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Ben

Mini Tour Play

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I'm back at it. After the broken collarbone on Sept 2nd. I was fully cleared to play December 3rd. Didn't really jump back into the game though. Instead I focused on caddying for my buddy Sam. Did PGA Tour QSchool late Sept. and we just got back from Thailand for Asian Tour QSchool last Sunday. What. A. Time!! As you could probably imagine. Sam didn't fair as well as we had though. But he's got two more shots at some big time golf. OneAsia Tour QSchool is next week and has a local SoCal site, and then Northern Trust Qualifying is Feb 5th. As much fun as it is to play, carrying the bag for this kid around the world would not be the worst time...

That being said, I played my first tournament round today, and about my eight round since being OK'ed by my surgeon? As far as practice goes, I haven't. I'd say I've spent 1.5 hours hitting balls, and 30 minutes putting. Maybe that was a good thing? I was in total control today. Lacing drives, hitting my numbers with approach shots, and dropping putts. not just making them, but it seemed like the ones I did make were all center cup and at perfect speed. I was on! Except, hole 17, where I triple bogeyed, hahaha. That knocked my to +1 for the round. I did manage to pull myself together on the challenging finishing hole. Pounded another driver, hit a 5 iron that didn't quite draw and would up in a greenside bunker, hit that bunker shot to 4' and like I'd mentioned, right in the heart with the putt. -2 would have put me in a Tie for 3rd, +1 dropped me back to a Tie for 9th. That got me a little loot. Plus I took two of the eight skins on the day! One tournament played, and in the plus in the money!

Maybe it was being around all that high-level golf in Thailand? I don't know, but something certainly rubbed off on my game. If today went bad I was seriously going to rethink what I was doing with professional golf. Now I know that I can still play this game, and enjoy it as well.

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Originally Posted by Beachcomber

Congrats on getting your health back.  Great to hear that you are back at it.  When is your next tournament?

Thanks! Northern Trust Qualifying in Feb 6th.

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Originally Posted by bpollino89

Hey Ben! Saw your results at the qualifier. Looked like it was tough out there, lot of guys struggled. Keep it up.


Hey, thanks. Not so much a tough day as that I took a spill the day before running (for excersize of all things) and ended up getting a huge piece of skin tear off in my right palm, bigger then a quarter. And also! re-sprained my left wrist. That being the case, I actually did okay, sorta. hahaha.

One of the kids I know made it past that day, Sejun (21yo), but couldn't get passed Monday. There was actually a 17 year old that I've known for a while that made it to Monday, but as well, not passed. Another youngster, Todd Baek (21) has played three web.coms and a PGA Tour event in the last five weeks. And made each cut! We'll see what he does tomorrow. So far he's looking as solid as his previous tries. Lastly, another 21yo, John Kim, is getting his feet wet on the One Asia Tour. He shot -17 in the Thailand Open to tie for 20th. Kids are crazy these days!!

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April 25th huh? sad, but true. But sad. Hi everyone. Whats going in TST? Here's three little reason why I've gone MIA

1) Mini Tour growth. Good for the tours, bad for me. The premier mini tour in SoCal has been The Golden State Tour, which in the past had a decent schedule of offering one and two-day events that I was able to play. The GSTour joined forces with The Gateway Tour in AZ to offer bigger events with bigger purses for the players. I have a job, where our staff is stretched as thin as can be, working Tue,Thur, Sat and Sun everyweek, the GST outgrew me. sadly. That being the case, my goal for 2013 was getting to the US Open, or at least Sectional. and devoted all my effort towards that. I didn't make it. There is also the Pepsi Tour here that has a great game on Wednesday for a low price with solid competition. I'd play every once in a while, but as time went on, and my practice routine softened, I stopped playing that as well.

2) Girlfriend. With my desire to play wavering, I decided to put myself on the market, and in June found a great girl! Successfull, Smart, Unbelievable Chemistry, Solid Cook. Tons of stuff in common! At 37, I was thinking maybe its time? Is she 'The One"? Nope, not so much. Damn, Summer in L.A. this year couldn't have been better. Months and months of temps between 85-95 degrees, daylight until 8:30, And I saw about five rounds of it. My bedroom game improved though... :) So all was not lost

3) Caddying. At my club I met a little kid, just 13. now he's 22, turned pro last year, and has the eye of the tiger. The game, The distance, Ex-PGA Tour coaching, mature WELL beyond his years. And I'm on his bag. We traveled to Thailand for Asian Tour QSchool in January, Good showing, but didn't pass, Same thing at One-Asia QSchool locally a few days after getting back from Thailand. Played on a whim, but its a solid tour, and like mentioned, the course was in L.A.! so, why not. Anyway, he spent the rest of the tour on the GST, Pepsi Tour, and traveling to PGA and Web.com Monday qualifiers, on his own. As a rookie, showed quiet well locally, scoring a few wins, and placing in most of his events! With the change in PGA QSchool, going to Web.com rather than straight to the PGA Tour, he decided to try Japan's QSchool. And petitioned his family to have me on his bag. For some reason his parents trust me. I've corrupted this kid like noone's business :) If you could see the pics from Thailand, whew!! Anyway, the trust me, I happen to speak Japanese, so I was able to get on his bag for Japan. Expenses paid, and paid for my time as well! I'm extremely fortunate! Particularly since we had to travel back and forth from Japan to L.A. between each stage. His Grandmother is, well, let's just say, money is NOT an issue. which makes this kid even more special, because he isn't a total douchebag rich kid.

