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Jr. clinic puts ‘fun’ in fundamentals

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Brandon Pine, 6, watches his ball trickle toward his target during a chip-and-putt competition that concluded a junior golf clinic put on by the Manteca Park Golf Course Thursday.


POSTED July 30, 2011 1:32 a.m.

One of the most pressure-packed moments in sports is the sudden-death playoff hole in golf.

A few area youth got to experience just that Thursday during a junior golf clinic conducted at Manteca Park Golf Course.

Of course, there was nothing pressure packed about it.

Jacob Frisk, for example, initially putted from about 15-20 feet out and sprinted toward the hole as his ball settled just a few inches wide of the cup. All smiles, Frisk tapped it in to secure a second-place finish in the 12-15-year-old division of a chip-and-putt competition that concluded the four-day clinic Thursday.

There were plenty of smiles to go around throughout the clinic, which was held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings the past two weeks. The course held a similar clinic in June.

“We enjoy doing it,” said course instructor Dennis Wells. “It’s a lot of fun. We worked on putting, chipping and the full swing, too, but more than anything we’re just trying to get them interested in golf. That’s the whole focus.”

Tyler Wentworth, 5, won the chip-and-putt contest in the 5-8 division. Siblings Baylee and Brandon Pine followed in second and third, respectively. The Wentworth name is a familiar one in Manteca; his dad, Kevin, was a standout golfer for Manteca High and Oklahoma State and a former PGA Tour member.

In the 9-12 division, Trenton Oneto placed first with Briggs Alavezos and Zane Salgado following suit. Tyler Brady topped the 12-15 field, with Frisk taking second and Toralyn Hahn third.

Paul Lamazar and Wells headed the clinic with help from some of the city’s top young golfers such as Drew Allen of Sierra High, Will Brink of East Union and East Union graduate Kyle Harman, who now plays for Simpson University.

“They gladly give their time to do this because they were here too when they were that age,” Wells said while gesturing to a group of nearby youngsters who participated in the clinic.

He especially gave kudos to Alan Thomas, the head pro at Manteca Golf Course.

“Alan is a big part of this,” Wells said. “He really pushes us to do junior clinics. It’s good for the community and good for the kids.”

Wells added that Saturday clinics are in the works for the school year.

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