Nationwide Tour Insider: Get to know Steve FriesenSteve Friesen's best finish this season is a T7 at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship Presented by Christchurch.June 10, 2009
Nationwide Tour Staff
THIS WEEK'S Q&A: Steve Friesen is playing his first full season as a fully exempt player on the Nationwide Tour. Prior to this season, his top Tour finish was a tie for ninth at the 2007 Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship at Wente Vineyards. In his third start of 2009, Friesen, a native of Lincoln, Neb., and University of Nebraska graduate, bettered that performance with a tie for seventh at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship. In his only PGA TOUR start, he qualified on Monday at the 2004 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, made the cut and tied for 41st. The winner of three separate state opens (Utah, New Mexico and Nevada), Friesen recently visited with Laury Livsey of the PGA TOUR's communications department to talk about Nebraska football and the university's library.
Q: What was your favorite hangout in college?? FRIESEN: Oh, gosh. I studied too much. I don't know if I had a lot of great hangouts. I was at the library way too much, I guess, way more than the average student-golfer-athlete.
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Q: Come on. You can't have the library be your answer as your favorite college hangout, can you?? FRIESEN: OK. I have one. We had a lot of Aussies on the golf team, so the hangout would be Bodega's Alley, just this little, crappy, hole-in-the-wall bar in Lincoln. One of the Aussies on our team pretty much lived there. He was there six nights a week, holding court by the pool tables in the back. We'd relax and play a little pool. Those Aussies know how to hang out.
Q: What was your favorite class in college?? FRIESEN: Principles of Ecology. I was a biology major, forestry, fisheries and wildlife for a while before that, and then I transferred to biology.
Q: Had you not become a professional golfer, were you headed in that direction with your career?? FRIESEN: Maybe the uneducated dream would have been to be a park ranger working at a national park somewhere. Maybe because I'm from Nebraska, I was looking for something a bit more picturesque. But I don't know if I really would have done that.
Q: You live in the Phoenix area now. So are the Arizona mountains where you get your outdoor fix?? FRIESEN: I like Flagstaff and just two hours away. It's a pretty drive, and I like to get into the mountains as much as possible.
Q: What's your favorite golf course?? FRIESEN: Definitely one of my favorites is Prairie Dunes in Kansas. Being a Midwesterner, I love that course. We played Big 12s (Conference) there every April. It was always some of the nastiest weather. Wind blowing and cold. So that was fun. The Homestead in Virginia is pretty sweet, and Sand Hills, the (Ben) Crenshaw design, in Nebraska, are a couple of others.
Q: Were you automatically good at golf?? FRIESEN: The great thing about golf is there are so many different body types. I was a really short kid. Until 10th grade, I was like 5-2, then I had a huge growth spurt. I played a lot of sports, but by age 15, 16, you're starting to get to an age level where you're not going to be very competitive in basketball if you're barely 5 feet. So I thought, let's get better at golf. And I enjoyed it.
Q: And now you're a strapping 6-2?? FRIESEN: Yep, 6-2. Huge growth spurt.
Q: What's your outlook on Nebraska football?? FRIESEN: I'm not a crazy Cornhusker fan. Our football team has dropped off a little here, but I think we'll be getting back to the top.
Q: Did you go to a lot of games growing up?? FRIESEN: In college, we could go for free, but we were always out of town at tournaments. And since college I haven't gone to many. But as a kid, my grandfather had two season tickets, so that was pretty cool. We'd rotate with myself, my cousins, my uncle and my dad going with Grandpa.
Q: I'm guessing Tommie Frazier had a slightly higher profile than you or any of the other guys on the golf team?? FRIESEN: Just slightly. Football, and the starting quarterback, is a little bigger than golf at Nebraska.
Q: What's the last concert you went to?? FRIESEN: I went to an Iron and Wine concert in Tucson. Iron and Wine. That's some good stuff right there.
Three things to know about ... Knoxville Open Presented by Food City 1. The Knoxville Open is one of four tournaments that has been on the Nationwide Tour schedule since the Tour's inception in 1990. Knoxville joins Boise, Idaho, Springfield, Mo., and Wichita, Kan., as the Tour celebrates its first 20 years in 2009.
2. Seven former champions of the Knoxville open have won PGA TOUR events -- Jeff Maggert, Brian Henninger, Tom Scherrer, J.J. Henry, Heath Slocum, Vaughn Taylor and Chez Reavie.
3. The first three tournaments (1990-1992) were played as 54-hole events.
Q: When did you have your first hole-in-one?? FRIESEN: My first hole-in-one was when I was 15 years old, playing in the Nebraska State Junior Match Play Championship at Mahoney Golf Course. I teed off first on No. 9. I think it was about a 190-yard shot. I hit a 4-wood. I just picked up my tee and walked back to the bag, and you couldn't see it go in because it went over this little hump and then it didn't reappear. My brother was caddying for me, and he said, "Dude, you made it." I was playing some old guy who said after my ace, "Dang, I have to make this just to halve the hole." I flushed the shot, but I lost the match, 1-down..