Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational gives minority role models the opportunity to shine

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Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational gives minority role models the opportunity to shine

At 38, Kevin Hall is one of the more experienced players at APGA and has been with APGA from the very beginning. When the tour began, there were three public course events and a total budget of $ 40,000. Halle shot 73 on Friday. Ten days earlier, a 63 close price at TPC John Deere in Silvis, Illinois took him to his first APGA win since 2018.

Why still chase the dream? “Every morning I have a fire in my stomach,” he said. “What can I do today to get better? If I win, this game just pulls me out. “

Hall is a great inspiration and a great role model. He is deaf and answers questions through his holy mother, Jackie, who translates a writer’s questions into sign language. Hall is a great barometer for measuring how golf is performing as the sport tries to better diversify its field of play. He is amazed at the quality of the venues on this season’s program, which include courses that host major events. APGA is the home of THE PLAYERS this week and previously competed in Valhalla, the site of four PGA championships and the Ryder Cup.

“Hosting a tournament at TPC Sawgrass … five, six, seven years ago I never thought something like this would happen,” Hall said. “All 18 of us who are here are very blessed that Billy and his sponsors are doing this.”

Mack, 32, of Flint, Michigan, has seen the dynamism of his game build up with each new opportunity this summer. After missing the cut on his first two PGA TOUR starts, he played solid three rounds in the BMW Charity Pro-Am of the Korn Ferry Tour, shot 66 in the third round and played at Rocket Mortgage Classic and John over the weekend. the PGA TOUR Deere classic.

How different can life be in the big leagues? Mack finished 71st on Rocket Mortgage and raised $ 15,000. It’s nice to have some money in the bank. To keep his dream alive, Mack slept in his car on tight finances.

“I was excited to hear about this event, not just for myself but for everyone else,” said Mack. “To play so much money and to play in this environment is something very special.”

To Mack, the lights don’t seem as bright at every start to a big tournament, big venue, and the stage isn’t nearly as intimidating. His next step when the APGA season comes to an end will be the Korn Ferry Q-School, which can be a path to the PGA TOUR.

It’s just golf, ”Mack said with a smile. “I talked to Billy a lot and Rickie (Fowler) played with them a couple of times. I feel like I have the game, I just have to take advantage of these opportunities. If I do that, I just have to play well and have fun. “

Fun wasn’t really on the radar for Awesome Burnett on Friday. He is a 15 year old from Flower Mound, Texas who has not yet been granted a study permit. On Friday, in an incredibly difficult golf test, he fought his way off the tee with the driver. For a player who is out of position, the stadium course can be less forgiving than an IRS audit.

Burnett is a beautiful story, however, a gamer to watch, and he has a long runway ahead of him as he embarks on his own journey in golf. He and his parents, Brittany and Mark (Awesomes Caddy this week), are totally immersed in the game. (“Even our family dog ​​plays with golf balls,” says Brittany with a laugh.) Her son made most sports fans an all-name team. Great Burnett? It’s, well, great. The name makes sense.

Brittany said, “I keep telling him you have a chance to wake up in the morning and be great.” She and Mark also have a 13-year-old daughter named Amazing. Brittany smiles. “I tell her, ‘When you go to bed, you are amazing. And you will be amazing when you wake up. You have no choice.’ So if Awesome has problems on the course, I just tell him, ‘Get out there and be Awesome. Be yourself.'”

Fantastic shot 89 on Friday that lost a couple of sleeves full of balls in the penalty areas of the Stadium Course. He hung hard, hit a beautiful pitch for birdie at 15 and hit it on the green at number 17. It’s golf and he’s very, very young. He suffered a neck injury earlier this year, and a growth spurt has propelled Awesome to nearly six feet to carry his 122 pounds. He’ll add muscle. He gets used to vibrating with his new body. Before Wednesday, he had only seen the Stadium Course playing video games at home. And despite a tough day, he was a happy kid in the end.

“I had a great time,” said Awesome. “It allows me to see a lot of different things, meet people and see what needs to be improved in my game.”

Next to him played Johnson, who encouraged him when he could. Johnson has had tough days too. Johnson knows Awesome Burnett and others like him represent the future of golf. Johnson could only imagine passing such a difficult golf test at the age of 15.

“Fifteen,” said Johnson, pausing, thinking, and looking back. “Kind of reminds me of the way I got off the PGA TOUR this year.”

With that he smiled. Fortunately, things only get better with opportunities like this one so kindly hosted by Billy Horschel. Johnson is in a pretty good place these days.

“He’s such a good person,” says Auger as she stands in the shadows on a hot day and watches Johnson play. “Kamaiu could have gone the wrong way, and he knows it. Golf saved him. “

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