Shano’s distance wows at Arizona Am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – I don’t know if I saw the longest hitter in college golf on Friday at the Arizona Amateur, but if you’ll allow me to add a pound-for-pound condition, I’ll feel pretty comfortable putting that tag on Jason Shano from the University of San Diego.

One of those guess-your-weight professionals at the circus probably would peg Shano at no more than 150 pounds, but he is, in the recent words of Tiger Woods when discussing U.S. Open third-round leader Dustin Johnson, stupid long.

In Friday’s semifinal match at Pinnacle Peak Country Club against Nicholas Losole – a sophomore at Northwestern – Shano hit his 3-iron past Losole’s 3-wood at the par-4 eighth. He crushed a drive estimated at between 340 and 360 yards at the 450-yard seventh.

But the age-old adage “drive for show and putt for dough” was never more accurate. Shano had at least three putts on the second nine that missed by a couple of dimples and it was Losole who advanced, 1 up, into Saturday’s final against Jake Golembiewski, who has transferred from Cal State Fullerton to play his senior season at nearby Grand Canyon University.

“I know what I have to work on,” said Shano. “I’ve got to practice those 10- to 15-foot putts. If I make more of those this afternoon, who knows? Maybe the result is different.”

The only bogey by either player on the back nine came at the par-5 14th, where Shano nearly made one of the all-time great par-saving halves. Shano hit his tee shot OB, and while Losole was making a by-the-book par, Shano went back, re-teed and hit his third shot into the fairway. He hit hit fourth to within 10 feet, and from there he came within a whisker of making the putt for a momentum-stealing par 5.

“That would have been huge if I would have made that,” he conceded.

Shano’s length wasn’t the only impressive aspect of Friday’s play. Kudos to the Arizona Golf Association, which managed to complete two rounds and be finished before 2 p.m., and that’s with an hourlong lunch break thrown in for good measure.

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