Golf

Making the rounds: Folsom’s Kevin Lucas qualifies for U.S. Open

Kevin Lucas plays his tee shot on the 17th hole during 2015 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. on Monday, June 8, 2015.
Kevin Lucas plays his tee shot on the 17th hole during 2015 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. on Monday, June 8, 2015. USGA Museum

Kevin Lucas’ pro golf career is headed in a good direction – north for next week’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Wash.

Lucas, from Folsom, was the Open qualifying medalist Monday at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, earning one of 58 spots during 36-hole sectional qualifying at 12 sites across the country.

In his third full year as a pro, Lucas’ goal is to get better every season. He won a mini-tour event his first year and topped the eGolf Tour money list and qualified for a PGA Tour event (Barracuda Championship in Reno) last year.

“Getting into the U.S. Open was the goal this year,” he said. “If I keep getting better until I’m 40, I’ll be good.”

Lucas, 26, comes from an athletic family. One brother, Justin, 29, is the nation’s No. 1-ranked pro bass fisherman. Another, Joe, 27, was an MMA fighter who recently retired.

Fishing and golf are more alike than you might think, Lucas said.

“They are individual sports where you’re not relying on any team,” he said. “People say golf tests your patience more than any other sport. Bass fishermen need to be even more patient.

“(Justin and I) can relate on so many levels. We talk about the mental approach and all that goes into how we can be the best we can be at our sport.”

Fighting and golf?

“We don’t mess with that brother,” Lucas said.

United States Golf Association executive director Mike Davis aggravated a few pros recently when he suggested that success at Chambers Bay, a quirky links course on Puget Sound, will require more than two practice rounds and a yardage book.

Lucas plans to leave Wednesday for Chambers Bay and get in at least four practice rounds.

Back to back, Jack

Not one ace in 35 golfing years, then two in two days. On the same hole, with the same club, to the same hole location.

There are several possible explanations, but only one that makes sense: The golf gods be crazy.

Mark Giacomini, a 51-year-old resident of Lake of the Pines, made his first hole in one May 24 at Auburn Valley. He used a pitching wedge on No. 8, a 121-yard uphill par 3. One day later, on Memorial Day, to a front-left hole that hadn’t been moved from the day before, he did the same thing,

But not exactly.

35Years golfing without an ace for Mark Giacomini before he made two in two days

Giacomini didn’t see the first shot go in. He did the second, but not how you would think. Because the green is elevated, the hole is not visible from the tee. Giacomini’s group, which included two buddies who played both days, crested the hill to see a ball on the lip of the cup. As they got out of their carts, the ball fell in.

“One of my friends about went crazy,” said Giacomini, who sports a 9.8 handicap index.

Giacomini had no hole-in-one insurance to help cover the bar tabs, even though one of his partners suggested he make a quick call to buy some just before the second ace.

“It didn’t cost me quite as much Monday,” he said.

Et cetera

▪ Three U.S. Senior Open participants will play in the U.S. Open. Colin Montgomerie, Lee Janzen and Miguel Angel Jimenez will also be at Del Paso on June 25-28. Montgomerie and Janzen will play in this week’s Senior Players, making it three majors in three weeks for them.

▪ Natalie Gulbis will work for Fox Sports during the U.S. Open and Senior Open. Gulbis, who last week qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open, has said 2015 will be her last year as a full-time player.

▪ The trophy club upgrade for Senior Open ticket holders is expected to be sold out by week’s end. The air-conditioned amenity offers a balcony view of second shots on No. 16 and the 17th green. Suggestion: Don’t dilly-dally.

▪ The field for the Senior Open is set. See it at www.2015ussenioropencom.

Steve Pajak: (916) 326-5526

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