PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 12, 2008)--Focus has become Matt Hollinsead’s mantra in 2008.
In securing medalist honors at the NCGA Amateur, the former Cal State Stanislaus player demonstrated a maturity and patience that were in short supply in his recent past. After a triple bogey on the 5th hole in Tuesday’s second round knocked him out of the lead, the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play champion maintained his composure.
“A couple years ago I would have carried that with me to the next hole,” the 22-year old said.
To demonstrate his new skills, the Sacramento City runner-up then birdied the next hole and powered his way to a two-under 34 on the back nine.
Hollinsead carded a one-over 73 total to add to his first-round 70 for a two-stroke win over #2 and #3 seeds Casey Boyns and Mark Peel respectively. Boyns, at age 52, is a familiar face having won an unprecedented four NCGA Player of the Year awards, but Peel is making a strong showing for the first time in an NCGA event since finishing runner-up to Spencer Levin in the 2004 State Amateur.
The resident of Delray Beach, Florida spends a few months a year in Northern California and plays out of the Caddy Club of Pebble Beach (Peel caddies the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am every year). The 53-year-old has demonstrated some serious game in the past, having qualified for five straight U.S. Amateurs from 2000-2004.
Other match-play qualifiers include #6 seed Tim Honeycutt (left) of Cold Springs who last week won his age division of NCGA Junior. Honeycutt played his way to the quarterfinals of the 2007 State Amateur at Monterey Peninsula CC and will attend St. Mary’s in the fall where he will play for the #9 seed in coach Scott Hardy. NCGA Public Links champion Kyle Prolo qualified as the #4 seed.
Defending champion Ryan Hallisey of Granite Bay, fresh off a runner-up finish in the Pacifc Coast Amateur in Victoria BC last week, finished one stroke out of a playoff at 155.
With the 100 points that go to the medalist, Hollinsead has expanded his lead in race for the 2008 Player of the Year award. “I am swinging really well right now and the win at the Stroke Play (in July) really gave me some confidence.”
Hollinsead will face two-time champion Randy Haag in the first round after a playoff involving nine players who finished at 154 for the final six spots determined the final 32-player match-play field.
Two rounds of match play are slated for Wednesday and Thursday with the scheduled 36-hole final set for Friday.