By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- After 132 starts, Bryce Molder finds himself in unfamiliar territory.
For 131 of those Molder never knew what it felt like to win. So when he arrived at this week’s McGladrey Classic after a couple of extra days in Carmel, Calif., following his win at last week’s Frys.com Open, he was trying to keep his energy up.
“Physically, when you come off that euphoric high, there's kind of an energy let-down,” Molder said Wednesday. “It'll either happen this week or happen next week when I go home. Hopefully I put it off until next week.”
There was a time when Molder made the game look easy. He had a decorated amateur career and is one of the few players on the PGA TOUR to have been a four-time All-American while at Georgia Tech. In just his second start as a professional, Molder finished third at the 2001 Reno-Tahoe Open, where he played in the final group on Sunday.
“I thought, these guys aren’t that great, this game isn’t that hard,” Molder said. “A couple years later I didn’t know how to find the golf ball.”
Molder’s career went south quickly as he spent 2003-2006 relegated to the Nationwide Tour and in two of those years, he didn’t make a single start on the PGA TOUR. It was a humbling experience for a player many had tagged as can’t miss.
The low point for Molder came the week of the 2003 Phoenix Open. He was playing in a pro-am at nearby Grayhawk Golf Club and when he finally hit the fairway on one particular tee shot, the amateurs in his group applauded.
Molder was playing in Phoenix on a sponsor’s exemption, but was hesitant to enter given the state of his game.
“I didn't want to play,” Molder recalls. “I didn't want to take whatever it was I had that was called a golf game out there and showcase it. I actually withdrew the next week for the Bob Hope, and I felt terribly about it, but I tried to explain it to them, I don't have a game that can compete right now.
“That was a long road, and I'll credit [my swing coach] Michael Beau. He was the first one that really pointed me down the right path. We're still working on things we want to see, but pretty immediately I started seeing some improvement when I started working with him.”
Nearly a decade later, Molder seems to have found his swing and his game.
”It's a crazy game,” Molder said. “But I almost wouldn't have it any other way.”