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After switching focus from baseball to golf, Farmington senior Zach Holesinger has a chance to win a state title, which would be Farmington's first individual title since 2004.

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FARMINGTON — Farmington's Zach Holesinger is on his way to being one of the best golfers in 5A, and he'll have a chance to solidify that claim at the state tournament next month.

Last May, Holesinger finished third at the 5A state tourney at his home course of Piñon Hills Golf Course, shooting 10 over for the two-day event. It wasn't an ideal performance for Holesinger, who shot a 10-over 82 on the first day before firing an even-par 72 on the second day, which matched Nolan Gillihan for the low round of the tourney.

"Obviously, it being my home course, I was a little disappointed with how I started," Holesinger said. "I think it will help me a lot because it helped me deal with nerves. It wasn't first-tee nerves, more staying focused throughout (the round). Then the second round, I bounced back with a 72."

This season Holesinger won't have the luxury of playing his home course for the state tourney. He'll have to go to Albuquerque and play The Canyon Club, where Farmington played a tournament on Monday.

Monday's round didn't go so well for Holesinger — he shot a 9-over 81 — but a good score wasn't the priority of the round. The trip was more about scouting the course and getting a familiarity with its layout and greens.

"There's definitely a difference this year. Last year, he had the home-course advantage. That's where he works, and he knows (Piñon Hills) inside and out," Farmington coach Jonathan Matajcich said. "I think it was crucial that we went out Monday and got to see the course. We took a lot of notes, took some pictures so we know how to approach it next time we play it."

Whether Holesinger reaches the pinnacle of 5A in a few weeks at The Canyon Club or falters during the tourney, his journey to become one of the best in the state has been unexpected.

Like so many kids in Farmington, Holesinger grew up playing baseball and from time to time would go to the golf course with his dad. As he played more regularly, he became enamored with golf, finding the joy of hitting a perfect shot to be addicting.

In the eighth grade, he began shifting away from baseball and playing golf more competitively. He enjoyed being part of the team in baseball, but he always like holding himself accountable and having his success be a result of his individual work.

Fortunately for Holesinger, he got a lesson from Luke Tanner — the PGA pro at Piñon Hills and the only Farmington High player to win an individual state title, capturing the 2004 crown — which helped him transition his baseball swing to a golf swing. Since then, he's been on the never-ending search to recreate the perfect shot on every swing.

"It's like heaven," Holesinger said of hitting a perfect shot. "Once I started getting better and more consistent, hitting that clean shot feels good every time."

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648. 

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