Can you imagine being a young golfer on the PGA’s Web.com Tour checking the pairings for their next event — and finding they were going to be playing with a former Masters champion?
That was the case for Brad Schneider of Sea Island, Georgia, and Jhared Hack of Orlando, Florida on Thursday at the 2018 Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington as they joined 2013 Masters champ and former BYU star Mike Weir for their opening round.
Weir said he really didn’t think about it when he was asked what he thought it would be like for the other two golfers in his group.
“I don’t know what it is like for them but in the four or five events that I’ve played out here the guys have been great,” Weir said. “They’ve been fun to play with and I’ve enjoyed myself. I’ve enjoyed playing on the Web.com Tour. It’s a good tour with good players. Lots of players here will get on the PGA Tour and do well, so it’s a good place to compete.”
The ex-Cougar said he wasn’t able to put everything together for his 18 holes on Thursday.
“I wasn’t very sharp today, which was interesting,” Weir said. “Yesterday I was very sharp and was minus-8 or minus-9. The difference was that I didn’t drive it as well. I found myself in the rough and when I hit it in the rough a couple of times, I had to pitch out sideways. I found some bad spots.”
Those tough positions resulted in a 3-over-par score after the first eight holes but the veteran kept his cool and eventually got back to even par.
“I finished with a couple of birdies,” Weir said. “I know I’m playing well but I just wasn’t really sharp today. I wanted to stay patient. I birdied two of the last three to get even. I’ll get out early with the good greens in the morning (on Friday) and maybe shoot a 7- or 8- or 9-under to get back in there.”
He is a year and a half from his 50th birthday and a spot in the senior tour, but preparing for that is not his only reason for playing. He explained that he is currently healthy and enjoying competing.
“I want to stay sharp and compete,” Weir said. “It’s important to compete before I turn 50. You have to throw your ego out when you play this game.”
He said that he might be having as much fun with the game as he has had in a long time.
“I’m really enjoying my golf,” Weir said. “I’m having a lot of fun. Even though today wasn’t my best, I’m really enjoying my golf a lot more than maybe I ever have.”
He’s also keeping an eye on some of the young talent from Utah who have shown what they can do on the biggest stages, including Lehi’s Tony Finau.
“Tony’s done well,” Weir said. “He’s had a nice career and has been knocking on the door a few times. I told him that if you keep getting there, the door opens. Before the floodgates opened a little bit for me, you have to get yourself there a few times. He has so much talent and has such a great demeanor about him. He’s going to do great.”
Weir and Finau spent years on tours like the Web.com Tour before reaching the highest level of competition, a path that the golfers at the Utah Championship hope to follow.
One of the guys competing this week is Patrick Fishburn, who just barely turned pro after graduating from BYU. He received a sponsor’s exemption to compete in the event in Farmington and made the most of his opportunity on the first day.
Fishburn carded a 67 (4-under) to end up in a tie for 28th after his opening round.
“I played decent but I felt I left a lot out there,” Fishburn said. “I hit the ball extremely well. I was hitting it close but I didn’t make too many putts. I hung in there and did all right.”
He also hopes to improve as he has an earlier tee time for his second round on Friday.
“Hopefully I’ll play the same, hit a lot of drivers and hit the ball close to the greens,” Fishburn said. “Hopefully I’ll just have a few more putts roll in.”
The second round of the Utah Championship is scheduled to begin at 7:15 a.m. on Friday at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.