BestBall CBD February Mini Tour Recap
by Monday Q Info
Mon Mar 09 2020
So many circles…
Alejandro Tosti was a top ranked amateur (9th in WAGR) before turning pro, but has struggled with injuries since turning pro. This year he went back to University of Florida to work on his game and working on his degree, taking 12 credits. He fits in pro events when he can and continues to work at UF practice facility. This scorecard is from 36-hole event on the FPGT. He made 5 bogeys…but 19 birdies and 2 eagles in 36 holes! He finished -18 and won by 7.
Alejandro’s journey to a top ranked amateur is very unusual. He saw highlights of The Masters when he was young and fell in love with the game. His family didn’t have a lot of money and couldn’t afford to join the club that was near his house. After he kept badgering his parents to play, they finally relented and let him join a club far outside the city. Starting at age eight he would take an hour long bus ride to the club alone. He would then practice for hours and before leaving he would call his parents and they would meet him at the bus stop near his home. Pretty exceptional to have the perseverance to become a top ranked player despite that roadblocks.
Weren’t you just in Puerto Rico?...
Its not unusual to see two-time PGA TOUR winner Daniel Chopra in a mini-tour event in Florida. He often plays in West Florida Tour or Florida Elite events, but this one was unusual. He played in Puerto Rico Open and made the cut. On Sunday, after completing his final round at the PR Open he flew home to Florida. The next morning, he got up and drove to the two-day Florida Elite event and shot an opening round 65. Chopra followed that up with a 70 and of course, won.
Just hang on…
It’s hard to win any event, on any tour. Jonathan Keppler had a 4-stroke lead on 14 in a SwingThought event in Georgia. He then went Double-Bogey-Bogey and found himself trailing by one. He then birdied the 18th to get himself into a playoff, which he won.
From fourth man at Robert Morris…
… to two wins in a month on the Outlaw Tour. Matt Gurska wasn’t recruited out of high school, so went to a DIII school in Pennsylvania before transferring to Robert Morris after his freshman year. There he was fourth man on the team, but decided to give pro golf a try. After turning pro he struggled in Florida while playing the Florida developmental tours and was considering giving up. However, his aunt, who lives in Scottsdale convinced him to come out to Scottsdale and continue playing. He moved out the Phoenix area and started playing the Outlaw Tour. His game has really started to take off. This month he had two wins in 4 events. In his two wins (both 36-hole events) he shot 66-65-63-61. #notbad
Only a matter of time…
Gavin Hall is playing some great golf, if he gets into an event via a Monday Q he has a real chance to do something. Hall has been so close over the last month. He missed in playoff at LECOM Mon Q (KFT), after shooting a 65. Shot 68 in Honda Classic Pre-q, shot 67 in Honda Mon Q to miss playoff by one and last week was medalist at Punta Cana Pre-Q with a 65.
He also shot a 64 a couple days before the Honda Pre-Q to win on the Minor League Tour. He was -1 at the turn and then did this…
Its great to see him playing well again. He had a great amateur career but had struggled as a pro, including a battle with the driver yips. Looks like he is on the path to the career many expected.
He Just Keeps Winning…
Michael Visacki was my developmental tour player of the year last in 2019 and continues his good play in 2020. Visacki had a bad break on the 71st hole at 2nd stage of Q school when his ball got stuck in a palm tree. The double left him one outside the number, but he has continued his great play in FL. He won for the 2nd time already this year on West Florida Tour.
Coronavirus starts to affect golf…
PGA TOUR China had already has delayed the start of their season, cancelling the first half of the season. This week, both the Mena Tour and the Alps Tour followed suit by putting their seasons on hold. If the problems continue, won’t be surprising to see other tours do the same.
Two Monday Q’s in seven days…on two continents
Eric Cole flew to Bogota Colombia to play in a two spot Mon Q. He shot 61 to grab one of the two spots… but that was just the beginning. He made the cut in the event, finishing T39. Right after the round he flew from Bogota to Florida, getting in around 1am. After getting his car, he got home around 3am. He got up a few hours later, drove to the LECOM Mon Q and…shot a 64 to get through. He made the cut in that event also, finishing T17. And the amazing part is…he tried to Mon Q the next day for the Puerto Rico Open. He missed a by a few but in a 14-day period he played in three Mon Q’s, getting thru in two of them, across two continents. He played a total of 11 competitive rounds in that 14-day period.
