Pictured from left: Brad Belletti, Kyle Crawford, Adam Araneo and Kevin Rei.
BANDON, Ore – Four Bandon Dunes caddies recently won the 2013 Oregon Golf Association Team Championship at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club outside Portland, Ore. BandonDunesGolf.com recently sat down with the group to learn more about them and how they beat 34 other clubs in Oregon to capture the title.
What is your hometown?
|Adam Araneo||Born in San Francisco and raised in the redwoods of Humboldt County in Eureka, Calif.|
|Brad Belletti||Grew up on a golf course in Cincinnati, Ohio.|
|Kyle Crawford||Coos Bay, Ore. Pride of Marshfield High School.|
|Kevin Rei||Born in Arcata, Calif. Spent most of my childhood in Sonora, Calif.|
How long have you been a caddie at Bandon Dunes?
|Araneo||Since August 19, 2005. I came here on two golf trips prior to working here; first with my parents and then with a group from Haggin Oaks in Sacramento.|
|Belletti||I’ve been at Bandon for about 13 years. I love looping here. It’s the best place in the country for what I do.|
|Crawford||I started caddying my freshman year of high school and continued working summers throughout college. This was my 10th summer.|
|Rei||I’ve been a caddie at Bandon for four years now. Luckily, I got the job after my sophomore year of college. I’ve come back ever since.|
Do you caddie at Bandon Dunes year-round? If not, where do you go in the off-season and what do you do?
|Araneo||I chase the sun. I work at Bandon Dunes from June to November each year. I had the opportunity through the Bandon Dunes exchange program, The NZ Experience, to travel and work at Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. After that I got the travel bug and caddied at Nanea Golf Club in Kona, Hawaii. Since then, I winter looping at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calif.|
|Crawford||This year I’m going to Streamsong Resort in Florida to caddie and pursue a professional playing career.|
What is your golf background?
|Araneo||I have to thank my father, Andy, who caddied at Bethpage when he was a teen. An avid golfer, he cut down a set of clubs for me when I was four or five. He took me golfing at Eureka Golf Course and Beau Pre Golf Course. I’ve been hooked ever since. I suffered a shoulder injury snowboarding my freshman year of college, but I continued to be around golf while working at Canyon Oaks Country Club in Chico. I’ve played four amateur tournaments including the OGA Team Championship this year.I made match play at the 2013 PNGA Men’s Amateur at Bandon Dunes as the 17-seed. Also, Rei and I played in the Budweiser Tri-Cities Pro-Am on the tail end of our 1,500-mile, 12-day, 10-round, six-course golf trip through Oregon and Washington.|
|Crawford||I started playing golf when I started caddying. I played pretty well in high school and tried walking on to the OSU team but wasn’t able to get a spot. I continued playing amateur tournaments and have had some good finishes the last few years.This summer I lost in a playoff at the Emerald Valley Open.I finished T-6 at the 2013 US Open local qualifier, and I made it to the round of 32 at the 2013 PNGA Men’s Amateur at Bandon Dunes.|
|Rei||I played college golf at Chico State University and have played the game most of my life.Some of my major accomplishments in golf have been reaching the second round of match play in the 2011 US Amateur Public Links Championships at Bandon Dunes, placing second in the 2012 D2 National Championship as at team, and being named a 2012 D2 All-American.|
How was this team assembled?
|Araneo||After Ken Brooke [Bandon Dunes' director of caddie services] bestowed the ‘Captainship’ on me, I knew what I had to do. Crawford and I were locks, but we lost Adam Burlison who played well the last few years in this event. I scooped up his roommate, Kevin Rei, a first-timer to the team. Rei is a good friend and talented golfer. Last but not least I gave my boy, Brad ‘Vegas’ Belletti the nod for his motivation, desire and team spirit. It worked!|
How does the team dynamic work? Does each person bring different strengths to the table?
|Araneo||I think what really worked this year was our youth. Also, we are all comfortable in this format. A big strength we all brought to the table was our ability to drive it way farther than the field average. Plus, nobody wanted to lose to Brad (laughs). We are competitive and play together quite a bit. Kevin, Kyle and I were actually playing each other for beds in the hotel.|
|Crawford||We’ve all played a lot of golf together so we really enjoy competing with — and against — each other. We definitely push each other to play better because none of us likes to lose.|
The team was four shots out of the lead after Round 1, and ended up winning by nine. Quite a turnaround. What clicked for the group in Round 2?
|Araneo||It was quite a turnaround but we weren’t playing in the same group so it was all individual efforts that came together for our team.After an opening round 77, ‘K-Rei’ was infuriated with himself for his back-nine performance. He said he rushed a couple shots and gave up a little bit. He rolled up his sleeves for round two in a major way.We all knew this course was ‘gettable’ as we called it, being relatively short. We weren’t afraid to lose. We had only one place to go, and that was up the leaderboard.|
|Belletti||The second day we were behind four shots, but I knew we were going to win. I pumped up Kevin because he shot a 77 the first day. I told him he was going to shoot 68 the second day. He bogeyed the last hole for a 69.The other guys deserve all the credit; I was just there to round out the team.|
|Crawford||We talked about our rounds after the first day and we knew that the course was playing easy. We knew we could all shoot under par the second day. That was our goal and we were able to go out there and do it.|
|Rei||If you look at my scorecard in Round 1 [see link below], I played the front nine very well and had a poor back nine. If I had closed better, we would have been right around the lead. I think we all knew we were playing well, and it was just a matter of going out there and doing it. For me, round two was a bounce back round. I knew I could play much better than I showed the first day.|
The clubs nearest your team on the leaderboard represented inland, tree-lined courses. Any aspects of the Bandon Dunes courses that gave you an advantage at The Reserve over the competition?
|Araneo||I would say no. However, Kyle, Kev, my dad and I did play Shadow Hills C.C. in Eugene two days prior. Shadow Hills is a very tight course. Mostly, I think it was our confidence and desire that gave us the advantage.|
|Rei||Playing at Bandon Dunes makes most other courses seem easy. The Reserve didn’t have much wind to deal with and the greens were soft. Those were ideal conditions for us to score compared to what we’re used to.|
What about winning this tournament gives you the strongest sense of accomplishment?
|Araneo||I am very proud of my team and our accomplishment. It’s an honor for me to have our team alongside all the other winning golf clubs in the rich 86-year history of this event. Representing Bandon Dunes and bringing the Crystal Champions Trophy back to Mr. Keiser, Hank, Ken and the caddieshack fills me with a great sense of pride. Also, the leather Jones Golf bags we were awarded will be carried with great pride.|
|Rei||The best part about winning the event for me was bringing the trophy back to Bandon Dunes. We came in 3rd and 2nd in previous years and this was the first title the team had won. That was a pretty cool feeling.|
Any upcoming tournaments on your calendar?
|Araneo||Not really anything on the books yet, but I intend to try to qualify for the U.S. Open, U.S. Mid Am and perhaps the Pub Links as well. I certainly have the desire to play more tournaments and sharpen my game this winter down in Southern California.|
|Crawford||Kevin and I will be driving down to Florida this winter to play on mini tours for a few months. This will be our first exposure to professional golf, so hopefully it will be a good experience. We will also be caddying at Streamsong which should be a lot of fun.|
|Rei||Kyle and I are turning pro this February in Florida. Right now we are setting up our schedule but don’t have anything planned just yet.|