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Lincoln golfer has bad day at nationals but rebounds

AM Tour first step of dream
By: Jim Linsdau/News Messenger Sports Editor
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SAWGRASS/PONTE VEDRA, Fla. _ Lincoln’s Pasquale “Pete” Sprague completed the first leg of his dream last month by competing in the Golf Channel’s AM Tour National Championship on courses where the PGA professionals play. Sprague finished tied for 36th place out of 81 players, largely because of the 93 he shot on opening day on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. The Stadium Course is where the PGA plays its Players Championship in the spring. “It wasn’t that I wasn’t ready for the moment. It was like I got caught up in the course and where I was playing because it’s where the pros walk,” Sprague said of his opening round. “I had to do everything in my power not to break a club, not to freak out, not to get over excited because I knew there were three days left.” That score did put Sprague near the end of pack, but the following three days he would shoot 78, 79, and 75 to finish strong. That first day, had he shot an average of his last three scores he would have finished in the top 10. He said he put that first round behind him and chalked it up to experience. The AM Tour was created by the Golf Channel and sponsored by Golf Galaxy for amateur players across the country. There are six flights in two separate divisions – Open and Senior. Although handicaps are not used in tournaments, a player’s handicap determines in which flight he or she plays. Sprague played in the Championship Flight (handicap 0-3.9). The Lincoln golfer worked his way into that flight with a great deal of practice and his work with the Will Robin’s Golf Academy out of Turkey Creek Golf Club. To continue his dream, Sprague hopes to work his way into the professional ranks. He started with the AM Tour both because of the opportunities it offered and to gain the experience he would need to play at a higher level. “AM Tour, it’s competitive, it’s tough. Nobody wants to lose,” Sprague said of his experience. “There’s no sandbagging.” Sprague finished at the top of his game in the Sacramento/Stockton area. There are five California tours on the AM Tour and 58 across the country. Tournaments are played locally, but players can play anywhere there is a tour tournament. Sprague plans to continue playing the AM Tour until next summer when he said he would look to move up to a mini tour. His plans are to go professional and eventually join the Pepsi Tour when his game is where it needs to be. “I’m going to make that transition next summer. I feel I’m ready,” Sprague said. “I’m going to try for a smaller event, like a mini tour. I’m prepared; I’m just gaining that experience.” Rocklin’s Eric Morgan, a friend of Sprague’s who also played in the national championship, tied for the 54th spot. After beating Sprague by nine strokes that first day, he made the mistake of making a wager with Sprague that he would do better in the tournament. Morgan shot steady golf but lost to Sprague by 10 strokes. Sprague thanked his sponsors, and especially his wife and family for standing by him in his quest to play professional championship golf. AM Tour National Championship of Golf TPC Sawgrass and Ponte Vedra, Fla. Lincoln’s Pasquale “Pete” Sprague Four Rounds Scoring Day Four – 75 – Ocean Course, Ponte Vedra Day Three – 79 – Lagoon Course, Ponte Vedra Day Two – 78 – Valley Course, TPC at Sawgrass Day One – 93 – Stadium Course, TPC at Sawgrass Total – 325 for 36th place