Teen Trades Ponderosa Play For Beach Action

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Payson High School senior Brandan Kelley will soon realize his dreams of playing collegiate golf.

The teen, who has been a fixture on the state's youth links season for the past 10 years, has accepted an offer to play next season for Point Loma College in San Diego, Calif.

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Brandan Kelley will be attending Point Loma College in San Diego next school year.

The NAIA school, which is affiliated with the Nazarene Church, began the season with the nationally second-ranked golf team. Since, the team has fallen to 11th nationally.

Kelley said he decided to attend the college because it was a place where he could continue his golf career, play year-round and take advantage of its strong academic curriculum. An honor student at PHS, Kelley will major in kinesiology with an eye toward a career in the medical field.

Kelley and his father, Kevin, left for San Diego Sunday to participate in a three-day, 72-hole tournament to benefit the Point Loma golf team. During the fray, the father-and-son team will play the Southern California courses of Singing Hills, Cottonwood and Rancho Bernardo.

"The tournament also is to kind of showcase Brandan and some others," Kevin said.

Brandan tuned up for the college career with a good performance at the Arizona Public Links tournament March 12 to 14 at the Aguila course. The tournament drew most of the state's best golfers who were battling for bragging rights as Arizona's No. 1 public course player.

On the first day of competition, Brandan finished with a 1-under-par 71. On the second day, he carded a 2-under-par 70 and was all alone in sixth place.

The final day proved to be his undoing. His card of 76 dropped him to 23rd place in the final standings.

"If I could have made any of my putts, I would have been in the top five," he said.

The day after the public championships, Kelley took his act to Phoenix Encanto Golf Course where he finished second in a Junior Golf Association two-day tournament. On the par-70 course, he carded a 71 the opening day and a 68 the second.

"Over five days and two tournaments, he played even par," his father said.

Also at Encanto, Brandan's 9-year-old brother, Jeff, participated in a nine-hole tournament. His tallies of 46 and 41 were good enough for ninth place.

The Arizona State Father-and-Son Tournament to be played in June in Prescott is next on the golf agenda for the three Kelleys.

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