David Lawrence was quick to Tweet fellow former Western Big 6 Conference golfer Luke Guthrie after the Quincy native logged his first professional golf victory on Sunday. |
Guthrie, the standout product of the University of Illinois who has been tearing up the fairways since turning pro in June, won the web.com Tour's Boise Open. With the victory, he also secured his PGA Tour card for the 2013 season.
But Lawrence's Tweet was two-fold: It also served as motivation for the Moline native to make it two from the Big 6 Class of 2008 on the PGA Tour next year.
"I sent him a Tweet saying congrats and hope to see you out there next year,'' said Lawrence.
Out there, of course, is on the PGA Tour. And Lawrence is readying for that next step of his pro career this week in the PGA Tour Q-School pre-qualifying tournament Wednesday through Friday at Arbor Links Golf Course in Nebraska City, Neb.
His first professional start came last weekend with a 14th-place tie in the Wells Fargo Nebraska Open in Columbus, Neb.
"It was a lot of fun; very cool,'' said Lawrence of his pro debut. "It was just kind of taking that next step. You're playing against a bunch of guys who were the best at their level and you know you've got to go out there and put up a number and if you do, you get paid.
"It's a different feeling. Once you step on the course, it's still golf, but it had that feeling that it's the real deal. I was just focused on every shot.''
It was a feeling that Lawrence said he liked. He had reason to enjoy his debut, especially his first round that was a solid 5-under 66 on his first trip around the Elks Country Club course. He said he struggled a bit on the second and third days with slow starts, but salvaged his rounds with late birdies and scores of 73 and 69 to finish the tournament at 5-under.
"I take a lot of positives out of the weekend,'' said Lawrence. "It reaffirms my beliefs that I can play with these guys.''
While it wasn't a win or a big paycheck (right around $1,000), it was a starting point and some cash in his pocket. That will be needed for the next few weeks as he winds his way back home after this week and then to Orlando. In Florida, he plans to spend the winter playing on the NGA Hooter's Tour and the Florida Professional Golf Tour if he can't score his Tour card or gain status on the web.com Tour. He said he will also mix in Monday qualifiers for PGA and web.com Tour events.
Lawrence understand it's all a process from here and the first part of that is getting familiar with new equipment now that Wilson Golf has outfitted him with new clubs. The Chicago-based company also will supply him with balls, gloves, hats, and bags for his new venture.
"The Wilson Staff thing is huge,'' said Lawrence, who is still working on finalizing local financial backing. "I felt really, really comfortable, especially with the irons. I'm hitting it farther and straighter. It's an adjustment, but I guess it's a good adjustment.''
One that brings a lot of confidence despite still figuring out yardages with the new sticks.
"I feel really good about where my game's at and being able to wake up and be able to go out and practice and play,'' said Lawrence. "Now that this is my official job, I feel like I'm learning the process of how to play well everyday.''
And adjusting to life out of the car.
"I have the clothes rack across my backseat and I'm getting used to the on-the-road lifestyle,'' joked Lawrence. "I can't think if anything I'd rather do than wake up and play golf.''
Except maybe join Guthrie on Tour next year. Just the thought of Guthrie's meteoric rise in his freshman pro season has offered the former Maroon and Eastern Illinois University product plenty of inspiration.
"I've been talking with friends and family and saying `look what he's doing; let's get right out there with him,''' said Lawrence.
That chance starts on Wednesday.
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