Anyway, Off to Japan in August. Cake walk through Stage 1, Actually a little tense on the back 9 on the last round, but we were safely below the number to advance to Stage 2. October and Stage 2, still well above the level of competition but a course that needed thought. back and forth near, but above the cutline, then, round 4. we started the day on the number, and ended the day with his best tournament round. -8, 64, bogey-free. If his putter would have caught fire a touch earlier, no joke, 59 was there!! no joke! It was the most amazing round of golf you could see. 17 GIR, one putt outside of 20 feet, and most closer. The one outside was about 45' on a 215 yard, WAY downhill par-3, our 13th hole. he drained it, of course, fist pumping, a little yell. To say he was "In the Zone" is an understatement. I can't speak for him, but I felt as though I was gliding above ground walking to our 7' birdie putt on 14, which he made, center cup, like he didn't have a chance of missing. Man, Wow, nuts! Stage 3, riding high on his play, he didn't take things lightly and was still geared up to advance to the final stage. Got there, practiced in the cold wind but did great. tee shots on point, hitting greens, got the speed of the greens dialed in right away. Day one, a nasty +5, 77. bogey bogey bogey finish too. Hope was far from abandoned. I put the number at Even, he put it at -2. Play like he knows he can, and we can overcome. -2, 70 day two, -1, 71 day 3 and -3 69 on day 4 to finish at -1. A grind each and every day. birdies, bogey, birdies, birdies, bogeys. No flow at all. The number to advace. 29 guys of a field of 105, -7. 7!!

So, being the strong kid that he is, myself keeping things light, he took the positive of coming back to a respectable overall score, even with as mediocre as he played. He's got some nice events to play to finish the year. Talk of Thailand in Feb are already in the works.

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Wow!  Nice!! Those are as good of reasons to be MIA as I can think. Sounds like we will be seeing him around soon

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28 minutes ago, Ben said:

So, who's out there keeping their dream alive? 

I'll be damned, he's alive!

What're you up to?  Still caddying?  Any playing?  

Good to hear from you again!  

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21 minutes ago, David in FL said:

I'll be damned, he's alive!

What're you up to?  Still caddying?  Any playing?  

Good to hear from you again!  

Got dangit! Just got booted off the server after almost done typing out  a reply. I know better then typing that long without copying my work to my notes. As a matter of fact, I know I should just type to Notes to begin with then copy and paste. Gonna regroup my words. Be right back. 

Hi!  

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6 hours ago, David in FL said:

I'll be damned, he's alive!

What're you up to?  Still caddying?  Any playing?  

Good to hear from you again!  

Alive, yes. "Fat and happy" now too, as "they" say. Got engaged in December. She says it's "love weight". 40 pounds heavier is a little more than that. At least I hit the ball farther!! 

Caddying? Not at the moment. Do have a few things brewing. Nothing set in stone.

Golf, what's that? When I set my golf aspirations on the back-burner a year or so ago, I foolishly agreed to take over as First Assistant. Much like most Head Pros and GMs, I'm just way too busy for golf. When I'm not running the golf shop eight hours a day six days a week, the last thing on my mind is sticking around the club even longer. But of course I wouldn't just give it all up. I still got "it" in there, just not quite as sharp as before. 

There is one other huge driving factor keeping me on my game, the annual ClubCorp Team Championship at Pinehurst. Each ClubCorp property sends a team of four members and a pro to battle each other over three rounds. Course 6, 8, and of course #2! It's actually coming up in just a few weeks! This will be my fourth visit as our club's pro. Not to boast, but... As the traveling pro all I pay for is the extra night spent in my room. We gotta have a practice round and adjust to East Coast time after all! I am obviously extremely fortunate and grateful getting yet another experience like this! 

So yeah. Standard Time will be here before we know it, and that'll pretty much close out my golf schedule, until Daylight Savings 2018. 

Enough of me. How's things your way? Nice to see a familiar "face" still. 

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13 hours ago, Ben said:

Enough of me. How's things your way? Nice to see a familiar "face" still. 

Ben!  Glad to see you're doing well.  I was thinking of you the other day.  

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22 year old, single digit handicappers can make good!! So can a 27 year old, newly hired assistant pro.

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