Designer seeks to play on his course in US Amateur

By Associated PressJuly 22, 2010, 12:48 am

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Getting time off from his boss to get married was the easy part for Jay Blasi.

Getting time off to try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur was a bit more difficult – even if it could bring some unique attention to Blasi’s company.

“He’s got days off because he’s getting married,” said Blasi’s boss, renown golf course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. “But golf, he’ll have to work that out with his new wife.”

Blasi will head to Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz, Calif., on July 25 and try to qualify for the 2010 Amateur being played at Chambers Bay, about an hour south of Seattle. Normally, he’d just be another of the thousands of golfers trying to qualify at nearly 100 sites around the country for a chance to play in the national championship of amateur golf.

But Blasi’s connection with Chambers Bay makes him different.

If he makes it through qualifying and to the actual tournament, no player will know Chambers Bay with the same level of intimacy as Blasi. Along with Jones and Bruce Charlton, the 32-year-old Blasi was a co-designer on Chambers Bay, which turned an abandoned gravel mine along the shores of Puget Sound into a links golf course that was awarded the U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open within a year of its opening.

Chambers Bay will be the first municipally owned golf course to host the Amateur. It was a risk of political clout by many within Pierce County government, owners of the course, to invest millions in the project with no guarantees of getting the major tournaments and accolades that would make the investment seem worthwhile.

The accolades have come and so did the big tournaments. The Amateur is a dress rehearsal in operations, infrastructure and course layout for the Open five years from now.

“It’s fascinating to see it mature. This is really the first time I’ve been through the process, to see something beginning, middle, end,” Blasi said. “From the grand opening to see it out through maturity, it’s been fascinating to see it.”

Blasi’s golf resume is strong enough it’s not inconceivable he could find himself playing at Chambers Bay for the Amateur, which takes place Aug. 23-29.

He first grabbed a golf club at age 2, growing up in Wisconsin with a home-built green in his back yard. After four years of playing varsity golf in high school, Blasi turned down a chance to walk-on at Wisconsin and focused on becoming a course designer.

Still busy handling projects for Jones’ design firm, and a July 31 wedding, Blasi manages to carry a handicap that hovers between 1 and 2.

It helps that his project after completing Chambers Bay was building a new practice facility for Stanford University – near Blasi’s Bay Area office.

“I have been spending a fair amount of time in the late evenings chipping and putting and trying to get better with different parts of my game,” Blasi said.

Jones might not be letting Blasi off the hook from his work, but he is encouraging his young designer to pursue the challenge of qualifying, calling to make sure Blasi’s getting in some practice time leading up to the qualifier.

“He’ll call and say ‘Are you getting out there? Are you practicing?”’ Blasi said. “He wants me to do this.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.