The past two weeks have been good for thirtysomething working men and the credibility of a local golf shop.
Matt Hollinsead and Donnie Baucom, custom club fitters and repair specialists at iFit Golf in Folsom, advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying into next month’s sectionals.
Hollinsead, 31, shot a 3-under-par 69 at Yocha Dehe to earn one of that site’s five qualifying berths. Baucom, 34, shot a 2-under 69 at Granite Bay last week to finish second.
“We both work five days week and finished ahead of a lot of guys who play six days a week,” Baucom said.
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Hollinsead has been a go-to club fitter at iFit for five years. Baucom is in his second year. Store owner Bobby Siravo said he’ll be happy to cover for his dynamic duo the first week in June when they travel to the Southern California for practice rounds ahead of the 36-hole June 5 sectional. If either qualifies for the June 15-18 U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin, he would be the frontrunner for Employee of the Month.
There is a downside Siravo, a former aspiring touring pro, is wiling to accept.
“I keep falling down the ladder of accomplished golfers at the store,” he said.
Hollinsead (in 2010) and Baucom (in 2014) reached the sectional stage once before. The Sacramento men say the experience has made them better equipped to be successful this time around. They’re also practicing more – and not just on the simulator at work, which was part of their pre-local qualifying routine.
“I’ve dedicated myself to practicing more, knowing the opportunity that I have,” Hollinsead said.
Hollinsead won the Northern California Golf Association Stroke Play Championship in 2007, the same year he finished second in the California State Fair Amateur. Baucom is known around town for his skins game prowess and affable nature.
Both retain their pro status but know their future includes helping others better enjoy the game through fitting and repair, not trying to beat Dustin Johnson.
“Most of our customers know what kind of players we have who work here,” Hollinsead said. “We’re not just some guys here for a paycheck. We understand the game, the swing, the technology.”
Still, qualifying for the U.S. Open couldn’t hurt.
▪ Other players with local ties advancing to the sectional stage at sites around the country: Corey Pereira, Cameron Champ, Wonje Choi, Ben Geyer, Jonathan de Los Reyes and Josh Sedeno.
▪ Andrej Bevins’ New Mexico Lobos and Sedeno’s Alabama Crimson Tide qualified for the NCAA Division I men’s championship that starts Friday in Sugar Grove, Ill. Bevins (Elk Grove), a senior, earned his second college victory at last week’s West Lafayette (Ind.) Regional. Sedeno (Roseville), a redshirt freshman, has been instrumental to the Tide’s success this season.
▪ Emilee Hoffman’s Texas Longhorns and Kelsey Ulep’s Oregon Ducks were not among the teams to qualify for match play in this week’s NCAA Division I women’s championship, but Hoffman (Folsom), a junior, was the low scorer for Texas and Ulep (Rocklin), a junior, returned from a groin injury that compromised her play over the past year to get her feet wet on college golf’s biggest stage.
▪ The annual Memorial Amateur is Saturday through Monday at Ancil Hoffman. Champ, the 2014 winner, heads the field. The nines have been flopped for this year’s renewal.
▪ No Sacramento-area teams or players qualified for the state high school boys championship at Monday’s Northern California championship at Sierra View. Davis’ Jackson Masiel came closest, failing to advance in a five-players-for-two-spots playoff after shooting a par 72.
▪ In his PGA Tour debut last week in the Byron Nelson Classic, Loomis’ Austin Smotherman played his first 14 holes in 9 over and his last 22 in 1 under. A learning experience for sure, but now it’s back to the PGA Latin America Tour.
▪ The Davis father-son team of Dan Corfee and Ben Corfee begin play in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in Pinehurst, N.C., on Saturday.