More MS news articles for Feb 2002

Massingham beats nightmare to complete dream

The O.C. resident qualifies for the PGA's Nissan Open despite the effects of multiple sclerosis

http://www.ocregister.com/sports/chip00131cci.shtml

January 31, 2002
By JOHN REGER
The Orange County Register

Brett Massingham's dream of playing on the PGA Tour never was fully realized, but the head professional at Marbella Country Club in San Juan Capistrano grabbed a sliver of it this week.

Massingham qualified for the Nissan Open, Feb. 14-17 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, after shooting a 67 on Monday in a Southern California PGA qualifying tournament at Hacienda Country Club in La Habra Heights.

Massingham, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was struggling with the disease before his round.

"I wasn't having a good week," Massingham, 37, said. "The MS was getting me down."

He persevered, however, coming back from 2-over par through four holes to shoot a 4-under 67 and take one of the two spots.

"All of a sudden I started making birdies," said Massingham, a resident of Rancho Santa Margarita. "I was like, 'Here we go.'"

According to the PGA Tour, when Massingham tees it up at Riviera, he will be the first golfer with the disease to play in a PGA Tour event.

What makes it more special for Massingham is that the Nissan Open is played where his hero, Ben Hogan, made a comeback from a near-fatal car accident. Massingham adores Hogan, named his 4-year-old son Hogan in honor of the all-time great golfer and has pictures of Hogan in his house.

"My whole goal was to play a PGA Tour event, and to be able to play here is incredible," Massingham said. "I am so excited I can hardly wait for the tournament to start."

Though he has played on the former Nike Tour, Massingham's goal was to play in a PGA Tour event, and when he accomplished it, friend and PGA Tour player Dennis Paulson, formerly of Costa Mesa, called from the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to congratulate him.

"That has been my dream," Massingham said. "I told my wife that my life will be complete."

Not quite. Massingham has some more work to do.

"I want to make the cut," Massingham said. "I'm going to go out and have fun. No one is expecting me to make the cut."
 

Copyright 2002, The Orange County Register