The distractions of attending a university located only a few yards from a pristine Pacific Ocean beach has not slowed the progress of Brandan Kelley's golf skills.
The former Longhorn standout is doing quite well as a member of the Point Loma Nazarene golf team. Most recently, he was one of three Sea Lion players named to the NAIA All Region II golf team.
His efforts, which include a 77.20 round average this season, have propelled the Sea Lions, ranked No. 6 in the NAIA, into the national championship May 22 and 23, near Indianapolis.
Sea Lions coaches are calling 2007 a breakout season for Kelley who has carded lower and lower scores as the campaign progressed. In the Region II tournament, he finished third overall with a three-round score of 226.
The highlight of Kelley's regular season might have occurred during a return trip to his home state.
Participating in April at the Grand Canyon/Thunderbird Invitational, played at Palm Valley Golf Course in Litchfield Park, Kelley and his PLNU teammates out-dueled several NCAA schools on the way to the tournament title.
In winning, the Sea Lions carded 849 over three rounds of play, which was 15 strokes under par and nine shots better than runner-up Waylon Baptist.
Host Grand Canyon was third in the 17-team field.
Kelley was a huge contributor to the victory, shooting 214 (75-69-70) for an eighth-place finish. His efforts made PLNU three players among the top 10 finishers.
In April 2004, Kelley -- a PHS senior who had been a fixture on the state's youth links season for the past 10 years, accepted a scholarship offer to play for Point Loma.
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 a strong academic curriculum.
An honor student at PHS, Kelley is majoring in psychology.
At Payson High, Kelley teamed with Billy Bob Hoyt and Troy Marrs to give the Horns their finest trio of players in the history of the sport at the school.
In 2004, the three led the Longhorns to the Class 4A Grand Canyon region championship. The victory represented a remarkable achievement, because Payson was then a rookie 4A member and the smallest school in the conference.
When the members of the trio were juniors, they paced the Horns to a 3A East region title and state runner-up laurels. All three eventually went on to play in college.