Panama City Beach, FL-- If you spent any time at the Hombre last week, you saw some 70 plus PGA Tour hopefuls, as they played through that second round Tour qualifier.
Among those failing to advance, a player from our region Ben Bates, who was born in Quincy, lives in Havana Florida to the west. Ben shooting plus 5, missing the cut line to advance by five strokes.
Bates certainly disappointed about not moving on, but for Ben there is a silver lining of sorts. You see he's 49, and that means he's not too far away from being elgible for the Champions Tour.
Champions Tour hopeful
"I turn 50 in June so, I'm trying not to ¤
look, obviously I can't do anything until I turn 50, so I'm trying to do the best I can with these young kids."
Ben though is realistic, knowing he just can't hit it as far and consistently play as well as the younger guys on the PGA and Nationwide Tours. Against the 50 and over crowd, he believe that's a different story.
"You know there's no guarantees, and obviously the hardest tour in the world to get on is the Champions Tour. But I feel like if I could get through the qualifying school and get one of those five spots and have a full year out there I feel like I could really do some damage out there. I've stayed competitive where a lot of those guys haven't stayed competitive. So I still kind of have a little competititve edge over those guys, you know even the ones that have made a lot more money than I have. I'd like to have that opportunity and it's certainly in the cards, I hope it works out."
So even though it may be a grind to get there, Bates will plug away to
play-on in professional golf, and why not, seeing what the game's done for this Troy graduate.
"I turned pro the day I got out of college and I've been doing it ever since 1984, and you know it's been an incredible journey. I've done things that no one would ever dream you could do, I've played golf with Vice Presidents, met Presidents, played with basketball stars and movie stars and you know, been able to go do, just a ridiculous life that I've been able to lead it's been wonderful."