DeCorso has focus

IAN HUTCHINSON -- For Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

CLARKSBURG, Ont. -- It wasn't your typical Nationwide Tour event when Guelph's Bryan DeCorso teed off last Thursday with someone who bears the same name as the tournament in which he was playing, but his partner never has scored a goal or coached in the National Hockey League.

There is a rumour that Janet Gretzky is actually The Great One on the golf course after twice being the low celebrity at another Nationwide event, the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C., although her husband Wayne secured that cherished title this year.

DeCorso didn't say whether husband or wife was the premier golfer, but did add that Janet was a great partner. "Actually, she's a really good putter. That's her strength. She's a lot of fun and very competitive," DeCorso said.

The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic, held at the Georgian Bay Club and The Raven Golf Club at Lora Bay last week, provided plenty of star power with the likes of the Gretzkys, John Elway, Charles Barkley and Alan Thicke, so the name Bryan DeCorso hardly stood out for most of the fans on hand.

It might be a good name for Canadians to remember. After his first Nationwide Tour win at the South Georgia Classic in May, DeCorso is in prime position to finish in the top 25 on the money list and automatically earn his PGA Tour card for 2009. With three top-10 finishes, DeCorso was 10th last week.

However, after a strong start at the Gretzky event, he slipped down the leaderboard to tie for 60th, while he and Mrs. G finished ninth in the team competition.

Barring an unforeseen collapse, everything that happens from here on in is preparation for DeCorso's first year on the PGA Tour, including the lighthearted atmosphere last week on the shores of Georgian Bay.

"It's not something that I'm familiar with, so there can be times when you've got to make sure you get refocused and don't lose your concentration," DeCorso said, adding that it would be easy to get distracted from the actual competition going on behind the marquee of such an event.

"You can, but that's up to you," he said. "That's self control and self awareness and you might have to take an extra second. You might do something out of the ordinary, so you have to be more flexible."

Intense focus is a quality that will be emphasized once DeCorso gets to the PGA Tour next year. DeCorso shows the maturity of a 37-year-old, realizing that he needs to adjust to each situation as it presents itself instead of the other way around.

"You have to have that discipline at all times. If there's a crowd cheering for you, if somebody yells in your backswing, you're going to have to deal with all that stuff when you get to the next level," said the former Canadian Tour player, who also has played several mini-tours.

That discipline was a quality he employed in his win at the South Georgia Classic. It's an old cliche that players never watch the scoreboard as the holes wind down in a tournament, but DeCorso swears that's exactly what happened as he progressed and built a convincing four-shot margin over his nearest rival.

"After the seventh hole, I decided not to look at it and just try to play within myself. I didn't really get to enjoy the walk up 18 like you would if you knew you had a three-, four-shot lead, but that's okay. When I got to the green, I got to enjoy it," DeCorso said.

"I just stayed with my game plan and it paid off. It kept the stress and the pressure off me and it worked. Nobody came back and shot 65 behind me to put the pressure on, so it worked out perfect," he said.

Winning that tournament has pretty much taken the pressure off DeCorso for the rest of the season and he plans to "let the golf take care of the money and the position on the money list. I'm in a great position and just don't get ahead of myself."

One of his more immediate tests for next season will come in a few weeks when the RBC Canadian Open takes place at Glen Abbey, a PGA Tour homecoming for all Canadian players.

The list of tournament exemptions will be announced today by the Royal Canadian Golf Association.

"I actually feel like I can go out and compete or win if I play well," DeCorso said. "It's going to be a different mindset. It's not going to be: 'Oh my God, look at who's over there, look who's over there!'

"I've got a job to do and I'm going to be playing there next year, so that's going to be a good week for me, kind of like a warmup on what I'm going to deal with and being in front of the hometown crowd and being Canadian and being on a golf course I love, my goals are going to be high that week."


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