All of the days spent practicing and playing and putting countless hours of work into golf is providing two top junior players, Jaden Dumdumaya and Zach Pollo, with some very impressive results.
Dumdumaya, a resident of Fairfield who plays out of Paradise Valley Golf Course, has four wins already this year on the Junior Tour of Northern California. He recently represented Northern California in both individual and team play at the 53rd Hogan Cup, hosted by the Oregon Golf Association, at Riverside Golf & Country Club in Portland, Ore. He also finished in a tie for 10th place at the American Junior Golf Association Junior All-Star at Stanford.
“It’s like all the hard work in the last 6-7 months, all the practice, all the hours, is paying off,” said Dumdumaya, 15, who is a sophomore at De La Salle High School in Concord. “I’m pretty happy with how I’ve been performing lately and all the accomplishments I’ve had in the last couple of months. It’s like out of this world.”
Pollo, a resident of Rocklin who plays out of Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln and Whitney Oaks Golf Club, picked up two wins during the Junior Tour of Northern California’s 2020-21 season. He also won the boys division of the American Junior Golf Association Junior Open at The Bridges Presented by the City of Montrose in Colorado in early August. He set an AJGA 18-hole record with an 11-under-par 60 during the second round of the tournament at The Bridges Golf & Country Club.
“It was a good season,” said Pollo, 16, a senior at Whitney High in Rocklin. “I played some pretty good JTNCs. It was a good year to go along with the good summer of JTNC. I love playing the JTNC. I think it was pretty fun and successful.”
Successful, indeed, for both players.
In late July, Dumdumaya was named as JTNC Boys Player of the Year for the 2020-2021 season. He had five wins, a JTNC record, and 2,835 points.
Pollo ended the season as the runner-up, finishing with 1,900 points.
In a story on the JTNC website, at jtnc.org on July 28, Dumdumaya said:
“Winning Player of the Year means a lot to me because of all the hard work I’ve put in. I wouldn’t be here either without my family. I’m thankful for them.”
The award recognizes the best boy and girl junior player in the region, according to jtnc.org.
According to the Northern California Golf Association, at ncga.org:
“The Junior Tour of Northern California, sponsored by Capital Insurance Group, was created by the Northern California Golf Association and the Northern California Professional Golf Association. The NCGA and NCPGA had a desire to create a single tour where junior golfers could compete and play against the best players in the region for an affordable price. Established in 2011, the JTNC was founded by combining the resources of the NCGA’s Junior Tour and the NCPGA’s Junior Tour to create one place where competition and love of the game flow freely and opportunities to make lasting golf friendships.”
According to the JTNC, at jtnc.org:
“Founded in 2008, the NCGA Junior Tour grew from eight tournaments to sixteen by 2010, while the NCPGA’s Junior Tour conducted eight tournaments during its inaugural year in 2010.”
Pollo and Dumdumaya both played in the NCGA’s 118th annual Amateur Championship at Spyglass Hill Golf Course at Pebble Beach in August.
Pollo tied for seventh in stroke-play qualifying, shooting 73-77 – 150, and was among the low 32 players to advance to single-elimination match play. Pollo lost in the Round of 32, falling 2 and 1 to Amol Mahal of San Mateo.
Dumdumaya did not advance out of stroke-play qualifying after shooting 75-79 – 154.
Both Pollo and Dumdumaya are recipients of Morton Golf Foundation Junior Golf Development Grants. The grants “provide financial support for families to help their children learn to compete, develop skills,
enhance core values, and build lasting relationships through the game of golf,” according to the Morton Golf Foundation website, mortongolffoundation.org.
A look at the top two junior players:
Dumdumaya’s wins during the 2020-21 season came at:
- Holiday Series III: Dec. 29-30, 2020, at Poppy Hills Golf Course & Del Monte Golf Course; 69-73 – 142.
- Spring Series IV: April 24-25, 2021, at Rancho Murieta Country Club-North Course; 71-71 – 142.
- Spring Series VI: May 15-16, 2021, at Corica Park Golf Course, Alameda; 71-72 – 143. Won on second hole of a playoff with Julian Monas, Niall Shiels Donegan and Leonardo Vieira.
- Summer Series II: June 16-17, 2021, at Poppy Ridge Golf Course, Livermore; 63-67 – 130.
- Summer Series III: July 18-19, 2021, at Spring Creek Golf and Country Club, Ripon; 69-70 – 139.
