If Kevin Costner had his “Field of Dreams” in baseball, Jamie Kureluk, the associate pro at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club near Calgary had a “Nine of Dreams” in the first round of last week’s RBC Insurance Alberta Open, played at Carnmoney Golf Club, where Kureluk shot a ridiculous 25 with seven birdies and two eagles on the back nine to record a 61 which propelled him to a victory in the weather-shortened event. Since then, he has been on the phone to talk to radio stations in Australia and written up in Golf Digest, but as much as he enjoys flying high after the 25, he understands the importance of keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground to attain his ultimate goal of reaching the PGA Tour and getting into the upcoming U.S. Open through sectional qualifying in Portland next week.
The front nine of my first round wasn’t going all that great because I was two-over after eight holes. Number nine is where the fireworks started.
It’s a sharp dogleg. You can try to cut the corner, but there’s water on the other side of that corner, so I hit a three wood out there.
I had 225 in with a hybrid that I didn’t hit very well. I missed the green right, but hit a nice flop shot and had about a four-foot, left-to-right breaker that I made for birdie.
As for what I was doing on the golf course and what my mindset was, it didn’t change. I actually wasn’t hitting it that badly on the front side, but the putts just weren’t going in.
There’s been talk about the 25 being a world record and it appears that, in tournament play, there has been no 25. Corey Pavin had a 26 on the PGA Tour.
I don’t know if there’s anybody who governs such things, but from what I’ve heard, it’s the lowest nine holes, so I’ll call it a record until someone proves otherwise, but I can’t get too caught up in that now and couldn’t get too preoccupied with it in the middle of a tournament.
I had to pretty well just keep my mind off of it, but I don’t think I really understood how that 25 would expand. I knew that it was extremely low and pretty cool and then, my Blackberry started going crazy with messages from all sorts of people.
My caddie and I knew that our goal was to go out there and win the tournament and I had to remind myself that there was work to be done in order to finish it off.
I had put myself in a great position against a field that had so many Canadian Tour winners on my heels and it’s the kind of course where you can catch lightning in a bottle, so I knew I couldn’t let up if I wanted to win.
Even as the 25 was coming together in the first round, my caddie and I were just looking forward. We were working on the next shot, taking our time on the reads, getting our distances and choosing the right clubs.
That’s a philosophy that I have to take going into the rest of this year, with my goal of getting to the PGA Tour.
I’ve been working on my game for eight years and that time has been very long and tedious, so it’s overwhelming that two-and-a-half hours out of my life has changed it so drastically.
Sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open is next week in Portland and I’ve really been looking forward to that the last couple of weeks, so I’ve got to get my mind back on track because there have been distractions recently.
Some of the new and exciting opportunities that are out there right now as a result of the 25 I have to take note of right now while it’s still a story. I’m just exploring where I can go with it, but that’s meant a lot of time on the phone recently.
However, I must also concentrate on the long-term, ultimate goal. I’ll be trying Q-school later this year for the third time and I’m hoping to get some sponsor exemptions on the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour.
I feel like I’m playing really well. I won the PGA of Alberta Players Tour event in Edmonton and my game seems to be improving since I turned pro. It’s at a high spot right now, so I want to strike while the iron’s hot.
Whoever thinks of shooting a 25? It’s a great memory, but now, I just have to get back to business and just shooting the lowest round that I possibly can wherever I’m playing.