There is much more to the story…
Matt Picanso is the BestBall CBD player of the month. His play has been amazing of late. He has won in four of his last eight starts across two tours (Golden State Tour and BO Tour). In the 17 rounds during this streak, NINE have been 65 or better. His path here has been anything but normal. He played baseball as his main sport for most of his life. He was recruited to play baseball at Bakersfield College but ended up walking onto the golf team instead. He only played one year before tragedy struck. His godfather, who Matt considered a father figure, passed away and Matt lost some direction in his life. By his own admission he was hanging out with the wrong crowd, in the wrong part of town at the time. He didn’t even touch a golf club for over five years. He then decided he needed some structure in his life and started to play again. He worked at golf clubs and when he wasn’t working in the clubhouse he was working on his game. He quickly became better and his love for the game grew.
There is a group of players that are often grouped in the “best players not to make it yet” category. A 37-year-old, with basically no college golf experience, who gave up the game for over five years isn’t usually among them. Matt Picanso is in that discussion. I talked with him about his journey.
You have said that you were kind of a rebel for a while and basically didn’t touch a club for five years, what happened?
Picanso: My godfather passed away, that was a rough time. He was a father figure to me. Him and I were really close. My dad wasn’t always there, he was very work minded, he missed a lot of my stuff. My godfather was always there though and him passing was really hard. After he died, I was living in a bad section of Bakersfield, hanging out with the wrong crowd, just kind of going nowhere. It was just a tough time for me. I was acting out, I really didn’t have a direction in life. Finally I decided I needed to get things together so I signed up to go to a golf academy (at 26) in San Diego. Because I thought, I need to find some structure, to find something I am passionate about. I was always intrigued by golf because it's such lonely game. It's all on me. If I have a great day I’m going to win, have a bad day, I’m going to lose. When I played baseball, it wasn’t always like that.
When you look back at life to this point, how important was golf to the direction of your life?
Picanso: It is so important. It gave me a second chance to love something, to be passionate about something. Who knows what would have happened, but I’m really happy to be playing for a living.
When did the game take off and when did you decide to turn pro?
Picanso: I was working in a pro shop as kind of an assistant pro and I was really working on my game. I played in a few Golden State Tour events as an amateur and was doing pretty well. And I turned pro in 2013.
What was your first event as a pro and who are some people that helped you along the way?
Picanso: It was a Golden State Tour, it was a one-day event. And back then they had a few events that if you won, you got the whole month (entry fees) for free. Well I shot 65 and won and got the whole month for free. After that I shot a lot of good scores, but also some high ones. There was struggles for sure. I would shoot either 65 or 75. Some guys helped me though. At that time Eric Meichtry and Jeff Hart were doing really well out there. Eric told the tour to pair me with him. I think I was like -3 thru 5 and shot 77 or something like that. After the round he kind of put his arm around me and gave me some advice. He was really helpful. He took me under his wing a little bit and started to mentor me. Then halfway through that year I met Mark Hubbard and learned a shitload from him. He was an accomplished college player; had a great amateur career and he was really helpful. And he was playing well as a pro then, he went off to Canada and just did well every step of the way.
You ended up caddying for Mark Hubbard for a while, on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, was that helpful in your development as a player either on or off the course?
Picanso: 100%. It taught me how to travel first of all. Traveling out of the country to places like South America. That is a very big aspect of pro golf that I think a lot of players underestimate. I think sometimes you see players come out of college that struggle, that maybe they relied on other people like coaches to take care of those things. And then all of a sudden you have to do everything. You have to arrange for host housing, you have to call PGA TOUR travel, you have to arrange flight. Its just a big aspect of the game today and can be overwhelming at times.
You are 37, but as far as your golf career you only started playing the game seriously 11 years ago. Do you look at your age as a hindrance, an advantage, or you don’t consider it at all?
Picanso: Its funny. I get asked this a lot, but I don’t feel like I’m 37, I feel like I’m 25. I’m in probably in better shape then a lot of players out here, as far as physically. As far as mentally, I was a mental midget for a while. But that part is a process too and you learn to develop and what works for you. I don’t really think about my age, I really measure my game against other players that I play against.
When you are on a streak like this, do you consider going to chase some Monday’s or change up your plan to take an advantage of a run?
Picanso: I think definitely it can be at times but I did some in 2016 and 2017 and I think its more important right now that I learn how to win. I look at it as that I’m learning how to win, how to play and win on different golf courses, long courses, short courses. I think for me learning how to win is more important than going out to chase Monday’s. That is the things you need to do on any of the PGA Tour’s so right now I think that’s more important than getting into one event here and there. I am playing Mackenzie Q school and its really about keeping it going for that. My current coach Aaron Dexheimer and I just continue to work on getting better in the things I am doing well. I don’t really think about if I can keep shooting scores like that, its just if I keep doing what I am supposed to be doing then I will shoot those scores.