For the second week in a row, Brantford's David Hearn went into the final round of a Nationwide Tour event Sunday atop the leaderboard, but didn't manage to stay there by the end of the day.
While he'd obviously prefer his second Nationwide Tour victory, his fourth-place finish at the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta, Ga., combined with a second at the Fresh Express Classic in Hayward, Calif., a week ago put him solidly into the top 25 on the money list who get PGA Tour cards next year.
Hearn is coming off a 2009 season in which he made the cut in just nine of 17 Nationwide Tour events, his highest finish being a tie for 14th. He's been working for nearly a year with Ralph Bauer, who is renowned for guiding defending NCAA champion Matt Hill of Bright's Grove.
"We've changed a lot of my practice habits and the way I prepare and plan for events. My goal is to get back to the PGA Tour and to be competitive when I get there and I feel like I'm building the foundation for that to happen," said Hearn, who says that no major swing changes have taken place.
"The stuff that I do right now basically sharpens your game to where you're ready, whether you've been playing or not," he added.
"I practise as if I've been playing a tournament round. I've always had good practice habits. It's just some fine-tuning and some minor adjustments in the way that we do it to make it more geared towards playing better more regularly, building that foundation," he added.
It was an odd situation, but a pleasant one for Canadians watching two home boys competing for the same championship at the Fresh Express Classic, where Belleville's Jon Mills finished third, right behind Hearn, a week ago.
"It really hasn't happened that often, if at all," Mills said. "In the past, it always seemed that if one guy was up there, that was about it. To have two of us with a chance to win the event, it was kind of neat."
Hearn and Mills have known each other for years, so while it might have been fun to keep an eye on one another, Mills tried to resist that temptation, even though Hearn was playing right behind him.
"I didn't do a whole lot of scoreboard watching. I wasn't really aware of who was doing what behind me," said Mills, who has made some adjustments to his ball position and set-up this year.
Their performances in California vaulted Hearn into 10th spot on the Nationwide Tour money list and Mills into 14th last week, leaving both in good shape to get their PGA Tour cards. Mills says it's a nice place to be so early in the season, but points out there's a long road ahead.
"Everyone wants to get off to a good start. This definitely takes a bit of the pressure off, but then, you've still obviously got to keep focused and almost forget about last week," said Mills, who tied for 61st in Valdosta.
Will Ochoa enter Hall?
One of the loose strings hanging from Lorena Ochoa's sudden retirement last week is will she ever get into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.?
Ochoa, 28, had met all the criteria for induction and all she needed was 10 years on the LPGA Tour for induction, but she only played seven-plus seasons so she falls short.
One argument will be that her career was too short to get in, but how do you deny somebody who had 27 wins, including two majors, plus four Player of the Year Awards, among other honours?
There is a Veteran's category in which Ochoa could enter via a committee vote.