Chardonnay's McEntee to play in U.S. Senior Open

Napa Register

Chardonnay's McEntee to play in U.S. Senior Open

July 01, 2014 8:27 pm  •  By Marty James

Shawn McEntee, a PGA teaching professional at Chardonnay Golf Club, will be taking part in the U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma next week.

Shawn McEntee suffers from arthritis in his right wrist. His back gives him problems from time to time.

Neither ailment is stopping him from playing golf.

At 55 years of age, McEntee is playing very good golf. Besides working as a PGA teaching pro at the Chardonnay Golf Club, he plays in Northern California PGA Section events throughout the year and was honored as the Section’s Senior Player of the Year in 2013.

In the last month, he won a Section senior event, shooting 4-under-par 68 at Stevinson Ranch Golf Club in Merced County, and tied for first at Claremont Country Club in Oakland, carding a 1-under 67.

McEntee also had it going in a U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifier, firing a 3-under 69 on June 18 at Turlock Golf and Country Club to earn medalist honors, advancing to the U.S. Golf Association national event.

He made a late charge, making birdies on four of his final six holes to secure one of the two qualifying spots from a field of 74 players.

“I felt very confident going in there that I could shoot a decent score,” McEntee said last week. “I knew that if I played to my game, I’d have a chance, because my game was sharp. I knew that I’d be close.

“Things clicked well that day and I hung in there and caught fire on the back nine.”

The USGA accepted 2,715 entries for the U.S. Senior Open Championship, scheduled for July 10-13 at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma. Twelve past champions are among the 80 players who are fully exempt into the field for the championship.

The U.S. Senior Open is open to professional golfers and amateurs with a handicap index not exceeding 3.4 who are 50 years of age at the start of championship play. Sectional qualifying was played over 18 holes at 34 sites across the country last month.

The 156-player field features a long line of Champions Tour players, including Kenny Perry, Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Michael Allen, Peter Jacobsen, Mark Calcavecchia, John Cook, Jeff Sluman, Mark O’Meara, Jay Haas and Corey Pavin.

“It’s exciting to know that you’re in an elite field with some of the best players of the game,” said McEntee, a member of the PGA of America who makes his home in Petaluma. “There will be some butterflies of just not being in that arena that much. But I feel pretty confident that I can certainly play and hit the ball as consistently as they do. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable and trusting what you do.

“More than anything, it’s just going to be a fun experience to be back there, to know that you played in the Senior Open.”

Oak Tree National, designed by Pete Dye, will be set up as a 7,219-yard, par-71 layout. The course was named after a majestic oak tree that stands on the fifth hole. There will be a cut after 36 holes to the low 60 scorers and ties.

ESPN2 will carry the U.S. Senior Open on July 10 and 11. NBC will have coverage on July 12 and 13.

McEntee was the 1999 NCPGA Player of the Year, 1995 NCPGA Merchandiser of the Year, and 1988 Southern California PGA Player of the Year.

During his career, he has played in major events, including the 2013 Senior PGA Championship, the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and both the 1991 and 1989 PGA Championships.

McEntee played golf at Pioneer High School-San Jose, San Jose City College and Cal State Stanislaus (Turlock), where he was an NCAA Division II All-American in 1979 and 1980. He graduated with a degree in business.

A member of the PGA of America for the last 26 years, he was unsuccessful in two attempts at PGA Tour Qualifying School. He made it to the finals of the Champions Tour Q School last year, but did not get his card.

“We’ve got a lot of quality players in our Section, players that have played in championships before, so the competition is good,” said McEntee. “I still enjoy the competition. It keeps your game up.

“Some people get burned out, but my batteries are charged and I still enjoy the game. Today, I have as much passion for the game and the business side of golf as I ever have.

“I feel like I’m in good shape. Knock on wood, I’m feeling good at my age, and that’s important to play golf.”

McEntee joined the Chardonnay Golf Club instructional staff in January 2012.

He has played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am seven times. He has also been in the Bob Hope Classic, Los Angeles Open, San Diego Open and the Reno-Tahoe Open.

“For me, for being a club professional throughout my career, to have that opportunity to play in those championships, and compete and qualify, it’s been an honor and really special to be able to do that,” he said.

McEntee has worked as the head pro at Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz), Coyote Creek Golf Club (San Jose) and Marin Country Club (Novato). He has also worked at Monterey Peninsula Country Club and La Quinta Hotel & Spa.