Career resurgence begins for 34-year-old Allenby
Runner-up of Canada Life Open starts to find his footing ahead of GolfBC Championship
June 12, 2019
By Chris Cox, PGATOUR.COM
- June 12, 2019
- A seven-year veteran of the Mackenzie Tour, James Allenby entered this season with no status. (Courtesy of Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada)
KELOWNA, British Columbia – James Allenby can’t remember how many times he’s written tournament directors asking for a sponsor exemption. Fifteen? Twenty? It’s hard to keep track.
The strategy was always the same. A well-written email asking for consideration, always giving a few reasons why he would be a good fit for an invite into that particular event. Then he would attach a backstory and his career biography.
Same strategy, same results.
Thanks, but no thanks.
“I’ve been asking for years to get into various nearby events and never really had any success,” he said. “Last year it was a close call, but I had a really good feeling this year I was going to get one.”
That good feeling suddenly came to fruition at the season-opening Canada Life Open, when “thanks, but no thanks” suddenly became “we’d love to have you.”
And Allenby quickly made good on that decision. He took a three-shot lead into Sunday, thanks in part to a second-round 63, before settling for a tie for second as Jake Knapp roared back win. It was his best finish since finishing tied for fourth five years ago in Victoria.
Sure, most players would let that sort of defeat linger on for weeks.
Not so much for Allenby.
“I feel great about it,” he said. “It hurt momentarily knowing I didn’t win, but in the end it worked out. Looking back at it, it was really something positive for me.”
A seven-year veteran of Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, the 34-year-old entered this season with no status and his career officially on life support. He earned starts in the first six events last year on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica but began the 2019 campaign still in search of a home.
Fast forward three weeks and suddenly Allenby’s professional career has been resuscitated.
“I wouldn’t call it a lease on life, but it’s an appreciation for where I’m at and what I’m doing now,” he said. “I was on this Tour for seven years prior. I’m going about it with a bit more appreciation and gratitude for where I’m at now.”
Allenby missed the cut in his second start at the Bayview Place DCBank Open presented by Times Colonist. But that didn’t stop the good vibes from continuing last week for the Oregon State University product, as he made his first career PGA TOUR start at the RBC Canadian Open. He earned his way into the field after winning a regional qualifier last month with a 7-under 65.
The product of British Columbia shot even-par both days, missing the cut by two.
So where has all this newfound confidence come from? Exceptional putting, for one. But more importantly an improved mental awareness, something that has plagued him over the years in an up-and-down career.
“My game has been pretty consistent, but what’s put me over the top with all that combined is my improved mental game that I have,” he said. “After all these years I feel like it’s finally starting to stick.
“It’s such a complex part of the game. It’s not so much just over the golf ball, but away from the course and how you prepare and how you handle pressure. It’s been improving as the years have gone along and now I feel like it’s at a level where I can compete with the best.”
That confidence should be on full display this week in one of many more sponsor exemptions to come. Allenby believes he can win “a couple times” on the Mackenzie Tour this season and “hopefully be one of the top guys at the end of the year.”
Competing with the best. Winning the Order of Merit.
Allenby has come a long way from writing those sponsor exemption emails.