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Chianello qualifies in a flurry

The Centennial golfer makes Hogan Cup by winning final tourney
by: , Nick Chianello

Golfer Nick Chianello was down to his final chance, and he wasn't sure if he had done enough when he collected his first-place trophy at Rose City Golf Course in Portland two weeks ago.

Chianello was ranked 13th through the first four summer qualifiers and needed a big effort in the finale to earn a spot on the eight-team Hogan Cup team. The Centennial sophomore rose to the challenge, shooting a 2-under-par 142 to win the Rose City event by two strokes.

'I still wasn't sure if I had made the team. They went back and added up the points, and I didn't know until they announced my name,' Chianello said. 'It was a bit of a shock, but I was excited to be on the team.'

Chianello's victory pushed him past five other golfers and earned him the final roster spot on one of two Oregon teams competing in the Hogan Cup, which matches 12 teams from various western states.

The elite tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19-20, at Riverside Country Club in Portland. While an individual champion is crowned, the focus is on team play.

'I like my team, and I think we have a chance at it,' Chianello said. 'I've always enjoyed the team events, because the whole group gets excited if someone gets up on the leaderboard.'

Chianello also made the Hogan Cup squad last year. He enjoys the highly competitive summer schedule, winning a pair of tournaments at coastal courses earlier in this year. He can usually tell if he's going to be in contention by the time he pulls out his putter on the first green.

'If my first shot goes right down the middle of the fairway, and I hit my iron within 15 feet of the hole. That's how I know if my swing in on, and I'm not out there second-guessing myself on every hole,' Chianello said. 'We have a lot of top players in our league during the school season, but during the summer it goes up another notch. You go up against the top players from across the state, including some pretty good Class 2A and 3A guys.'

Chianello started hitting balls at the driving range when he was 2 years old, and played his first round of golf at age 4. He plays about five days a week during the summer with tournaments every other weekend.

'I remember being in the junior program at Glendoveer and winning my first tournament when I was 7 years old,' Chianello said. 'I was playing pretty well until I scored an 8 or 9 on the last hole. But I still have the trophy. It's about a foot-and-a-half tall with a little golfer on top.'

Chianello hopes to add another trophy to his collection this weekend.