Ten days ago, in preparation for a long flight to California where he would participate in the PGA Professional National Championship, Doug Wade stopped at a bookstore and picked up a copy of a fictional paperback entitled “Seven Days In Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey.”
“I knew it was a golf book,” Wade said Thursday. “I didn’t know it connected with the mental side.”
Wade, the first-year head professional at Miami Valley Golf Club, says the book “put me in a real good frame of mind” for the tournament at Seaside, Calif.
He has no other explanation for the peace he felt last week as he tied for 15th in the tournament on the Monterey Peninsula and earned a position in the prestigious PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. The top 20 qualified.
“Obviously it’s pretty exciting,” he said in reference to the fact that he will be competing against golf’s biggest stars. “It’s still kind of surreal. I’m not really sure what happened.”
The 33-year-old Wade, who was 2-over-par for the 72-hole tournament, said he was pretty calm in the final round Wednesday while posting a 74 that determined his fate.
“The most nervous I was all week was on the last nine of my second round as I was trying to make the cut,” said Wade, who finished with a 36-hole total of 148, one stroke above the cut line.
Relieved of the pressure, he shot 68 with five birdies and a bogey in the third round and moved up to 11th position in an event that included 312 club pros.
“I never even thought about top 20 until I was on the 18th fairway during the final round,” Wade said.
Before hitting his second shot on the 530-yard par 5, Wade asked the Golf Channel’s roving TV reporter what score it would take to make the top 20. “He said 2-over (par) was in,” Wade said. “Once I knew all I had to do was make par, I hit a 3-iron (second shot) down the fairway to take the bunkers out of play.”
He followed with a 40-yard pitch over a bunker and two-putted from 30 feet for a routine par and a 290 score. “Those last three shots were nerve-wracking,” he said.
One guy who missed all of the fun was Tim Walton, the teaching pro at Rollandia Golf Center. Walton qualified for the event and made the trip to California only to be forced to withdraw 45 minutes before his tee time because of pain in his hip, legs and feet.
“I’m in such pain I can’t move,” he said before boarding his flight home on Thursday. “I just couldn’t play. I can’t walk any distance.”
Jim Awsumb’s 11-year reign as head golf pro at Community Golf Course is over.
In case you missed it, as I did, in a June 21 story in this newspaper about a City Commission meeting, the City of Dayton made a $130,000 settlement with Awsumb in what was described as a purchase of his business and merchandise.
Awsumb told me that terms of the agreement stipulated that he cannot comment on it.
Awsumb was suspended in April pending an investigation of allegations of harassment made by an unnamed golf course maintenance employee who refused to press charges.
I will miss seeing Jim in the Community pro shop. I’ve known every head golf professional at the city courses for the last 50 years, and Awsumb was one of the best.
He knows how to play and teach golf and he knows the business. I doubt whether Community will ever have such a well-stocked pro shop as Jim and Cindy Awsumb presented.
I don’t know whether Awsumb was guilty or innocent of the city’s charges, but the allegations seem out of character for the man I have known for 35 years.
According to Joe Parlette, the city’s golf manager, a formal search for a successor to Awsumb is unlikely. He said nothing has been determined but there has been strong support from the public for assistant pro Chad Walther, who was originally hired by Awsumb. Walther does not have a Class A PGA certification but is said to be working toward it.