A local standout tees it up at the California Amateur.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
A thirty-something golfer gawks at the young man hitting balls at the Bayonet Black Horse driving range. “Not in my wildest dream,” the golfer says, clearly dumbfounded, “could I hit the ball that far and straight.”
The object of his golf lust is former CSU Monterey Bay golfer and Marina resident Grant Haney. Standing six feet tall in a blinding-white collared shirt and khaki slacks, he swings fluidly, sending the ball screaming off the massive head of his driver. The drives average 290 yards. One by one, they collect in the dead center of the range.
Haney is gearing up for the most important tournament of his career, the 96th Annual California Golf Association Amateur Championship, which starts June 18 at both of Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s immaculately maintained courses.
“This is probably the biggest tournament I’ve been in,” says the 22-year-old Haney. “It’s definitely the most exciting.”
Haney will compete with over 150 amateur golfers, ranging from college students to 20-year part-time players, who have each qualified in the last month at courses around California. His four-year stint as a CSUMB Otter, averaging a team-low score of 73.2, has helped prepare him for the potentially five-day-long affair. With his college eligibility over, this tournament figures mightily into his golf future.
Ironically, the one person most interested in that future, his dad, can’t watch, and not because he doesn’t want to. Mike Haney competed in this same tournament many years ago, and now his nerves keep him from watching his son play.
Haney will not be without a rooting section, however. His friend, co-worker and caddie, Jay Tognetti, will be there. Haney calls him his secret weapon. Recalling golf bets the two have made and won, Haney smiles.
“We can’t lose together,” he says.
THE CALIFORNIA AMATEUR STARTS MONDAY, JUNE 18, AND CONTINUES THROUGH A 36 HOLE FINAL ON SATURDAY. SPECTATORS CAN WATCH AT EITHER THE DUNES OR SHORE COURSE AND ARE ASKED TO DRESS APPROPRIATELY. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT SCGA.ORG