Matt Dobyns is more than pleased with another major challenge. Yes, the head pro at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success found it daunting when he played in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, two years ago. Rather than make him reluctant, it only made him hungrier.
So he put himself back in the arena, entering the qualifying process for the U.S. Open, and he was one of the special few nationally who made it. By placing among the top four in an elite field at Old Oaks and Century in Westchester Monday -- he beat two-time Open champion Lee Janzen and new NCAA individual champion Cameron Wilson, among others -- he earned his way back to the Carolinas. He will head to Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sunday night for the Open that begins Thursday.
"Now I know what to expect,'' he said. "And this course sets up better for me than Kiawah did.''
So he will be back on the practice range and the course with the best golfers on Earth. That continues a strong year in which Dobyns dominating the Met PGA Head Pro Championship before the Open qualifier. "I've probably played less golf than I ever have. I'm just feeling better,'' he said.
He had sinus surgery in January and then treatment for sleep apnea, all of which helped him lose weight and get in better shape -- probably a good lesson for all golfers.
Dobyns has not played Pinehurst but has studied it. He knows that it is forgiving of drivers that aren't always precise, which is good for him, as well for most current top tour pros.
Double eagle, again
Double eagles keep coming. This week, Jay Doran, a 12 handicap at Ridgefield (Conn.) Golf Club, made an albatross 2 on Maidstone's 500-yard, par-5 13th hole. He sank a 230-yard 2-hybrid shot during the Guild Hall outing Monday . . . Dean Knuth, the former USGA executive known as The Pope of Slope, confirmed in an email that his calculations still say an albatross is a one-in-a-million shot for an amateur golfer. That was reassuring for Colonial Springs member Lisa Goldberg, who read reports of double eagles in this space the past couple weeks and recalled that her husband, Ron, has been telling her for more than 20 years that those were the odds. She said she always has felt badly that there wasn't any recognition after his 2 on a par 5 during a member-guest at Indian Hills in the 1980s. "He always has said to me, 'Hon, it's like winning the lottery,' '' she said.
Fass in blind event
Ted Fass of Rockville Centre will play today in the 37th Annual Guiding Eyes Golf Classic, considered the Masters for blind golfers. Fass has been competitive in the event but predicted, "This time, I'm going to win it.'' He and his fellow competitors will attend a Guiding Eyes charity outing tomorrow, hosted by Eli Manning, and will invite full-vision golfers to hit shots blindfolded.
Fact of the week
Billionaire Scott McNealy, the CEO of Sun Microsytems, will caddie in the U.S. Open this week for his son Maverick, 18, a Stanford freshman.