If you haven’t noticed, golf has kind of swung into high gear.
The British Open — or The Open Championship — starts Thursday in Northern Ireland, always among the most beautiful and scenic stops on the professional schedule.
A little — OK, a lot — closer to home, the John Deere Classic wrapped up Sunday in Silvis, Ill., and, starting this weekend, two of the top amateur events in Eastern Iowa get cranking. The 86th Greater Waterloo Open begins Friday at Irv Warren Memorial Golf Course and runs through Sunday. Next week — starting with pro-ams on Tuesday — is the 21st Greater Cedar Rapids Open at Hunters Ridge Golf Course. The tournament runs July 25-27.
The Cedar Rapids Country Club is hosting U.S. Senior Open qualifiers for men and women on July 30 and the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Aug. 24-29 — and looking for volunteers for both events.
Men’s City Ams in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are Aug. 2-4.
That’s a lot of golf.
Earlier this week. a U.S. Amateur qualifier was held at Wakonda Club in Des Moines. Jonathan Feldick of Cedar Falls won the event with a 36-hole score of 3-under-par 141. That was 36 holes in one day.
That’s a lot of golf, too.
If Feldick’s name sounds familiar, it should. As a high school golfer at Iowa City West, he finished fifth in the state tournament as junior and won two Mississippi Valley Conference titles. He went on to play at the University of Iowa then turned pro, spending six years on mini-tours.
“Nothing really happened,” he said, and, after injuring his neck, he ended the “grind” of pro golf and returned to Iowa. Now 34, he works for Iowa Sports Supply in Cedar Falls and got his amateur status back a few years ago.
Golf still is important.
“It’s more than just a hobby ... it’s a passion,” he said. “It’s not completely my life anymore.”
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On one hand, Feldick sounds like a lot of amateur golfers. He enjoys the relaxing part of the game, getting together with friends.
“I’m just a working guy so I just go out and play golf with my friends,” he said. “I have stretches where I play well, stretches where I don’t ... Sometimes it’s pretty ugly.”
On the other hand ...
“If I’m playing a match with somebody, I want to tear their heart out,” he said. “I want to win. I love going out and competing.”
That killer instinct kicked in Monday at Wakonda, although he didn’t really know it. Feldick was 3-under after the first 18 holes and held the lead. A “roller-coaster” second 18 made the finish dramatic. He was 2-over heading into the final two holes, not knowing he needed a pair of birdies to hold off former Iowa State golfer Nate McCoy.
“I just didn’t want to shoot over par,” he said.
He got the birdies, shot even par and won the tournament — waiting two hours for the others to finish.
“It was just a good day,” he said.
He’ll play in this weekend’s Waterloo Open — “Anything can happen, it’s a screwy game,” he said. “Being overconfident isn’t something that works for me” — then he’ll head to Pinehurst, N.C., to play in the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, Aug. 11-18.
This is a dream come true.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to compete,” he said, noting he was at Pinehurst, one of golf’s meccas in the United States, when he was 15. “I have a lot of work to do. I can tell you that.”
He’ll be among the “older” golfers in the field.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how other guys play,” he said. “I am a student, maybe I’ll learn something.”
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Feldick, obviously, still has a love for the game and still wants to learn and improve. He also has a pretty simple philosophy.
“I just like getting the ball in the hole as quickly as I can. It doesn’t matter how,” he said.
That’s something we all can relate to.
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