Alum hopes to score golf career after record round
By Paul Coro
GCU News Bureau
Grand Canyon University graduate Mitchell Holmes was talking on the phone about how he set a course record to win an Arizona Golf Association event last month when he stopped mid-sentence.
“I’ve got to set the phone down for a couple seconds,” Holmes said. “Can you hang on while I hit a shot?”
Holmes was playing a round at Lookout Mountain Golf Club in Phoenix while discussing the record round of 10-under-par 61 that he shot at Falcon Dunes Golf Club in nearby Waddell last month.
“Oh, man,” Holmes said upon returning to his phone. “I just hit the stick on a par 3. Two inches away. Nothing is distracting me these days.”
That was apparent at the Falcon Amateur on June 19, when he set a Falcon Dunes Golf Club record in the first round of the tournament that he won a day later by five strokes.
Holmes was 5 under par after the first five holes and never looked back, telling himself, “Nothing is getting in my way mentally.” He capitalized on the confidence that has been building in his game since he has spent more time playing during the pandemic.
Holmes, 27, was a golfer on a national championship team at Scottsdale Community College before coming to GCU for a Sports Management degree that he completed in December 2016.
His attention has turned to pursuing professional golf. His next competition is scheduled for July 27-Aug. 1 in the Arizona Amateur Championship, which will be staged at Desert Forest Golf Club in Carefree.
“Golf has been my passion and I want to definitely take it to the next level,” said Holmes, whose father, Steve, is a GCU doctoral counselor. “For the last three months, I’ve been dedicated to that. It’s really cool to see scores like that happen. I have shot several 64s and 65s since COVID. I was like, ‘Wow, this is really cool that I can put a lot of effort into it and get a lot of return.’ ”
Holmes finished at 12 under par for the tournament, where he did not learn of his record until the course pro told him when Holmes returned for the second round the next morning. He nipped an 8-year-old mark by one stroke with a birdie on the 18th hole.
“That’s really an honorable moment for me because that is the Luke Air Force Base course,” Holmes said. “Not that I’m in the Air Force, but I’m American and it was a special time of year.”
It was also a personal best for Holmes. He had shots rounds of 63 previously, but those often can sound like folklore when they come in a recreational round.
This one meant more because it came in an AGA event, where he played his best at the opportune moment. It was … one more interruption.
“I’m tapping in now,” Holmes said.