Dumdumaya finished third at the JTNC Tour Championship, the season-ending event, July 26-27. He shot 74-71 – 145 at Poppy Hills Golf Course.
Dumdumaya also put his name in the JTNC record books.
He is now tied for third, joining Bryson DeChambeau and Joshua McCarthy, for most JTNC wins all-time (6), the JTNC reported on its website. Justin Suh (11) is No. 1 and Thomas Hutchison (9) is No. 2.
DeChambeau is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour. His victories include the U.S. Open in 2020 and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and The Northern Trust in 2018.
With his outstanding performance at the Summer Series II Championship, Dumdumaya’s two-round 14-under par total set a JTNC record for the lowest winning score, the tour reported on its website. Furthermore, the 9-under-par 63 he shot in the first round is the second-lowest 18-hole score in JTNC history, the tour said on its website.
“It’s definitely one of the best seasons I’ve had,” Dumdumaya said in the JTNC report. “I feel that I’m on the right track. Tying Bryson DeChambeau … he’s an amazing golfer. I didn’t pay much attention to the records, but I’m definitely chasing them more now.”
Dumdumaya is second for most JTNC wins in one year (4).
“Having my name up there with Bryson and breaking records means a lot to me, knowing that I’m potentially on the right track,” he said. “My game is starting to be more effective. It’s beginning to hit me and surprise me. It makes me really proud.”
He has the record for most JTNC wins in one points season (5), fall to summer.
“I’m starting to see results in my golf game,” he said. “From the beginning of this year to about now, I think everything is starting to click. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it, a lot of time and effort. There is rarely free time. But I know that the sacrifices that I make now will pay off in the future.”
It’s been a busy summer for Dumdumaya.
He played in the Hogan Cup – which includes “the best junior golfers from the Western United States and Canada” in individual and team formats, according to www.oga.org.
“The event began in 1969 as a partnership between Riverside Golf & Country Club and the Oregon Golf Association in commemoration of the vast achievements and contributions to the sport by Eddie Hogan, Riverside’s long-time head golf professional,” www.oga.org said.
“Being selected to compete in Hogan Cup matches is an honor that has been bestowed to few individuals, and the excellence of past participants is indicative of the quality of the small, select field.
“Hogan Cup alumni include tour players such as Bobby Clampett, Fred Couples, Joe Rassett, Jack Renner, Lennie Clements, Scott Simpson, Rick Fehr, Robert Gamez, Bill Sanders, Kirk Triplett, Jim Nelford, John Fought, Peter Jacobsen, Jeff Quinney, Casey Martin, Jason Gore, Tiger Woods, Ricky Barnes, and Bryson DeChambeau.” Dumdumaya tied for the 13th, shooting 73-72 – 145.
In the team scoring, Northern California placed third. Southern California won and Oregon 1 was second. Dumdumaya finished 18th at the 100th annual Sacramento City Men’s Golf Championship, a two-day, 36-hole NCGA points tournament that is presented by the Sacramento Golf Council. He shot 71-74 – 145 at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex’s Alister MacKenzie Golf Course in June.
He tied for 10th at the AJGA Junior All-Star at Stanford, shooting 72-73-67 – 212 in August at Stanford Golf Course.
He played in a U.S. Open Local Qualifying on May 4 at El Macero Country Club and failed to advance after shooting 73.
He advanced from a sub-regional qualifier for Drive, Chip & Putt on Aug. 3 at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. He moves on to the regional qualifier, Sept. 26 at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Dumdumaya’s golf coach is his father, Stan Dumdumaya.
“My dad has been my one and only coach my whole life,” said Jaden. “Having him as a coach, he is always there – at every practice session, every golf tournament. He is my biggest supporter. I’m very thankful for that. We’re always talking about golf.”
Jaden has been playing tournament golf since he was 4.
He is very thankful and appreciative of the support that he receives from the Morton Golf Foundation and its Junior Golf Development Grant.
“It means a lot, having the support from Morton Golf, knowing that there is a support system behind you. It really means a lot, knowing that there are people who also believe in you and that they can see something in your future.”
Pollo had an outstanding season of junior golf during the 2020-21 JTNC season.
His wins came at:
- Fall Series VII Championship at Greenhorn Creek Resort in Angels Camp, Oct. 3-4, 2020; 77-69 – 146. Pollo finished the tournament strong, making a birdie on No. 17 and an eagle on the 18th hole.
