Making the rounds: Kamden Brakel is Sacramento State’s new men’s golf coach

Sacramento State’s new men’s golf coach, Kamden Brakel, has no coaching experience but a willingness to get his hands dirty to get the job done.

Brakel has several other qualities that make him a good fit, said Sac State director of golf David Sutherland: He has Division I playing experience, good communication skills, a strong work ethic and local roots and values academics.

I want the guys to compete at a high level. I want them to excel academically more than they have been.

Kamden Brakel, Sacramento State’s new men’s golf coach

“He’s the right guy,” Sutherland said. “He’ll be the golf coach at Sac State for the next 25 to 30 years.”

Brakel, 26, was plucked from the vineyards of Acampo, where he worked the past three years as a labor manager for a company that grows 35 varieties of wine grapes. That after a brief stint selling life insurance shortly after earning a degree in finance from Hawaii, where he competed for four years on the golf team.

An Acampo native and graduate of Lodi High School, Brakel wanted to work in golf after college but didn’t find any good opportunities. Then his sister, Kercia, a former golfer on the Sac State women’s team, saw a job posting in the wake of the departure of Chris Hall, who coached the men’s team the past four years.

“The Sac State job opened up and it just was meant to be,” Brakel said. “I have a passion for golf and working with people, especially young men going into college.”

Brakel has been on the job for three weeks. The Hornets open their season Sept. 21 in Washington.

His vision for the program?

We’re in the graduation business. We’re not going to be Kentucky basketball.

David Sutherland, Sacramento State director of golf

“I want the guys to compete at a high level,” he said. “I want them to excel academically more than they have been. Not only GPA-wise, but to be ready to contribute right away to the workforce out of college.

“I want us to be more involved in the community than we have been. There’s a rich golf environment in Sacramento, but we’ve been disengaged. I’d like to get people excited about the men’s golf team.”

Sutherland said parents who are considering with whom to entrust their teenager for four or five years are more interested in GPA than the PGA.

“We’re in the graduation business,” he said. “We’re not going to be Kentucky basketball. We need to give the families that we’re recruiting confidence that we’re going to be able to graduate their kids.

“Kamden is going to be great. He’ll be coaching here much longer than I will. We’re in a good place.”

Grant Rappleye, a former Sac State player, has been hired as Brakel’s assistant coach.

State Fair follow-through

▪ Monday’s crowd for the final round of the California State Fair Amateur Championship at Haggin Oaks was noticeably smaller than years past with no local player in contention.

Roseville’s Lee Gearhart, who opened with a 5-over-par 77 and made the cut without a stroke to spare after a second-round 68 that included a hole in one on No. 9, finished as low local after a final-round 63 vaulted him into a tie for third place.

Gearhart, who started the final round 10 shots off the pace and almost three hours before the leaders, said he expected his clubhouse lead to last a few groups. Instead, he was still tied for the lead until the final threesome reached the 17th green. It wasn’t until Trevor Clayton, the eventual winner in a playoff, eagled No. 18 that Gearhart was eliminated.

▪ Ryan Sloane of San Jose repeated as the Masters (older than 35) champion at Bing Maloney. Chris Johnson of Rancho Cordova tied for second, one stroke back.

▪ Mark Morgan of El Dorado Hills continued his recent strong play by winning the Senior (older than 55) championship with a two-total of 6-under 138 at Mather.

▪ Former Pacific men’s basketball coach Bob Thomason won the Super Seniors (older than 65) title, edging Carmichael’s Herb Jensen by one shot.

Et cetera

▪ Lynne Cowan (Rocklin) and Karen Garcia (Cool) qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur to be contested later this month in Tennessee.

Steven Chung (Sacramento), Jason Hamilton (Roseville), Peter Lansburgh (Elk Grove) and Jordan Weir (El Dorado Hills) begin play Wednesday in a Web.Com Tour prequalifying tournament at Yolo Fliers.