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Curl, Griffith qualify for state golf tourneys

July 09, 2008
The days and days of working on the golf course are paying off for Crawford County's Brandon Curl and Tyler Griffith. Curl, who will be a sophomore at Indiana Tech College, and Griffith, a senior this year at Centre College in Kentucky, qualified for two state tournaments as amateurs to take a step toward what most golfers only dream of, playing the game as a professional.

Tyler Griffith, of Marengo, who will be a senior at nationally-ranked Centre College, qualified for the recent Indiana Amateur, which was played at Wolf Run Golf Course in Zionsville. (Photos by Wade Bell)
For Curl, it's a spot in the PGA Indiana Open after finishing third in a regional tournament at Quail Crossing Golf Course in Boonville. Curl shot a 74 on the par-71 course.

"It's actually a professional tournament and I actually got in as an amateur, qualified as an amateur," Curl said before getting some practice in at the Old English Golf Course. "I had to play a qualifying round and there were several exemptions into it, previous years, previous winners."

Griffith just missed qualifying for the same tournament, missing the cut by just one shot. The Marengo golfer, who recently finished second in the Old Capital tournament in Corydon, however, made the Indiana Amateur tournament at Wolf Run Golf Course in Zionsville.

"I qualified at Rolling Hills Country Club in Newburg," Griffith said. "I shot 72, was the medalist, and Brandon caddied, which is not unusual. He's caddied a few times for me."

Curl will play this week at the Prarie View Golf Course in Carmel. It's a course he has never played, but will get a chance for a practice round before his match begins.

"I'll just work on the little things, my short game," he said. "Make sure you're hitting the ball as well as you can. Prepare the best you can and, this being the first tournament, gather all I can while I'm there, maybe learn from it to have some more ideas for the next time."

Milltown's Brandon Curl, from Indiana Tech College, will play in this week's PGA Indiana Open after qualifying third in a regional round in Boonville.
The Indiana Tech sophomore said he's not worried about any intimidation.

"I'm just going to try to go out there and have a good time and not really think about, 'Here I am playing as an amateur in a professional tournament,' but more, 'I already made it here. I did what I had to do to get here.' Just relax and have a good time, enjoy the time you have here."

The Indiana Amateur was Griffith's third amateur contest and he was more comfortable and confident during his play. The Centre senior said he knew more of what to expect. Having Curl as his caddie also helped.

"I'm more seasoned I guess," Griffith said. "This is my third Amateur, two in Indiana and one in Kentucky. I went there and it's the 19th hardest course in the country. He (Curl) came up and watched it. It's pretty hard."

"I played a good second round, shot 72 in the second round," he said. "It allowed me to make the cut. Probably the toughest scoring day was my best round. I didn't hit the ball real well, but it was pretty good because it was in the middle of a long week."

"I was busy there and then came back Sunday after Old Capitol, got in the car and came up Monday and played Monday through Friday in Zionsville," Griffith said, "and back to Evansville this past weekend. It's been a long week on the road, 10 straight competitive days."

Curl said there is a lot to be learned at the bigger tournaments by getting to see things most people don't.

"I'm sure I'll gather little stuff that they may do that you don't notice on TV that they do, things that they do, their thought process," Curl said. "You don't see the pros on TV between shots, whereas in this tournament, you'll see everything that they do. It will be a new experience."

"It's good experience," Griffith said. "I'll be a senior at school next year so I've got a little more under my belt than he's got. It just helps every time you're in something like this. It makes the next time easier."

"I'll just try," Curl said. "If it's a good shot, move on to the next one; if it's a bad shot, move on to the next once. You can't do anything about it good or bad. You just kind of move on, forget about it and hit your shot."

Both golfers said having the English course has improved their games immensely. Both said they play just about every day to stay sharp.

"We've been blessed here really because this course (at English) forces you to put the ball in play," Griffith said. "It makes you hit the ball straight, and I think that's something both of us probably do better than a lot of people our age, keep the ball in the fairway."

"It's made a huge difference," Curl said. "I can remember back when they first put the course in and Crawford County wasn't even a golf school. Nobody knew anything about our team. Everybody just kind of looked past us: 'We play Crawford this week and that's an easy win.' After this course came in and it allowed us to come out here and play every day and all summer, we hadn't had that in the past, look at where our golf program is now."

Old English Golf Course owner Cary Hammond said Curl and Griffith are opening doors for others.

"These two guys are paving the way for the rest of the boys," Hammond said.

"The best way I look at it, if you want to play competitively, every day you take off you're a day farther away from being the best," Griffith said. "Even if it's 10 minutes of putting in the living room, you've got to do something to work each day. Golf is probably up and down more than any other sport. It's a mental rollercoaster because you can have four days where you just can't miss it and you might have three days where you've just got to work, work, work to get anything done. It's just the way golf is."

Curl said he does have a goal for his days at Carmel.

"I just want to make the cut," he said. "I've never seen the course. I don't really know how tough it's going to be, how tough the course is going to play. I'm sure they're going to set it up pretty tough. Until I play my practice round, I can't set a good number. I don't like to do that anyway because then you shoot for it all day."

Griffith has more tournaments in the very near future.

"I've got the U.S. Amateur qualifying coming up later this month," he said. "That will be in Cincinnati. It will be 36 holes in one day, and if I play well enough, (I will) be one of three guys taken out of 78 up there. The big thing is you have to tell yourself, to take each hole one at a time because there's a lot left in that day. You've just got to be ready and know you're going to be tired in the last nine holes so you've got to be concentrating, putting a lot of your focus into that last nine holes. That's when you've got to swing you're best. That will determine a lot."

And for both, there's that dream of catching the brass ring.

"Anybody that you know who ever plays golf competitive, enjoys it and goes on to college, you often dream of going on to play professionally," Curl said. "My dream would be some day play professionally, but, of course, you've got to see what happens. That's a long way away."

"As far as it will go," Griffith said. "I guess that's everybody's dream. You never know. I've played fairly well and have had a pretty successful college career so far. As far as coming back for my senior year, I've got a good chance, hopefully, of being an All-American. That's the first individual goal. Our team will be a pre-season top 10 nationally-ranked team. We'd like to win a national title once before I leave. Those are two of the pre-season goals going into there.

"Right now, I don't have any plans to play professionally. You never know when you get the right break and everything goes with that. I'll hopefully finish up this year successfully and will play big-time amateur golf. You never know. It might all of a sudden click to the next level one day, and that's the level both of us are looking for to allow us to pursue a dream."

"I know I'm not that far away," Griffith said. "You never know. I might take it and I might not. We'll keep plugging away."

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