- Summer Series I, at The Reserve at Spanos Park Golf Course, Stockton, June 12-13, 2021; 72-72 – 144.
Pollo was also:
- Second at Holiday Series I, at Del Monte Golf Course and Pacific Grove Golf Links, Nov. 23-24, 2020; 65-74 – 139.
- Fourth at Holiday Series III, at Poppy Hills Golf Course and Del Monte Golf Course, Dec. 29-30, 2020; 74-72 – 146.
- Second at Fall Series IV & JGS Next 100, at Elkhorn Golf Course, Stockton, Sept. 26-27, 2020; 69-69 – 138.
- Second at Fall Series VIII, at Cypress Lakes Golf Course, Vacaville, Oct. 10-11, 2020; 75-71 – 146.
- Fourth at Fall Series II, at Rancho Murieta Country Club-North Course, Aug. 29-30, 2020; 74-72 – 146.
- Tied for second, at Spring Series IV, at Rancho Murieta Country Club-North Course, April 24-25, 2021; 73-72 – 145.
- Tied for second, Spring Series V, at Coyote Creek Golf Club, San Jose, May 1-2, 2021; 69-72 – 141.
Pollo won the Fall Series I, Aug. 21-22, 2021, at Cypress Lakes Golf Course in Vacaville. He shot 69-66 – 135.
“It always feels good each time you win,” said Pollo. “You go into every tournament, obviously, wanting to win, or else you’re not really doing it right. The goal would be to end up that way, but if that doesn’t happen, just as long as you thought you played good.”
“There are a lot of good players from Northern California and it’s very competitive.”
He played First Tee — Greater Sacramento Junior Tour events when he was younger.
Pollo said he is feeling much better after suffering an injury – a muscle strain – to his back in March of 2020.
“I was struggling for a little bit because I got injured and I was struggling to get my game back,” he said. “But this summer, I’ve gotten it back really well. I’m really showing great signs and playing really good overall.”
Pollo, who has verbally committed to the University of Arizona, won the boys division at the AJGA Junior Open at The Bridges Presented by the City of Montrose in August.
It was a record-setting win for Pollo, as he set both an AJGA 18-hole record with a second-round 11-under-par 60 and also broke the men’s course record at The Bridges Golf & Country Club. He birdied six of the first seven holes on the back nine.
“I was in and out of golf for up to eight months and I just struggled to get any consistent play in. I finally came back and started playing a lot more. It just took a while to get my game back. In the last month or two, I started to show signs and this is the peak moment of that,” Pollo said in a report at www.ajga.org on Aug. 5.
It was Pollo’s first career AJGA victory. He had 18 birdies and two eagles during the week, as he shot 12-under-par 201. He had rounds of 69, 60, and 72.
“It’s coming together really well this summer,” said Pollo, a member of First Tee – Greater Sacramento. “It’s been a great summer, winning the AJGA and doing well in JTNCs.
“I’m really thankful that has happened because it’s never easy to get here. I’m just thankful that all the work that was put in has paid off.”
Pollo failed to advance from a U.S. Amateur Championship qualifying after shooting 69-72 – 141 at El Macero CC on July 19.
He is very disciplined and diligent about working on his game.
“Once I got into high school, and I started playing some bigger tournaments, a lot of people were telling me how I could play college golf,” he said. “From the time that high school started, it’s been golf pretty much every day, honestly, practicing and doing drills.
“I think I’ve worked really hard to get here and it feels really good for it to pay off.”
He can sign his national letter of intent in November.
Pollo’s coach is Tom Morton, a PGA Member who is with the ownership team at Morton Golf, the PGA Director of Player Performance for Morton Golf, and the President of the Morton Golf Foundation. Morton played college golf at UC Santa Barbara.
He was the PGA General Manager at the Bing Maloney Golf Complex in Sacramento from 2001-2005.
He is a member of the NCPGA Education Committee, National PGA Player Development Committee, First Tee – Greater Sacramento Board Member, and the NCPGA Player & Teacher Development Forum Chairman.
He has been honored as:
- 2002 NCPGA Apprentice Championship winner.
- 2002 NCPGA Apprentice/Assistant of the Year.
- 2008 Northern California PGA Junior Golf Leader of the Year.
- 2012 Northern California PGA Junior Golf Leader of the Year.
- 2012 Northern California PGA Player Development of the Year
* Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, 2019, after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor, and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016.