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GOLF

Lincoln AM Tour golfer earns third spot at Diablo Grande

Sprague looks to nationals
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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PATTERSON _ To help build his golfing resume, Lincoln’s Pasquale “Pete” Sprague entered the Golf Channel AM Tour’s Central California Tour to play the difficult Diablo Grande Legends course and placed third. Sprague typically plays on the Sac/Stockton Tour.

In spite of taking a 3-over eight on the fifth hole, the local player battled back with two birdies to shoot a 6-over 78. The winning score was a 3-over 75.

Sprague was solid off the tee hitting 86 percent of the fairways. He also took less than two putts per green. His weakest play was in his approach shots, except for the 427-yard, par-4 seventh hole.

“My best shot of the day was on the hardest hole on the course,” Sprague said, recalling the hole. “I made my birdie and that was what sparked my fire to maintain the round I had. It was a thing of beauty.”

In danger of driving the ball too far and reaching an area of tall grass about 300 yards out, Sprague’s ball came to rest two feet short. His ball was lying next to the cart path on dirt surrounded by thick grass. The rules would have allowed him relief but he didn’t like the spot where he would have to drop.

Sprague chose instead to hit his shot where it lay despite having to stand on the cart path. With a bunker guarding the green, he choked down on a pitching wedge for greater backspin. His shot cleared the bunker and came to rest four feet from the pin. He would make the putt.

“I had my chances and played good on a course I had never seen before,” said Sprague. “I made some great up-and-downs and I really had to grind … and make some great putts to place where I did.”

Sprague is working to earn a spot in the AM Tour National Championship in La Quinta this September. If he does well there he would consider a move up to the professional level but he doesn’t want to jeopardize his amateur status until he’s satisfied he’s ready.

Sprague has been working on his game under the direction of Will Robins Golf Academy at Turkey Creek Golf Club. Robins advised him to hold off on making any moves until after nationals where he would need to finish in the top five to be satisfied he was ready to turn pro. If he moves up too soon, it would take him two years to regain his amateur status.

“[G]aining confidence is a key to taking that step and that is what I need to keep building,” Sprague said. “I am just building my resume. I want that title of champion in nationals.”

To move up to a pro circuit like the Pepsi Tour would also be more expensive. Sprague said he feels a victory at nationals would go a long way in attracting a sponsor to help defray those costs.