Golf: Sparrer has unfinished business

San Benito High junior Brad Sparrer is looking to make the CCS Finals in May after bowing out in the regionals last season.

Brad Sparrer doesn’t need any motivation to stay out extra hours on the golf course. The San Benito High junior plays virtually everyday, a byproduct of his love for the sport and his drive to attain a high level. But it never hurts a motivated athlete to have an extra reason to improve, and that’s the case with Sparrer this season.
The last time Sparrer was in a high school competition, he couldn’t make it out of the Central Coast Section Regionals at the Rancho Cañada West Course in Carmel. It was a devastating blow for Sparrer, who had a tremendous regular season and was aiming for a top-10 finish in the CCS Finals.
“I made two double bogeys that day, and it cost me,” he said. “It’s hard to make birdies on that course, regardless. So that’s my focus this year, to play that course well in regionals and then hopefully the finals.”
The 5-foot-9, 140-pound Sparrer shot a solid 1-over-par 37 in a Monterey Bay League Gabilan Tournament match at Corral de Tierra Country Club in Salinas on Feb. 29. Sparrer finished second to Palma’s Joey Burlison, who is one of the best golfers in the section.
Sparrer is excited about this year’s team, as Grant Bernosky (41), Ricardo Garcia (42), Tyler Grimes (46) and Nick Wells (48) had solid rounds at Corral de Tierra. Grimes and Adam Gonzales are newcomers, having played baseball for the majority of their young careers.
“It’s going to be a fun season this year because we’ve got a good group of guys,” Sparrer said. “We all like each other, and this year I feel like we all push each other. We have a good shot at being one of the top two teams in league and make CCS. If we send our team to CCS, that would be awesome.”
Sparrer continues to improve every year, a result of an insatiable work ethic. Sparrer had quite an eventful off-season, as he got to play in the Open Pro Junior Event last October. The left-handed Sparrer got to play alongside PGA Tour Pro Scott Langley, who happens to be another lefty.
Sparrer shot a 2-over-par 74 at Silverado’s North Course in Napa, a tremendous round. More important, Sparrer was able to gain tremendous insight into the mind of the 5-10, 155-pound touring pro.
“That was cool because Scott Langley is a lefty like I am, and he’s not the biggest guy out there,” Sparrer said. “He told me everything he’s gone through in life to get to where he’s at, and how long of a road it’s been. He had nothing but nice words to say to me, and told me everything I needed to know to make it to the next level. It was pretty surreal to play on that nice of a golf course with a PGA Tour Pro.”
Sparrer said from the moment he met Langley, the five-year professional had great things to say to him. Langley offered Sparrer plenty of constructive advice, and the two have exchanged a couple of emails since they played together.
“It’s pretty cool because now I’ve got someone to root for the rest of my life,” Sparrer said. “The biggest thing that came out of meeting him was if I put in the time and effort, anything is possible. Hopefully some day I’ll be out there on the Tour playing with him—that would be my dream.”
Sparrer spent a big chunk of his off-season working on his short game.
“Chipping and putting is the name of the game,” he said. “Getting the ball up and down for par is what separates the good players from the best ones.”
In January, Sparrer hit his first hole-in-one at the No. 6 hole on the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside. Sparrer used a 5-iron on the 185-yard hole, and he was so stunned by his shot that he didn’t know quite how to react.
“Everyone in my group went crazy,” he said. “I just kept my composure because I didn’t know what to do.”
Sparrer has been impressed with Grimes, the senior who is in his first year of playing golf.
“He comes out to practice with me on the weekends, and that’s always a good sign when guys want to work hard,” Sparrer said. “Tyler has been doing unbelievable. He wants to improve his game and compete during the season. Coming from a newcomer who has never played, that’s pretty incredible.”
Sparrer has big plans this season, and he’ll compete with Burlison for league medalist honors. Sparrer would love nothing more than to reduce last year’s performance in the CCS Regionals to a footnote.
“Not doing well in regionals bummed me out,” he said. “I’ve got some unfinished business from last year.”

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