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After losing status, Luke Guthrie makes emotional return in home state

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After losing status, Luke Guthrie makes emotional return in home state

Competing at Memorial Health Championship after Monday qualifying

    A lot can happen in 10 years – especially in golf.

    Rocket-ship success. Big-time lows. Travel. Learning. Finding something. Losing it again. The game’s fickle. Life, too. Luke Guthrie has plenty of reasons to be happy to tee it up on the Korn Ferry Tour again this week, a culmination of a decade of work that brought him up real high and took him down low again.

    But sometimes all it takes is one good week.

    “I know I’ve got the game. I’ve played well in the past. With my recipe, I know I’m capable of playing really good,” said Guthrie, who shot a 65 to Monday qualify for this week’s Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS.

    This marks Guthrie’s first Korn Ferry Tour start of the season, after he lost his 10-year Tournament Winner status from 2012. He won twice that year, as a fresh graduate of the University of Illinois.

    This week’s Korn Ferry Tour event is also a homecoming for Guthrie, who grew up about 90 minutes from Panther Creek Country Club.

    After losing status, Luke Guthrie makes emotional return in home state

    He has tried his hand at several Korn Ferry Tour Monday qualifiers this season, but he hadn’t seen any luck. Until this week.

    Guthrie’s game has been in a “dry spell” for the last three to five years, he said, and he’s been trying to address some underlying issues as best he can. He’s been shooting 3- or 4-under scores at the qualifiers, but those numbers won’t get you through.

    Guthrie finally broke through with a 7-under effort this week.

    “I’ve been playing a lot of good golf. It felt good,” he said.

    Maybe all he needed was the hometown vibe to help him take this across the finish line. Guthrie sees rows of corn fields in this part of Illinois and it reminds him of home. He used to play home-run derby with his brother in their backyard – corn fields there, too.

    As he reflected back on his time as a youngster, Guthrie knows time has passed. He’s a father now himself – with two at home. His youngest turned 1 on the day of this week’s Monday qualifier. He missed the birthday itself but was there for the party on Friday. It was backyard, water themed. “Sweet one,” he said. His wife did an amazing job.

    “For a while it was hard to find time (to be both a golfer and a father),” he said. “I just wanted to be a dad. I just wanted to be home. I love being a dad, I love being a husband. I found my balance back into the game and was really working hard and prioritizing time management a little bit and getting practice done when I am out there.”

    Guthrie played four events on the Korn Ferry Tour last year and played a full season in the 2020-21 combined campaign. He missed 30 cuts in those 38 starts, however.

    So, in the last 10 years Guthrie has burst onto the scene as a can’t-miss college kid and a winner-winner in his first year as a pro. There were a few seasons on the PGA TOUR in there, a return to the Korn Ferry Tour, a wife, a kid, and another kid.

    But through it all, there was lots of work done. And now, just 90 minutes from where he grew up, hopefully the start of something good. Again.

    “I was just really struggling, and this game is not really fun when every day is a grind. I never lost the grind. I never lost the ‘want to’ … I just wasn’t seeing results and it seemed like the harder I worked, the worse I got, and that was really the deflating moment for me,” Guthrie said. “Last year the harder I worked, the better I got. And I was like, ‘Oh, OK, I love working hard. Let’s go do this.’”

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