn medalist honors at last week’s U.S. Open local qualifying at Granite Bay.
He’s the defending champion at this week’s Memorial Amateur at Ancil Hoffman in what figures to be his last local go-round. The Memorial runs concurrently with the men’s NCAA Division I championships, where perennial power Alabama is again a title contender and figures to be for years to come with Sedeno prominently in the mix.
The youngest Memorial winner last year at 17, Sedeno plans to be decked out in crimson this year and will keep close tabs on the Tide’s progress in Eugene, Ore. Sedeno said he did everything with the golf team in his first four months at Alabama but travel and will be rooting for a college title to defend next year.
“I spent a lot of time learning,” he said. “The grass. The South. School. It was all an adjustment.”
If Sedeno is to join Jim Wilson and John Catlin as the Memorial’s only two-time winners, he might have to hold off Lee Gearhart.
Gearhart is a three-time California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year who concluded a stellar college career at Chico State last week by winning individual quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches at the Division II nationals. The Wildcats lost 3-2 to Saint Leo in the title match.
Gearhart, 21, a Roseville resident and Woodcreek High School graduate, said pro golf is not in his future, contrary to what most with his résumé would be thinking. He plans to put his degree in business administration to use next month with a job in commercial real estate sales.
“I want golf to be fun,” he said. “I don’t want that to change by making it my job.”
Other players to watch at the Memorial this weekend:
▪ Alex Lee, 19, who advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying last week at Yocha Dehe. The Rio Americano graduate has loads of Ancil Hoffman knowledge and lessons learned during his recently completed freshman season at Fresno State.
▪ Zach Solomon, 27, who advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying at Ruby Hill in Pleasanton and has been a regular on regional leaderboards this year. The late-bloomer lives downtown and works in the Whitney Oaks pro shop but grew up a 9-iron from Ancil Hoffman.
I want golf to be fun. I don’t want that to change by making it my job.
Lee Gearhart, explaining why pro golf isn’t in his future after a stellar career at Chico State
▪ Corey Eddings, 20, who might find Ancil Hoffman easier than historic Winged Foot in New York, where he and his partner qualified for match play in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball before losing in the first round Saturday. Eddings, a Roseville resident and Nevada sophomore, finished second in this year’s Mountain West Conference tournament.
The Memorial is Saturday through Monday. Weekend tee times for the field of 120 run from 7:30 to 10 a.m. The leaders will start about 9:30 a.m. Monday. Admission is free. Go to www.memorialamateur.com for more information.
Texas A&M sophomore Cameron Champ (Sacramento) advanced to this week’s NCAA championships as an individual. Champ went birdie-eagle in a playoff at his regional site to gain the berth.
▪ Sacramento State junior Aaron Beverly did not advance from his regional site but finished the season with the lowest stroke average (71.83 in 35 rounds) in school history.
▪ UC Davis senior Andrea Wong tied for 49th at last week’s women’s NCAA D-I championship.
Jesuit’s David Laskin will be the lone Sacramento-area representative at next week’s boys state championship. Laskin, a senior from Elk Grove who will play collegiately at Arizona, shot a 1-under-par 71 Monday in the Northern California championship at Corral de Tierra in Salinas to qualify as an individual. Jesuit finished fourth among the 13 teams, with the top three advancing. Davis finished seventh.
Steve Pajak: 916-326-5526, @Steve_Pajak