February 18, 2010

Redshirt Golfer Keeps Busy

Feb. 18, 2010

San Francisco, Calif. - In team sports, collegiate redshirts must display the Patience of Job. They sweat and toil and practice every day with their team but then on game day after game day, it's a spectator's role - sometimes on the bench, sometimes in the stands.

But for individual sports, there are outlets to compete individually during the season and Cal State Fullerton golfer David Lyons is trying to take full advantage.

Ruled ineligible for the 2009-10 academic year because of a technical glitch in his transfer from San Diego State, he has continued to play on an almost daily basis and this weekend finds himself in the hunt for the championship of the storied San Francisco City Championship.

"I shot a 70 in the qualifying round (Feb. 12) to earn one of the 64 spots in match play, which begins Saturday," said Lyons, a senior sociology major from Huntington Beach whose home course is now Dove Canyon Country Club in Trabuco Canyon. "That round was at Lincoln Park. The rest of the tournament is at Harding Park. They start with 64 golfers and cut the field in half with each round."

The tournament dates to 1917. It is the nation's oldest municipal golf tournament and the world's most consecutively played event. The British Open, the U.S. Open, The Masters, etc., all took time off during war years. Not "The City." Past champions include Ken Venturi and George Archer and other contestants include Johnny Miller, Bob Rosburg and Tom Watson.

Driving back and forth to the Bay Area while juggling 12 units of classwork and his daily golf regimen is "kind of crazy, doing homework on the road," but a sacrifice he is willing to make toward his ultimate goal: "to play professionally, of course." More immediate is the desire for sponsorship money.

"I hope to make a name for myself in a tournament as prestigious as this one," said Lyons, who already has some support from Taylormade and adidas. He's played on big stages before, including the U.S. Amateur in 2008 at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

Lyons considers himself self-taught. He began competing at age 9 and hasn't had a coach since about age 13. Titans' Coach Jason Drotter typically separates himself from his golfers' swing coaches, something Lyons doesn't have.

"I picture my swing in my mind and then there's YouTube. I try to emulate the swing of (Australian pro golfer) Adam Scott."

Lyons came to Fullerton to help renew the program and more opportunity. He is on schedule to graduate next summer after his senior season.

"I don't have that many units left, so it can be golf first next year," he said.