Graham has a big plan

DAVE FULLER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

If it weren't for the fact that Graham DeLaet is from Weyburn, Sask., Canadian golf fans wouldn't know him if he was wearing a "Graham's Lunch" signboard.

But know this -- DeLaet, lately of Boise, Idaho, and a rookie Tour professional on a mission, may have more personality than Mike Weir and Stephen Ames times two. Squared.

Think George Knudson, minus the trademark Rothmans cigarette. Sure the late Mr. Knudson retains an eight-victory lead on DeLaet, who is still looking for his first on the PGA circuit. But he only got his Tour card in December, and after last week's course-record tying 62 at the Reno-Nevada Open, he's already pocketed $545,853, which is $30,000 more than Weir in 2010.

DeLaet, who has rented a house overlooking the fourth green at St. George's for the week so all those relatives flying in from Weyburn can root him on, clearly has set some Knudson-sized goals:

"I want to win, I want to win majors, I want to win multiple majors," DeLaet, 28, said Tuesday. "I don't know if that's too far-fetched, but for a kid from Saskatchewan to dream about playing on the PGA Tour is pretty far-fetched too and I made it here so hopefully I can keep achieving my goals."

While he's missed 10 of 19 cuts -- he finished tied for 31st in Nevada after blowing up with a 78 in his final round -- everything is new when you're a rookie. The courses, the hotels, the money.And, all of it could disappear tomorrow if he fails to retain his Tour card.

"The first year is your hardest year. Everyone says that," he said.

"(In Reno) I was thinking of winning enough money to keep my card for a year and trying to get a win to get the two-year-exemption instead of focusing shot by shot. I know that's how you're supposed to approach the game but for some reason I got caught up in the moment."

This week, at St. George's, you would think DeLaet's stress levels would be seismic. Not really, he says.

Sure, he wants to be the first Canadian to win the Open since Pat Fletcher in 1954, sure he needs a win or a top-10 finish to lock down next year's Tour card. But last week was a pretty good lesson in how not to deal with pressure. He also knows St. George's -- he's played it at least 10 times -- which ought to be worth a couple of strokes over the rest of the field at this week's Open.

"It's probably the only course all year that I have an advantage on," he said. "Every week is a new course for me and everyone else is playing it for the 15th to 30th time. Every time I'm in Toronto I try to get out here and play. The National, St. George's and Hamilton are the places to play golf in this part of the world."

As for DeLaet's life away from the golf course, that half-million he's earned so far hasn't changed much.

"My wife and I bought a new house outside Boise and when I first got my card in December we bought a new car," he said. "We've paid off a lot of debt. We're pretty much debt-free now so everything after that is kind of a bonus."


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