Ron Agostini

Agostini on Golf: After the wedding ceremony, maybe they'll play a round

Matt Hansen, Atwater golfer.  (Ted Benson / tbenson@modbee.com)
Matt Hansen, Atwater golfer. (Ted Benson / tbenson@modbee.com)

Forgive Atwater's Matt Hansen for a few distractions creeping into his golf game.

He wouldn't call them distractions, for one thing. He's marrying Megan Dillon of Modesto on May 30 at Stevinson Ranch, exactly the right venue for them to exchange vows.

"We met there, got engaged there and we'll get married there," Hansen said. "Just right."

The honeymoon must wait until the offseason, however, as Hansen, 29, soon juggles for the first time the idea of wedded bliss with the demands of his career on the golf circuit.

The two are compatible — see Woods, Tiger. It's just that making a living in tournament golf never is easy, regardless of marital status.

"My schedule is up in the air at the moment," Hansen said.

He knows he's in the field for the BMW Charity Pro-Am, the next Nationwide Tour stop, May 14-17. The tournament, contested on courses in both North and South Carolina, features a full field of 168. But after that, Hansen's itinerary is uncertain.

He finished 67th on the Nationwide money list in 2008, seven spots out of the all-exempt category. His status this year is "conditional," which means he's relying on less-than-capacity fields and timely withdrawals to squeeze into tournaments.

Hansen was the last player to inch into the field at the Stonebrae Classic earlier this month in the hills above Hayward. No matter. He missed the cut.

In fact, the former University of the Pacific star has teed it up so far in only three of eight Nationwide events. Last week at the South Georgia Classic, an encouraging second-round 68 was negated by a 74 and a 77 on the weekend for a tie for 57th.

"I've been playing better. Not getting in enough competition is the thing that has hurt me, not being competition-sharp," Hansen said. "It's like I have to get used to it again."

Since his single year on the PGA Tour (2006), Hansen has plied his trade on the Nationwide. He nearly won a tournament last spring but, since then, he's been one of countless players--talented, experienced, waiting for the career-changing break.

How tenuous is it out there, you ask? After the BMW, the next Nationwide stop is in Mexico, where the swine flu outbreak is centered.

Said Hansen, "I'm not too sure."

He referred to a potential trip to Mexico, not his upcoming wedding.

THE SHAG BAG — Modesto's Jeff Burda, the 2008 Northern California Golf Association Senior Player of the Year, trudged through cold conditions at Spyglass Hill the last two days at the 48th NCGA Senior Championship. The defending champion recorded rounds of 76 and 78 Tuesday for a 10-over-par 154 and a seventh-place finish, eight strokes behind winner Gary Vanier. Last weekend, Burda tied for eighth among the seniors at the 82nd Alameda Commuters Championship. ... Coming up: The California State Amateur, to be held June 22-27 at Lake Merced in Daly City; The fourth annual Tuolumne Me Wuk Tribal Gaming Agency Tournament, Friday, June 5, at Mountain Springs in Sonora. Call Virginia Aguiar, 928-9448.

HOLES-IN-ONE — Pete Salas, Modesto, 158-yard 15th at Spring Creek CC, Ripon, 5-hybrid. ... Jerry Ballesta, Sonora, 136-yard fifth at Mountain Springs, 7-iron.

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

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