One of the best young golfers to ever come out of Blair County is pursuing his lifelong dream - working toward a career as a professional golfer.
Hollidaysburg native Sean Brannan has spent the past few years working at historic Oakmont Country Club while also sharpening his skills as a tournament golfer.
Brannan, now 24, grew up in the Hollidaysburg area. Some of his earliest childhood memories involve the game of golf.
Photo for the Mirror by Ken Love
Hollidaysburg’s Sean Brannan captured a PIAA state title as a junior in 2006.
"It seems like I always had a golf club in my hand," Brannan said. "As a young boy, my grandfather (Scott Stultz) would spend a lot of time with me. He'd take me to Scotch Valley and spend hours teaching me about the game."
Stultz is also from Hollidaysburg. He played on the Penn State University golf team as a young man in the early 1960s and was a standout golfer in Blair County for many years.
When his grandson was 7 or 8 years old, Stultz would spend many summer days teaching him the intricacies of the game. The two would go to a remote spot on the Scotch Valley course where Stultz would set up a myriad of practice shots. These sessions helped prepare Brannan for almost any shot he might face.
As Brannan's golfing skills grew, he began participating in numerous youth tournaments. He played in many Northeast Junior Tour events - a youth series that Brannan's grandfather helped to grow. Brannan also competed in many of the AJGA tournaments that were held along the eastern United States.
During those years, Brannan began working with Ted Sheftic, a top-notch instructor from the York area. By the time he was a teenager, Brannan's considerable effort began to pay off. As a 16-year old in 2006, Brannan qualified for the USGA Junior Amateur Championship at Boone Valley Golf Course in Augusta, Mo.
Brannan's fine early play allowed him to advance in the tournament. However, he eventually lost his semifinal match in extra holes. The match was broadcast on ESPN.
That same year, the young Brannan competed in his first of three consecutive Sunnehanna Amateur tournaments, finishing in a very respectful tie for 29th place. His 2006 golf season culminated in fine style as he captured the PIAA championship at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York with scores of 73 and 71.
In the fall of 2007, Brannan returned to the state championships and played well. He wasn't able to repeat as individual champ, but his Hollidaysburg Area High School team - with Anthony DeGol, Ryan Mextorf, Kevin Koronowski and Mike Macionsky -- did capture the state's team title.
After graduating from Hollidaysburg in the spring of 2008, Brannan attended Georgia Southern University then transferred to the University of Maryland, where he spent three years as a significant contributor to the Division I school's golf team.
During his last years at Maryland, Brannan was able to secure a summer job at the prestigious Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh. He began working at the club's driving range but soon found his way to the caddy ranks where a young man can earn significantly more money.
Working as a caddy allowed Brannan plenty of time to concentrate on his game. A typical weekday might consist of a workout in the morning, followed by a practice session. Afternoons would be spent caddying, typically carrying two bags.
Over the past two years, Brannan has also spent winters in Florida, working at the ultra-private McArthur Golf Club in Hope Sound.
"McArthur is an absolutely fantastic golf club," Brannan said. "All the members are great, and they treat you really well."
Despite his significant work schedule, Brannan continues to find the time necessary to practice and compete - working toward his goal of becoming a touring pro.
Recently, he qualified for the West Penn Open, where he finished in a tie for 25th. Next week he'll tee it up at Greensburg Country Club, attempting to qualify for the Pennsylvania Open - continuing to pursue his dream of becoming a successful tournament golfer.