Ron Agostini

Modesto’s Dryden Park playing shorter and a little easier

Dryden Park has played slightly shorter, and easier, over the last six months.

The par-5 second, the first of Dryden’s trio of holes bordering the Tuolumne River, has been adjusted to a 260-yard par-4 since October. The reason is the installation of sewer pipes which cross beneath the fairway at about the landing point of tee shots.

Players have been left with a healthy walk from the first green to the second tee, but their reward is a do-able par-4 and a birdie chance. Long hitters can reach if they can negotiate the front bunker. The result is a front-nine par of 35 for an 18-hole par of 71.

Chris Mendes, Drdyen head professional, said No. 2 should return to normal in about a month or longer. If so, the 33rd Modesto City on June 13-14 could be contested with the second as a par-4. Mendes noted, however, that the hole could be lengthened to more than 400 yards before the tournament for the championship flight.

First Tee Graduate – Anthony Bonales of Ceres, an alumnus of The First Tee of Central Valley, has been selected to attend an Executive Business Forum during The Players Championship at Ponte Vedra, Fla., on May 7-10. Bonales, a Central Valley High graduate who has gotten into three tournaments this season as a UC Riverside freshman (he’s studying business management), will join three other national scholars of The First Tee for the event, now in its 11th year.

“We are thrilled for Anthony and, of course, very proud,” said Cathy Mendoza, executive director of Modesto’s First Tee chapter. “Anthony is a wonder example of the power of our Life Skills Education curriculum and the influence of our caring coaches.”

We’ll see if Bonales, an active First Tee member for six years (he earned an invitation to The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach), gets a chance to play the island 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

The Shag Bag – The George Maroney Memorial, an annual event on the Junior Golf Association of Northern California circuit, will receive some needed special attention this summer. The tournament, scheduled for July 15-16 at Dryden and Creekside, has slipped in recent years. Mendes said help is on the way from potential sponsors. Lunches will be provided for the contestants, Mendes said, among other additions ...

San Jose State senior Kathleen Rojas, a graduate of Turlock Christian, tied for 39th (76-82-83 – 241) at the Mountain West Conference Championships at Mission Hills. The Spartans placed third. ... Central Catholic graduate Andrew Bonner is a redshirt this year at No. 8 Oregon. He’ll have three remaining years of eligibility after his transfer from Colorado. ... Justin Rose, after he won last weekend in New Orleans, said he was inspired by Steph Curry and his miraculous shot in Game 3 of Golden State’s first-round sweep over New Orleans. For the perfect definition of the word “hot,” look up Curry ...

Coming up: The inaugural Drail Charity Golf Tournament, to be held Saturday, June 27, at Dryden. Drail stands for Disability Resource Agency for Independent Living. The fee is $80 per player. To sign up, call Tanja Wright, 521-7260; and the JGANC Match Play Championship on June 8-11 at Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club.

Holes-In-One – Jim Pollard, Stevinson, 138-yard 7th at Stevinson Ranch, 7-iron ... Jeff Hansen, Turlock, 172-yard 11th at Turlock CC, 7-iron ... Lester Habben, Modesto, 105-yard 15th at Jack Tone Golf, Ripon, 8-iron.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeSports.

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