By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Not everyone at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic is looking for a spot in the top 125 on the money list.
Jonas Blixt, who won the Frys.com Open three weeks ago, already has that wrapped up. If he can move into the top 30, however, he’ll punch his ticket to the course he used to draw as a young boy, Augusta National.
“It looked so cool to me,” said Blixt, who is 35th on the money list and needs a solo third or better this week to move inside the top 30. “I went there four years ago for the first time [as a fan] and thought that was the coolest golf course and atmosphere I’d ever seen. It would be a dream come true.”
Blixt of course has already realized the dream of his first PGA TOUR win after winning in California last month. The victory, plus another strong performance here, could also earn him Rookie of the Year honors.
It’s a long way from where Blixt started this season. “First I was trying to make enough money to stay out here, then qualify for the Invitationals, and now the top 30,” he said.
And he’s miles -- literally -- from where he began his career began in earnest in nearby Celebration, where his swing coach was based.
“That was not a very good time,” said the Swede, who graduated from Florida State in 2008 and had no family, no friends and no support in the area. “It was almost a little weird.”
Blixt lived in a small apartment in the largely retirement community and the guy who he rented it from was also a mechanic. One day Blixt asked him to fix his car. When Blixt returned five weeks later, he found out the mechanic had used the car to drive to New York and back. Needless to say, he moved out after that.
Now living a couple hours north in Jacksonville Beach, Blixt is settled in life and in golf -- though he’s still thinking about money, the same way he was in 2009.
Blixt knew he didn’t have enough money to play the entire year that season on the Web.com Tour. His roommate at the time, Henrik Bjornstad, told him to try not to think about how much he needed to earn. Blixt couldn’t fight the temptation, though, and went on to tie for third in Louisiana anyway.
“I cried because I knew I’d have money to play the rest of year,” Blixt said. “I’m in such a better frame of mind now.”
And in a much better position. Fresh off a week-long vacation in Cancun, Blixt is focused on moving into the top 30 and trying to lock up Rookie of the Year.
“Those are the two big goals I have this week,” he said. “It’d just be easier to win, though, right?”