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On the Beat Golf: Holen facing two foes

Posted: May 14, 2014 10:06 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2014 10:06 p.m.

When we were lauding J.J. Holen for his performances as a West Ranch High golfer, it was because of the superb golf scores he turned in on a consistent basis from his freshman to senior year.

He was The Signal’s choice three consecutive years for All-Santa Clarita Boys Golfer of the Year (2009-2011) and the Foothill League’s Player of the Year in 2011.

Never in those four years did we ever know what he was going through.

Nor did West Ranch head golf coach Jeff Holen, who is also his father.

It was during a conversation with J.J. at TPC Valencia after he advanced to a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier that he mentioned he had Type 1 diabetes.

For his entire high school career and now through three years at Long Beach State, Holen has been competing against two opponents — the golf course and diabetes.

Holen has an insulin pump plugged into his body. He tried to test his blood sugar every three holes.

“I’ve lost a couple of tournaments because once I got to 13, 14 holes, my numbers crashed,” Holen said.

Holen says he carries six Gatorades and “a million” Powerbars out on the course with him to make sure his blood sugar stays up.

The college junior doesn’t ride in a cart, and didn’t while he was in high school.

With the amount of walking and pressure in golf, diabetes can have a significant effect.

Yet Holen said he never wanted to use it as a crutch.

Holen finished 12th at the Big West Conference Men’s Golf Championship last month and has seen his stroke average drop every season there.

He still checks in with West Ranch from time to time because of his dad.

But there’s another connection as well.

Danny DiMaria, who finished fourth overall in the Foothill League this season, is also a Type 1 diabetic.

He also doesn’t let it hold him down.

The only one: Holen is now the only local to advance to a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier (not including Hart High grad Jason Gore, who earned an exemption into a Sectional).

Saugus High grad Nick Delio and The Master’s College head golf coach and Hart grad Jason Semelsberger also didn’t qualify.

Hart grad and former NFL quarterback Kyle Boller shot a 78 at La Quinta on May 6, failing to advance.

So close: College of the Canyons just missed out winning a seventh state men’s golf title.

COC finished in second place at Monday’s California Community College Athletic Association’s Men’s Golf State Championship at the Victoria Club to Riverside Community College.

Both teams shot a team score of 734.

The tiebreaker was the sixth golfer’s score.

Riverside’s Chad Hambright shot a 78 to Cougar Mike Stewart’s 79.

However, COC sophomore Sidney Wolf earned the COC’s first individual medalist with a two-round, 5-under 139.


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