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Amateur Golf: Make it two at Pub Links

Holen will play on men’s side, joining Hart’s Dusenberry

Posted: June 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

More than three weeks have passed since West Ranch graduate J.J. Holen’s high school golf career ended.
He admits he’s still thinking about it.

But on the same day the CIF State Boys State Championship was held in Pebble Beach, Holen was busy qualifying for 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

“OK, I’m not at the state championship,” Holen recalled thinking during Wednesday’s round at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena. “I might as well play like I’m in a state championship.”

The motivational tool apparently worked, and Holen shot a 2-under 70 to bring his two-day score to 144. He finished second overall.

The top four scores in the field of 86 earned spots in the Public Links Championship, which will take place at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore. beginning on June 27.

He’ll be participating at the same time Hart High senior-to-be Kendall Dusenberry will compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship held at the same location. She qualified last Tuesday at a tournament in Stockton.

Holen had to grind out three straight pars to finish the round. On each one of the holes, he had to chip tight from about 30 yards out and sink the ensuing putt.

“I’m definitely happy given the scores that I got,” the 2011 Foothill League Most Valuable Player said. “I could have played better, but the course was playing pretty tough.”

Throughout the two rounds, the former West Ranch standout said he struggled with the putter, but was saved by his ball-striking.

When he competes in the Public Links, he’ll most likely have to have all aspects of his game working.

The competition will include some of the nation’s best amateur golfers of all ages, ranging from high school to players in their 50s.

In terms of the talented field and the difficulty of the course, Holen called it one of the toughest tournaments of his career thus far.

“I think I have the upper hand just because some of the older guys look at me and say, ‘Oh, I’m just playing a kid,’” he said. “But mentally I’m not a kid. I’ve matured a lot.”

He’ll have the chance to mature and prepare even more when he competes in the California Golf Association Amateur Championships just days before from June 20-25. That event will take place at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, which is another professional-caliber course.

“I haven’t really played on a course like that in a long time,” Holen said. “It’s been a year and my game has improved a lot since then. I think I’m ready to face it now.”

Both tournaments use the same format. The first two rounds are individual stroke play, and the top players after that advance to a match-play tournament.

If Holen makes the round of 16 on June 30 in the Public Links Championship, he’ll be televised on the Golf Channel.

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