Fields' First Professional Win No Shock
Some days are better than others, and when I called up the eGolf Tour results a week ago Saturday and saw that Jack Fields had won his first professional tournament, it was a genuine red letter day for me.
I’ve been a Jack fan since he was knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper. In fact, I played on a captain’s choice team with him when he was about 10 years old and he was our “A” player.
I remember several years ago, before he had a growth spurt that sent him from under five feet to about 5-9, when he was hitting golf balls on the range at Pinehurst Country Club and a group of North and South players, including Bryce Molder, gathered to watch him practice. They were marveling at his ball striking.
So I knew the kid could play the game. I was thrilled for him when he signed to play college golf for UNC, and when he decided last year to drop off the team and turn professional, I prayed he wasn’t making a mistake.
I knew he had the talent, but golf is such an unpredictable game that you just never know.
You never own golf; it’s just a rental game. I know that from personal experience because my lease has obviously expired.
Fields had pretty much done enough as an amateur to prove he had a big-time game. To name just a few highs, he won the North Carolina Amateur, the Carolinas Amateur, the Carolinas Open and a North and South Amateur.
There’s a lot more I could add to that list, but I’m running up on a deadline here and don’t have time to look up all the records.
Fields was down on himself and seemed almost despondent when he failed to advance in the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying at Pinewild Country Club last fall.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do right now,” he said after signing his card. “I guess I’ll just go back to work. I really can’t afford to play the mini tours.”
But the same determination that Fields has always shown when faced with adversity on the golf course powered him though his off-course problems. He went back to his job as an assistant professional in Charlotte and worked harder than ever on his golf game.
Then, a couple of months ago, he made his debut on the eGolf Tour — a tour that is only a step below the Nationwide — and his diligence has obviously paid off.
Sure, there were some early struggles and a missed cut or two as he got his feet on the ground. But even early on he showed signs of things to come by posting some excellent rounds.
Then, on Saturday, May 5, 2012, he did it. He won his first professional event, the Columbia Open at Columbia (S.C.) Country Club, and a $25,000 check. He did it by shooting 67-62-72-67—268, a shot better than Josh Brock of Wilmington.
That second round of 62 was the catalyst, of course. And even though he followed that with his high round of the tournament — a 72 — it had propelled him into position to make a run in the final round.
For the record, Fields was six shots under on the four par-5s in that sensational final round, with two eagles and two birdies
Those who know Fields aren’t surprised when he does something sensational at just the right time, though. He’s always had the knack of rising to the occasion.
That’s the way it was in his North and South championship in 2011. He had walked the hallway in the Pinehurst Resort clubhouse hundreds of times and read the plaques with the names of the famous players who had captured the title.
But he didn’t win it until he knew it was going to be his last chance to do so. He was turning professional following that event and it was do or die.
Things didn’t look so great in the title match with Fields falling three holes down to his opponent, David Erdy, after the first four. But there was no quit in him. He was down, not out.
Naturally, he won it. That’s the Jack Way.
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