Ron Agostini

Ex-Warrior star chirps of 2 birdies

Finishing with clutch shots often means victory in golf. Ask ex-Cal State Stanislaus star Matt Hollinsead.

All he did last weekend was twice birdie Poppy Hills' par-5 18th, the first to tie Moraga's Rick Reinsberg, and the second to win the playoff for the Northern California Golf Association Stroke Play Championship.

Hollinsead, 22, won the tournament by drilling a 3-wood second shot to within 20 feet and two-putting for birdie and the title.

"I'm an up-and-down player," said Hollinsead, a Roseville resident and a member of Wildhawk GC in Sacramento. "I've been streaky my whole life."

Hollinsead is remembered at Stanislaus, however, as a four-year team member from 2004 through '07. As a junior, he contributed to the Warriors' third California Collegiate Athletic Association title and their first since '01. He tied for 21st and 14th individually during his last two years at the NCAA Division II Championships and was an honorable mention All-American as a senior.

Last weekend at Poppy Hills, he took charge with an opening 67 but slumped to a 77 the second day. "The first day I had my game, the second I just lost it," he said.

Hollinsead recovered with a closing 67 for a total of 3-under 213 and took advantage of Reinsberg's poor drives at the 18th, a birdie opportunity.

Finishing in a tie for third was Turlock High senior Sam Smith (73-73-69 -- 215), the NCGA Junior champion. Tying for eighth was Modesto's Jeff Burda (72-69-75 -- 216).

NO GAS GOLF -- Local golf course officials hope the skyrocketing gas prices will result in more rounds played this summer. If more people stay closer to home for vacation, the theory goes, the better chance they'll opt for the short drive to the golf course.

"When we had a downtown in the economy years ago, our play increased," said Manteca Park head pro Alan Thomas, who presides over one of the valley's busiest municipal courses. "Our play actually has increased the last three years. I think the combination of a decent price ($21 on weekdays, $28 on the weekend) makes it a good buy."

Getting a read on summer golf traffic will be difficult until the smoke fades from the surrounding fires. There are signs, though, that an uptick looms.

The George Maroney Junior, scheduled for next week at Dryden Park and Creekside, has drawn a turnout of 110, a much larger field than last year.

"I think that's a perfect example," Modesto Director of Golf Sue Fiscoe said. "We've also sold about 400 annual passes."

THE SHAG BAG -- Fiscoe was voted onto the PGA of America's Board of Directors during the NCPGA's semi-annual meeting last weekend in Reno. She will represent District 11 -- California and Hawaii -- during four meetings each year at the PGA of America's headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Fiscoe will serve a three-year term. ... Stevinson Ranch will stage a four-day junior golf camp July 28-31 (mornings only). Swimming and pizza are featured the final day. The cost is $140 per child for kids 7 to 13. Call 664-6450. ...

Night golf, anyone? A tournament is scheduled for Saturday night, Aug. 30, at River Oaks. The $45 entry fee includes one lighted golf ball, food and prizes. Call Bob Gobble, 541-0919, or Brian Merrell, 602-2654. ...

The Divine 9, a consortium of nine public courses in the Carson City-Carson Valley area of Nevada, is the host for the Divine 9 Road Trip. Guests play all nine courses in one day -- two holes per course -- during a marathon shuttle ride. The formerly media-only event will be staged from dawn until dusk Monday, Aug. 4. The courses include Genoa Lakes (Lakes and Resort) Dayton Valley, Carson Valley, Eagle Valley's East and West layouts, Empire Ranch, Silver Oak and Sunridge. "As the day goes by, we have eightsomes going down each fairway," said Jim Kepler, director of golf at Eagle Valley. "Experience proves that as the shadows stretch and the sun drops down, the camaraderie grows." The $295 fee covers two nights lodging at the Carson Valley Inn, golf, shuttle service, breakfast, lunch and awards. Hint: The bus rides sometimes are more fun than the golf! Visit www.divine9.com or call (775) 588-2412.

HOLE-IN-ONE -- Scott Johnston, Atwater, 109-yard 12th at Stevinson Ranch, gap wedge.

Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or 578-2302.

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