Nick Newcomb, a golfer whose recent history includes standout performances as an OVC champ for Murray State, barely missed the cut at a PGA Nationwide Tour event in Knoxville, Tenn., last weekend.
After qualifying for the tournament by shooting a (-5) 66 on the final day of qualifying, Newcomb missed playing in the weekend portion of the tournament by only two strokes. The total purse for the tournament was set at $500,000, with the winner receiving $90,000.
To those unfamiliar with the Nationwide Tour, it may be loosely explained as the PGA version of the minor leagues. Golfers participate in the Nationwide tournaments hoping to qualify for larger PGA events.
Newcomb, a native of Benton, Ky., starred for the Racers from 2007-2010. He won the OVC championship twice with Murray State and helped the Racers get to the NCAA championship for the first time in 2010.
Newcomb said rather than feeling disappointed for missing the cut, he chooses to focus on getting better.
“It’s what I need – to get more chances at that level just to get comfortable and learn from it and make me better,” Newcomb said. “It’s just good for experience as a young player. You just want to get the feel of it and figure out what you have to do to play at that level.”
The Racer alumnus said the transition from college-level golf to the pros has been a difficult one.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “I really struggled at the start of the summer, but lately I’ve been playing well. It’s a different learning curve, and each level you go up gets tougher.
“You just have to put yourself in a position to learn and grow from your experiences. The more you do it, the more you’re comfortable and the more you learn.”
Newcomb said he tries to get pleasure from the experience of becoming a PGA golfer.
“I enjoy it,” the new professional said. “I enjoy the challenges. Playing professional golf is something I always wanted to do, so the fact that I’m getting the opportunity is really enjoyable. For a lot of people, golfing becomes just a job. I hope it doesn’t for me.”
Professional golf is the dream Newcomb said he is beginning to live out.
“I’m enjoying it because I’m at the point I want to be, playing professional golf, and it’s really exciting for me,” Newcomb said. I’m really grateful for the opportunity,”
Newcomb said if perfection exists for golfers, he hasn’t found it.
“I always feel that I can get better,” he said. “There’s always something for me to work on. I don’t know if any golfer ever feels like he’s quite as good as he can be. I have fun practicing. I have fun going out there and working on my shots, just trying to get better.”
Newcomb said he will attempt to qualify again for the Nationwide Tour, this time in Chattanooga, Tenn., in October. He said he is optimistic of his play right now.
“I feel good. I feel like I can play with those guys out there,” he said. “I shot 5-under for the second round of the tournament. It gave me confidence, and I felt it going forward. I just have to keep working and continue to get better every day and I’ll have success.”
His advice for improving golfers is simple.
“Work on your weaknesses,” Newcomb said. “That’s really how you get better. For most people, it’s probably their short game. Find out what you don’t do well and try to get better. Once you get that aspect up to the rest of your game, start the process over and try to improve.”