FARMINGTON — The wild and mostly international odyssey of a golfer trying to break into the sport’s professional elite is playing out this weekend at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.
The course is hosting the Web.com Tour’s Utah Championship this week, where aspiring PGA Tour pros have shredded a lush course that quite often stumps its fair share of golfers.
Among the pros this week is Fremont High and BYU alumnus Patrick Fishburn, who at 8-under par and tied for 24th after two consecutive 4-under 67s, is making the cut for the weekend rounds in his first Web.com Tour event in his career.
“Yesterday I felt like 67 was about the highest I could’ve shot, I hit it really great and I hardly made anything. But today I was kind of all over the place off the tee and behind trees, so it was kind of a scrambling 67 that I finished strong on the back nine,” Fishburn said.
Fishburn just turned pro this summer following a BYU career with back-to-back West Coast Conference Player of the Year Honors, a 35th-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a PING All-America Third Team honor.
His goal is to eventually make it on the PGA Tour, but for now, he’s starting the journey on the lower rungs of the ladder with everyone else.
Fishburn played in the Provo Open earlier this summer and has full exempt status on the Canadian Tour, where he has made the cut in all three tournaments played this summer, earning 3,910 Canadian Dollars — “about breaking even,” he said.
He had never been to Canada before playing in the GolfBC Championship in June in British Columbia.
“The first spot was really what you kind of think of Canada, lots of trees and really green and then the second area kind of reminded me of Syracuse, Utah, so it’s been very different. But all the places have been very nice and the Tour’s really good,” Fishburn said.
Just because Fishburn is likely playing two more rounds this weekend at Oakridge doesn’t mean he can rest. He wants to the win the tournament but is nine shots behind Cameron Champ who followed his blistering first-round 61 with a 64 and leads the tournament at 17-under.
Fishburn has to finish in the top 25 this weekend to qualify for the next Web.com Tour event. If he were to qualify for next week’s event, he would have to finish in the top 25 again to qualify for the next one, and so on.
Otherwise, Fishburn will head back to the Canadian Tour for the rest of the summer and try to get his name in another Web.com event or qualifying tournament down the road.
Fishburn has been getting travel advice from his father Steve, who used to be a travel agent. Steve and his wife Peggy have traveled to each of Patrick’s tournaments this summer.
Fishburn’s parents, along with his wife, his two sisters and many friends in a gallery of around 40 people have watched every shot he’s hit the past two days. A lot of people were from the Ogden Golf and Country Club, where Fishburn grew up playing.
“Playing in your backyard’s a big deal because we’ve had to (go) in the Canadian Tour, some of the venues are 1,200 miles apart and as soon as this is over, if he’s fortunate enough to move on to the (next) Web.com (Tour event) he’ll play again next week,” Steve Fishburn said.
A stretch of four straight pars starting on the 11th hole was critical to Patrick Fishburn’s second-round 67 on Friday. He was even par making the turn, birdied the 10th and then hit his tee shot on the 13th behind a tree on the right side.
His approach shot skidded in the rough and got him barely closer, so he had to flop a wedge from 75 yards to around 4 feet away, enticing a cheer from the crowd when his putt to save par went in.
“It definitely gives me a lot of energy when I’m out there playing, when you hit a good shot and you get a little roar because you’re not really used to that too often, so it’s nice,” Fishburn said.
He birdied three of the last four holes. It started with the par-five 15th when he launched a 370-yard drive and barely missed an eagle putt, and ended with a 105-yard approach shot on the 18th that landed about 4 feet away, where he made birdie.
Fishburn played his drives and iron shots very well, but putting will be his focus for improvement. He had plenty of chances to shave a couple more shots off his rounds.
Oddly enough, he said he’s been known to switch his putting grip from left hand low to right hand low in the middle of a round.
“If I can be a little more consistent and take advantage of those types of putts and make them, I think I’ll have a chance at competing out here,” Fishburn said. “There’s so many good players, but I think I have what it takes.”
His third round begins at 1:15 p.m. Saturday as he tees off with Puerto Rico’s Rafael Campos.