TORONTO - When he began his second whirl on the PGA Tour earlier this year, David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., emphasized the importance of staying patient, not overreacting to rough patches on the road or trying to push his game by playing too much.
The key, he said, was taking a long-term approach and not demanding instant results, a strategy that paid off last week with his second consecutive top-10 finish, which ensured he would finish in the top 125 on the money list who keep full-time status in 2012.
“I had a lot of weeks earlier this year when I felt my game was really good and it just wasn’t quite getting the results that I felt I was capable of,” said Hearn, who followed up a tie for fifth at the Justin Timberlake event, with a tie for seventh at the Frys.com Open.
“I felt that I was really close most of the year, so coming out in the Fall Series and having two top-10s to start out was certainly a testament, I think, to how patient I’ve been all year,” he added.
Feeling that his game was so close to a big finish, Hearn might have been tempted to play an extra tournament or two to get it to the next level, but he resisted — for the most part.
“I feel like I’ve done a good job with scheduling,” said Hearn, whose rookie year on tour came in 2005.
“I played quite a bit in the middle of this summer, just out of necessity when we were getting close to the FedEx Cup playoffs,” he said, adding that he played seven consecutive weeks.
“The playoffs are such a big deal on the PGA Tour now, it’s become a priority for a lot of players, including myself,” said Hearn, who did qualify, but was eliminated at the Barclays, where he tied for 67th.
Between the Barclays and the start of the Fall Series, Hearn played the Boise Open on the Nationwide Tour and started his streak of top-10s with a tie for sixth.
“It certainly feels great to get those top-10s and give myself that opportunity to keep my card for next year. The next goal is to see what we can do about winning,” he said.
Hearn isn’t sitting back just because he’s clinched his card. He’ll play at this week’s McGladrey Classic in Georgia and follow that up at Disney in Florida.
“I had planned on playing the entire Fall Finish, so there’s no reason to not play them at this point in time. I’m playing well and there’s still a lot to play for still,” said Hearn.
One of those things is that elusive first win, something he’s showing lately that he is capable of accomplishing.
“I’m putting myself into spots. I certainly haven’t been there late on Sunday yet, but I certainly am moving more in that direction than I have in the past, so I’m looking forward to that opportunity,” he said.
A victory or even some top-10s would launch Hearn even higher on the money list, offering more opportunities to play premier events next year on tour.
As it stands now, he’ll play in the Players Championship and others will be available depending on how he finishes.
“It’s not something I’m going to research. I’m just going to try to play well and let the rest take care of itself,” said Hearn, adding that it could make scheduling a more pleasant task when he charts out 2012.
“It will be really nice to sit down this off-season when they release the schedule to kind of look at it and be able to try and figure out a plan as to how I’m going to get the most out of myself next year. It going to be a lot of fun for me,” he said.