This past week I competed in my first Hooters Professional Golf Tour event (named after its sponsor, Hooters of America Restaurants) at Timbercreek GC in Daphne AL. The Hooters tour conducts around 25 events between the months of March to October, each 72 holes with a guaranteed $200,000 purse. The field size of each event is approximately 150 players, which after two rounds (36 holes) gets cut to the low 65 players and ties. These 65 players then compete in the final two rounds for all the money ($28,000 for first, decreasing down to $1,000 for 65th place).
I began my preparation bright and early Monday, playing a practice round at 7:00am with the course all to myself. I played again Tuesday and practiced Wednesday before the first round of the event at 8:50am Thursday morning.
On the first tee I was greeted by the very familiar mix of nerves and excitement flowing through my body which always helps me get focused to play. My first round began with 14 strait pars before I made my one and only bogey on the fifteenth hole. I finished with three more pars on the closing holes for a one over par, 72. It was a round that consisted of solid and safe golf. I never hit a shot in trouble, nor did I hit a shot close to the hole. I made all of my three and four-foot par putts, but didn’t make any fifteen or twenty-foot putts for birdie.
Round two began at 1:50pm Friday afternoon. My game plan for the day was to be more aggressive with my iron shots into the greens in order to make more birdies. My scorecard consisted of twelve pars, three birdies, and three bogeys for an even-par round of 71. My 36 hole total of 143 put me in 78th place and two shots outside of the cut line. I was “packing the bags and slamming the trunk” as my buddy Bill likes to say.
However, this was the best week of my professional golf career thus far. The atmosphere and setup of the Hooters Tour is very similar to that of the Nationwide and PGA Tours, and I loved it! I felt as comfortable and confident out on the course this week as I ever have. My demeanor and focus was exactly how I want and need it to be in order to be successful. I realized this week that competing in golf is what I truly love and want to continue to do as my career. I believe now more than ever that through golf I can accomplish my goals and inspire others in the way that I play the game; free of ego and selfishness, and from a place of presence and consciousness.
NEXT UP: The Gator Open, August 20-21st, University of Florida GC.