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‘Something very special’

Local golfer scores rare double-eagle
By: Jeffrey Weidel Special to The Press-Tribune
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A net that is strategically strung up in the backyard gets far less use these days. Although his favorite past time remains swinging a golf club, job and family responsibilities prevent Randy McMaster from regularly grooving his swing at his home-made driving range. The lack of golf time isn’t weighing heavily on the mind of the one-time youthful phenom. At age 44, the Roseville resident is more concerned with staying in tune with his two teenage kids (Tony, Kaylah), while catering more to the baby of the family, 5-year-old Tyler. Mix in some quality time with wife Jo Ann, and golf resides pretty deep in the backseat of McMaster’s life right now. “I want to be involved with my kids growing up, I really enjoy that,” said McMaster, who says he averages about one round of golf a month. “That’s my passion right now.” Still, the former Sac-Joaquin Sub-section golf champion and Sacramento State player has his moments. One of them came at the annual Roseville City Amateur Championship in late April when McMaster might have produced the best shot of his life, holing out from 220 yards away to post a double-eagle on the 509-yard, par-5, No. 2 hole at Diamond Oaks Golf Course. As any knowledgeable golfer understands, hole-in-ones are somewhat common occurrences that golfers of all ability levels can proudly put on their resume. Yet a double-eagle is the rarest feat in golf and only shared by the best of the best. “No question, a double-eagle is much rarer,” Diamond Oaks head pro Scott Prenez said. “I hate to discount anyone with a hole-in-one, but when someone like Randy puts one in the cup from 220 yards out on his second shot, that’s something very, very special that not many people can say they have done.” After pounding his drive over 280 yards and cresting the hill, McMaster pulled out a 3-iron and nailed that as well. With no clear view at the green, he and a playing partner thought the ball might have reached the green. “But you never really know for sure until you get up to the hole,” said McMaster, a member of the Roseville Golf Club. With no ball lying in the short grass or resting on the green, the playing partner looked in the hole and picked up the ball with McMaster’s signature mark of BIG (believe in God) and let out a shout - “It’s You!” A jubilant McMaster went into celebration mode. “I did the Tiger (Woods) pump, I figured it was the only time I may be able to use it,” said McMaster, who owns one hole-in-one at Diamond Oaks’s 15th hole. “It was pretty cool. There are a couple of other holes near that green and everyone knew what I had done. I got a lot of high fives.” Yet in the great tradition of golf, a sport known for its tremendous highs followed by vicious lows, a pumped up McMaster skied a 9-iron over the short par-3 at the third hole and wound up with a bogey. He also had four double bogeys that day and finished with round of 77 followed by a 78 the next day at Woodcreek to place second in the tournament’s Net Division. “Everyone has a little list to look back on and that double eagle will definitely be on my short list,” said McMaster, a Roseville postal worker the past 23 years. Modest about his accomplishments, McMaster actually has a long list. Five years ago he strung together eight birdies on the first 12 holes at Diamond Oaks, making a run at the course record. Six straight pars that included several agonizing lip-outs left McMaster with a 64, tying the then course record shared by Jimmy Stewart (who also owns a double eagle at Diamond Oaks, on No. 16) Tony McBroom and Bill Hurwitz. Several years ago, Isaac Jimison carded a 9-under 63 to erase all four names from the record book. “It was one of those days when your body feels right, the hole looks bigger than normal and everything is going in,” recalls McMaster, who says 2003 was the last year since Tyler’s birth that was filled with numerous trips to the golf course. Other notable achievements include, defeating current PGA pros Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron to win the 1982 Sub-section crown, nearly helping his Del Campo High team reach the state finals that same year (they lost the NorCal championships in a playoff to Robert Stevenson of Monterey), becoming the inaugural Woodcreek Golf Club champ in 1997, and stringing together 18 straight pars during the annual State Fair tournament at age 17. Unlike the popular Bruce Springsteen song, “Glory Days” obviously haven’t passed him by, but McMaster understands with another young son to nurture and two older children to continually guide, his time on the golf course will be limited again, hence the current 6-handicap status and infrequent trips to the backyard to pound balls. “Unfortunately, life gets in the way of golf. Randy is like a lot of us, he is at a point in his life where he just can’t play a lot of golf,” Prenez said. “He’s a great guy who prefers spending more time with his family.”