Congratulations on being named LDA’s Player of the Month for winning the 2012 Heartland Shootout in Decatur, Illinois.
It is a great honor to be named player of the month. Thank you very much.
How special was the feeling you derived from winning your first LDA Tour title in your own hometown -- in front of family and friends?
It was an amazing feeling to not let down my family and friends who were all there in attendance. There’s no better feeling than winning.
Did you feel extra pressure performing in front of the home boys? Or did all those familiar faces get you pumped up?
I didn’t feel much pressure at all. I was pretty comfortable out there all day long. The familiar faces helped me out for sure. And having my Mom there was special. My family doesn't get to travel with me to many events, so it was special the she got to see me win my first tour event.
Were you surprised that your first tour did not come any sooner? This is what, your third year on tour? Or is that a testimony to just how hard winning on the LDA Tour actually is?
This is my third year on tour and winning a tour event is extremely difficult. There is new talent at every event it seems like. You’re hitting against the longest hitters in the world at every event and to make it all the way through and win one is special. I’m extremely happy I got my first victory. More to come, hopefully.
Let’s talk about the Heartland Classic. You sailed through on the winner’s side of the bracket. How important was the early momentum you established? Were you in a comfortable place with your swing and your mental game?
It was extremely important. To make it through the winner’s bracket is crucial at any event. I was hitting the ball well in the early rounds and felt confident I would end up in the shootout at the end of day. Making it through the winner’s side also allowed me to rest in the AC more often than some of the guys in the loser’s side, considering it was 110 degrees that day.
Then in the quarterfinals, you were literally saved by LDA’s six-inch rule. Your drive of 374/35 in the shootout round was exactly a half-foot behind the 375/1 drives of Aaron Davis and Kody Zurek, forcing a playoff for the final two match-play seeds.
Yeah, that was just unbelievable how that happened. I walked off the tee after my set extremely disappointed because I did not hit one ball even decent. I was packing my things up and was almost headed to my car. Then, I just kept hearing the numbers after each set and was shocked I made it into a playoff. There was no way I was losing in that playoff.
Were you sweating bullets going into the three-ball playoff? Or did you feel you had been given a reprieve and were playing with house money?
As I said in the previous question, I was so pumped up after I heard the numbers and was able to get into a playoff. I was ready for that set. I didn't hit my best ball in the playoff but it was good enough to advance to the semis.
Your 367-yard drive in the playoff was the best of the trio, earning you the third seed.
Getting into the semis was crucial. I knew if I could get through that playoff there was a chance to go all the way.
Remarkably, the combined yardage of your opponents in the semifinal match and final match was zero yards, zero feet, zero inches. What are the odds that both of the top two seeds would go OB and all you had to do to win your match was post a number?
I guess it was just my day. For Ryan [Winther] and Kevin [Shook] to both go OB against me is rare because they are both two of the longest hitters on tour. They just made it easy on me, and I was lucky enough to get the win.
Looking back, can you point to one or two keys to your win at Red Tail Run? Or to any adjustments you made during the day? If so, what were they?
Well I have lost almost 40 pounds since February and have been in the gym much more than I was in the past. So, that helped me a lot considering the weather that day. I’m in better shape than I was last year. I just kept hitting decent balls in the grid and giving myself a chance to keep advancing. I just stuck to the plan of feeling comfortable on the tee and making good swings.
Looking ahead, the final 2012 LDA Tour event -- The Mile High Shootout in Denver – is coming up at the end of August. Have you hit on that grid before? How did you fare?
I attended last year and finished fourth but I believe this year the event is at a different facility. So, no I have not hit on that grid before. Looking forward to competing again though.
You’re currently tied for the 16th and final spot for the LDA Tour Championship. How important is it to you to make that select field?
It is extremely important. To make the LDA Tour Championship would be a great accomplishment for me. I just haven't been able to attend all the events this year. I’m planning on doing well in Denver and hopefully I will stay in that top 16.
How will you prepare for the Mile High Shootout? Any changes to your routine?
No changes. Just keep practicing and trying to get better everyday.
Any shout-outs at this time?
I'd like to thank my sponsors, Krank Golf and House of Forged. Lance [Reader] at Krank and Robert Kent at HOF have done a lot for me and I greatly appreciate what they do for me. Everyone at the LDA of course for allowing us to show our talents. My parents for always believing in me. My big brother Matthew and good friend Tony who were definitely helping me out that day at the Heartland Shootout. Rest in peace. Love you and miss you guys.
Again, congratulations on your selection as LDA Player of the Month.
Thank you so much. It is a great honor. God bless.