Fall 2018

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18 FALL 2018 | NCGA.ORG S H A G B A G A native of Lafayette outside Walnut Creek, Brandon Harkins had a stellar rookie season on the PGA Tour. A hot early start to this season—he finished T-9 at the 2017 Safeway Open, T-8 at the Career Builder Challenge, T-12 at the Farmers Insurance Open and T-15 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am—helped the former Monterey Open champ (2014) and Chico State alum finish 103rd in the FedEx Cup and lock up his 2018-19 Tour card. Q: How did you get into the game? BH: My grandparents got me started. They were members at Orinda Country Club. I've loved golf forever. I played all sorts of sports as a kid, but by freshman year of high school I gave everything else up. I knew golf was it for me. Q: How did competing in NCGA events help in your development as a player? BH: It was huge, mainly because of the courses we got to play. To be able to tee it up at Spyglass and Del Monte forced me to raise my game and then we've always had really strong competition. One of my buddies, Tony Verna, he was always better than me it seemed like and guys like Randy Haag. Looking back, I'd say it definitely had a helping hand in getting me out here. Q: What was your highlight from playing collegiately at Chico State? BH: We finished third as a team in the (NCAA Div. II) national championship in 2010. I had played in one as an individual, but making it as a team was more satisfying. Q: When did you realize that you were really going to make the PGA Tour? BH: I qualified for the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont and made the cut there. That did wonders for my confidence. I saw how hard the best players worked on the range and I upped the effort I put into the game away from tournaments. Q: What tournament do you consider your "home game?" BH: Growing up in Walnut Creek only 45 minutes away and with my mom being in the wine industry, I'd say the Safeway Open in Napa. It was a great place to make my first start of the 2017-18 season and ease into my rookie year on the PGA Tour. My teacher is Laird Small. He's director of instruction at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy so I'm there enough that the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am felt like a second home game to me. Q: How would you describe your rookie year? BH: It was close to a dream start in your first year on Tour. It took a lot of pressure off of me as far as needing to improve my status. Knowing that I was going to be safe to secure my card for next season fairly early on meant I could focus on learning the golf courses for my next go-round. Q: One of your most memorable rounds must have been being paired with Tiger Woods in the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship. What was that like? BH: He was great to me. We chatted the whole way around the golf course, running the gamut from sports to taxes. Playing in front of his crowd was insane. There were so many distractions, and I wasn't used to that and shot 76. I chalked it up as a learning experience. But what can I say? I got to play with Tiger in a twosome when he was wearing a red shirt. BRANDON HARKINS, PGA Tour Age: 32 In Memoriam: Dean Bartee, who served as NCGA president in 2006, died July 12. Mr. Bartee, who also twice served as president of La Rinconada CC, spent his entire career in the newspaper business. A favorite quote of his was from Bobby Jones: "Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies." Noteworthy news U SC's Justin Suh of San Jose, Calif., was selected by both teams to receive the Arnold Palmer Cup exemption into the PGA Tour's 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. Suh also won the Northeast Amateur ... San Jose State University promoted for- mer Spartan All-American and San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame honoree Dana Dormann to head coach of the women's golf program. AP

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