Hearn makes it through?
David Hearn could be Canada's nest Mike Weir, but today he's struggling to hang on at the stadium course at PGA West. If he makes the top-30, which still looks likely, he'll join Weir, Ian Leggat, and Glen Hnatiuk (who both have medical exemptions for next year) in the show.
Western swing works for youngster: Hearn blocks out
distractions to win Alberta Classic
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Byline: Robert Thompson
Column: On Golf
When David Hearn went to Asia in January in an attempt to elevate his golf game, he could never have imagined that his
breakthrough would come in Western Canada.
But that's exactly what happened to Hearn, the 25-year-old Brantford, Ont. native who held off a charge by David McKenzie to
take the Alberta Classic on Sunday.
The event was one of two tournaments held on Canadian soil by the Nationwide Tour, the PGA Tour's minor league. Hearn, who was not a member of the Nationwide Tour, was given an exemption into the event. Despite numerous rain delays, and freezing conditions, Hearn took the tournament lead in the second round, shooting 65. It was a lead he would hold right through to the end of the event.
Hearn, who has had success on the Canadian Tour, but never managed to win an event until this year, said he didn't have any
difficulties staying focused on Sunday.
"I was pretty proud of myself that I managed to block everything but the golf out," he said by phone after arriving in Salt Lake
City, Utah for this week's Nationwide event. "For me, the real difference is having the confidence to know I can win."
Hearn's year started with a trip to Malaysia in order to try, in his words, "experience another golf tour."
He made it through qualifying school, but only played a few events before returning to North America. For someone who aspires to play on the PGA Tour, Hearn says his golf game simply wasn't where he hoped it would be. He sought out Texas teacher Shawn Humphries to try to figure out exactly what the problem was.
It turned out that Hearn simply needed some fine tuning.
"The changes were pretty subtle," he says. "You couldn't really pin it down to one thing. But I didn't see the results right away. It
took a few months."
By May, Hearn was taking his new game, and ensuing confidence, back out on the Canadian Tour. He placed second in an event in Mexico, and then won an event in Victoria at the end of June.
It all set up nicely for the first Nationwide Tour event in Canada, held in Cambridge, where Hearn shot a strong final round to finish in the top 25 and gaining access to the following week's tournament.
He improved there, finishing tied for seventh. But it didn't last --Hearn missed the cut in his third straight week on the Nationwide.
But last weekend's win in Alberta opens a window of opportunity for Hearn. Though he's only played four events on the Nationwide Tour, his win vaults him all the way to 39th on the money list. The top 20 at the end of this year gain their PGA Tour cards.
Hearn is well aware that his goal is within his reach.
"I think I have a pretty good opportunity to play my way into the top 20," he said. "I have a lot more options now than I had a week
He also has some decisions. He has nine more Nationwide events ahead of him, but one, in Virginia Beach, conflicts with the
Canadian Open. Hearn says even though he doesn't have a lot of experience with Glen Abbey, where the Canadian Open is being held this year, he'll pass on the Nationwide Tour that week to tee it up at Canada's top golf tournament. Then it is back in search of enough cash to join Mike Weir and Stephen Ames on the PGA Tour.
"I have a lot of opportunities now," he said. "With opportunity comes confidence. They feed off of one another."