At 118th on the money list, Dean Wilson isn’t exactly in what you’d call a comfortable position. He is in position, however, to improve on that significantly after an opening-round 67 Thursday at the Viking Classic, where he had just one bogey and six birdies.
Part of the story for Wilson, who missed his last two cuts and last teed it up a few weeks ago at The Barclays, was putting. He took just 27 putts on the day and missed only one from inside 10 feet.
After three straight seasons of topping the $1 million mark in earnings, Wilson’s career hit a snag last year with a back injury and as a result he tumbled to 152nd on the money list. Translation: He’s playing on past champion status this year. That’s meant a limited schedule for the winner of the 2006 International, who has played in 13 events and earned just under $700,000 -- meaning that a good week here would go a long way for Wilson.
“Last year didn't work out as planned,” Wilson said earlier this season. “I'm not making an excuse, but it's hard to -- when your back hurts a little bit, and maybe I'll try to rest. I love to practice. I love to play and practice, and started to get into my attitude where I started to get a bad attitude, and you can't have that on TOUR when you're fighting every week.
“That time away makes you think about what you don't have. And sometimes when you're playing, every guy goes through it, you're playing tournament after tournament after tournament and things don't go your way, awe, I've got next week. You know, I don't have next week. So I've gotta take advantage of the rounds that I have.”
He certainly did that on Thursday. Wilson’s 67 leaves him just one shot off the lead. -- Brian Wacker