Player's Take: Patrick Fishburn
July 09, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Patrick Fishburn has showed incredible consistency for more than a year. (Kevin Light/Mackenzie Tour)
Patrick Fishburn hasn’t missed a cut in a year-and-a-half on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, and he doesn’t intend on doing that any time soon.
Fishburn, who is third on Tour in Total Birdies and tops in consistency, comes into the week at the Osprey Valley Open after finishing T-2 at the Windsor Championship. He’s now in the top-10 on the order of merit, and the Brigham Young University alum says if his putter gets hot, he has a good shot at finding the winner’s circle.
This year the 26-year-old was the first-ever recipient of a $40,000 grant from the Tony Finau Foundation – funds used to help support up-and-coming golfers from Utah.
He says the funds have been able to free him up this year, and it’s showing in his golf.
But Fishburn didn’t always have golf as his first choice.
He grew up playing some serious basketball, and had it not been for an injury, he might have pursued that even further. He also stepped away from golf for a couple of years to serve a church mission in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fishburn earned his Mackenzie Tour card in 2018 and is back playing at a high level, married to his hometown sweetheart, Madison, and looking to take the next step in his professional career.
Before this week at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley Fishburn spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital to chat about his friendship with Finau, big dreams from a small town, and playing golf for his allowance.
My course management has improved quite a bit from my freshman year in college, (back then) I just took out driver and tried to rip driver on every single hole and hit it as far as I could, attack every single pin, and play super aggressive. Now I think I’m learning how to play a little smarter and attack when I have the chances to. That’s the biggest thing that’s helped me play pretty consistently.
My ball striking, week to week, has been really consistent. The only thing holding me back from finishing higher in certain tournaments is my putting and short game – sometimes it gets a little streaky. But I’ve been very happy with how I’ve been hitting it all year. I’ve been around the top in Greens in Regulation and things like that, so it helps if you’re getting a lot of looks at birdie. I’ve looked at the times they’ve had stats, and in Victoria I was 59th in putting and last week I was 60th. If I can somehow be in the top-50 or 60 in putting, usually I can place pretty high in the leaderboard.
Ogden is not a very big town. The Olympics had a ski resort up there called Snow Basin, which is up the road from Ogden in the mountains. I grew up there, playing the Ogden Country Club, which is a golf course that turned 100 years old in 2014. I grew up with a group out at the country club called ‘The Bang’ and they had money games three days a week, and I started playing with them when I was 11 years old. That’s where I first started to play with a little pressure on the line – when you’re playing for your allowance (laughs).
‘The Bang’ is just group of guys that meet up three days a week. A lot of them are my Dad’s friends, so I got into playing with those guys ever since I was 11, 12 years old. Every single time I go back to Ogden, if I have an off-week, I continue to play with that group and have a good time. It’s fun.
My family, we’ve always been basketball and golf. Growing up in Utah you have a limited season with golf. It worked out good for me. When it was basketball season I wouldn’t touch a golf club for six months and when it was golf season I wouldn’t touch a basketball. I made it so then I could enjoy both sports and I didn’t get burned out from one or the other. I probably even liked basketball a little more growing up. We had a really good high school team and got close to a couple of state titles. It was a lot of fun.
My junior year, I was considering doing both in college because I loved basketball so much. My junior year I broke a bone in my foot and even after I recovered I never really had the same speed or hops. I still did well – my senior year I was still first-team all-state guard. I didn’t really have the same quickness or jumping I once had, so I figured I would be focused on golf. That’s when I committed to golf at BYU.
I was always a big fan of the University of Texas, probably because I liked the colour orange, but there were other schools other than BYU. Ohio State and Vanderbilt were other schools that recruited me, along with Oklahoma. I was kind of a homebody; I didn’t want to go too far away from home. BYU was the biggest and best school in the state of Utah, and it was only an hour-and-a-half away. It was far enough away to be ‘away’ but also close enough that if I wanted to sneak back home for a weekend I could do that. I really liked Coach Bruce Brockbank and Todd Miller – who is Johnny Miller’s kid, so that was a cool connection.
My wife, Madison, I knew a lot of her family growing up. Her grandparents lived in my neighbourhood so I knew them. At church in Ogden I saw her, went over and started talking to her. That’s where I first met her. She went to school at Weber State, which is in my hometown of Ogden. Once we started dating we would drive back and forth and visit.
The first time I played with Tony I was 12 years old and I played in the upper age group with Tony. We played a bunch that summer and a bunch since. He was the player I looked up to since he was the best player in Utah. He hit it a mile and had amazing touch around the green. I still continue to talk with him. (This week) he sent me a message, ‘good playing’ and stuff like that from Windsor. I keep in contact with him and Tony is a big hero in Utah, from what he’s been able to overcome growing up and how he is today. He’s such nice guy. He’s a really good golfer but also a really, really good guy when you get to know him and hang around him.
I’m extremely grateful and very honoured Tony would choose me to be the first for his program. It definitely helps a lot, especially at this stage of my career. Sometimes the budget is tight and this grant Tony has provided has freed that up a little bit. There are different expenses that go along with playing the Tour, so this helps me mentally to free up and play loose, and not worry as much as the financial side of things.
I enjoy lifting weights; I like doing that and work out. Play a little pickle ball and tennis. I like to fish when I get a chance – I don’t get a chance too often. I like hanging out with family, since we don’t get to do that too often because we’re gone so much. It’s fun. I have a lot of nieces and nephews because I’m the youngest by 11 years. I’m the fun uncle because I’m not as old as everyone else.
Being the youngest by 11 years and having three older siblings, it was nice having older brothers and sisters. It was nice because you got all the attention. When it was your birthday or Christmas, it seemed like you had four sets of parents giving you presents… it worked out beautifully.