Thomas Wolfe wrote the novel entitled "You can't go home again."
Matt Picanso proved that not only can you go home again, you can be victorious in doing so. Picanso shot a record-breaking 21 under par in cruising to victory in the Motor City Bakersfield Open, hosted at Bakersfield Country Club Jan. 29-31.
Picanso currently lives outside San Diego, but graduated from Stockdale High in 2000. Somewhat surprising is that he played baseball through his junior year at Stockdale, and did not even play golf until his senior year, which is not exactly a customary path to playing the sport on a professional level.
He then proceeded to play at Bakersfield College for two years, taking the course in a limited capacity in his first year before earning a conference MVP at BC in his second year.
The story took many twists and turns until fast forwarding to last weekend's performance. After he finished at BC, Matt quit the game, did a bunch of odd jobs, and by his own admission, was a bit of a rebel. He decided to pick the game back up when he was 26, and around eight years ago started to compete on developmental tours like the Golden State Tour.
Somewhere along the way, he decided to caddy for good friend Mark Hubbard, who's currently on the PGA Tour, and see what the difference was between his golf game and that of PGA talent.
What he found was that he "had to surrender to the fact that he needed to make some changes" and most of them were in his "emotional intelligence."
"That is the biggest growth area in my game in the past several years, and hopefully it will enable me to succeed at any level of golf I am competing in," Picanso said.
He has some PGA status, as he has played in the McKenzie Canadian Tour, the Latin American Tour, and will compete in the PGA's Q-School again.
"It was the most talented fields I have seen in Bakersfield over the past seven years, as there were plenty of golfers that had some PGA status," said Mike O'Leary, Executive Director of the Golden State Tour, regarding the Bakersfield Open. "The fact that Matt was 17 under after the second round and 21 under for the three-day total is really stellar play, especially on a good championship course like BCC. I think if Matt continues to play at that level, it is only a matter of time until he will be playing at the PGA level on a full-time basis."
It should be noted that Picanso carded one double-bogey and three bogeys over his three rounds, but two eagles and 22 birdies spelled a very special tournament for the man who came home, and left with the Motor City Bakersfield Open championship title.