KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Bertoni rebounding from last season's disappointment
July 15, 2015
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- Travis Bertoni has two top 10 finishes this season on the Web.com Tour (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Last September, California native Travis Bertoni found himself facing a scenario that so many golfers around the world dream of. On the final day of the Web.com Tour Championship, he needed to birdie the final hole to secure his PGA TOUR card for the first time.
Bertoni hit a great shot into the par-4 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley Course) – “four, four-and-a-half feet” for birdie, by his estimation.
He missed the putt, though, and returned to the Web.com Tour for the 2015 season.
“For things to end up that way, it was a little frustrating, but I didn’t dwell on it too much,” said Bertoni, 31, who is playing his fourth season on the Web.com Tour. “I knew that I played well, played well on Sunday, just couldn’t get the ball in the hole coming in.
“I just tried to use it as motivation, knowing that if I play well, everything else will take care of itself. Just keep doing what I’m doing and keep working.”
Bertoni has done just that, with his game on an upward trend heading into this week’s Stonebrae Classic in Hayward, California. It’s the only Web.com Tour event in California, about a three-hour drive from Bertoni’s hometown of Paso Robles, and his family will be in attendance at the David McLay Kidd-designed TPC Stonebrae.
A 2006 graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Bertoni enters the week at No. 32 on the money list. With six events remaining in the Regular Season, he’s on the verge of breaking into the top 25 by season’s end, and a good week at the event he considers his “most home game” would go a long way in making that goal a reality.
Two weeks ago, Bertoni was No. 50 on the money list, but a T3 at the Nova Scotia Open and T23 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco have propelled him in the right direction.
“It’s been pretty good,” said Bertoni of his season so far, which has included six top-25 finishes in 15 starts. “I’ve had a few good weeks. I’ve just got to keep it going on Saturday and Sunday, when I’m playing well early.
“The scores have been low this year. I’ve had a couple times where I’ve been 15, 17 under and not in the top 10; those are good scores, but guys are playing well. So you’ve just got to keep grinding away and hope you’re there at the end.”
Upon falling just short at last year’s Web.com Tour Championship, Bertoni felt he was able to regroup quickly, thanks to a couple of factors. He stayed in Florida for a few days, having a good time and allowing his mind to wander from golf. And in the back of his mind, he knew that putting himself in the position of coming so close to the TOUR meant that he was doing something right.
“If you would’ve told me at the beginning of last year that I would’ve finished … maybe not necessarily that way, but that would’ve been where my season ended as where I finished on the money list … I probably would’ve taken it,” said Bertoni.
“I think that’s what everybody tries to do, is put themselves in the position that I happened to be in that week. That’s how you learn the most, because if you’re not in that position, it’s kind of like, ‘OK, I played pretty good all season, and I just wasn’t quite good enough.’ But to be in that position, I knew I was right there.”
Despite the way things ended, Bertoni was admirably gracious and accommodating with the media after that fateful round, fulfilling every request and talking at length about the day.
Looking back, he describes it as a difficult but necessary part of the job.
“There’s always going to be the guy that’s giving the interview right next to you that’s ecstatic because he made the putt to get his card, and there’s going to be the guy that’s bummed out, that missed the putt,” said Bertoni. “Unfortunately it happened to be me, but people want to talk to you, and people deserve your time.
“And I mean, everybody wants to know what you’re thinking. It’s tough to do, but it’s just something that you have to be able to do when you do things well, and you have to be able to do it when you don’t do so well. It was difficult, especially right out of the scoring trailer and all that, but it’s just something that you’ve got to do. Unfortunately I was on the wrong end of it, but maybe this year I’ll be on the right end of it.”
Last winter marked the first time that Bertoni did not have to make a trip to Q-School. He had previously kept his Web.com Tour status after finishing No. 52 on the money list in 2010, but back then Q-School could lead to TOUR status.
With a nearly four-month offseason, Bertoni had plenty of time to step back from the game if he so chose. Along the way, he enjoyed a three-week stretch where he barely practiced.
Bertoni recently bought a house in Houston, where he works with instructor Neil Wilkins, and he spent some off-time traveling back and forth between Houston and California.
He played some Adams Tour events over the winter, but also took time to relax and see family – including his sister’s wedding.
“We went out for the bridal party, played a little golf and drank a few beers,” said Bertoni. “Hung out and did some fun golf, which is nice to do.
“It was a longer offseason than I’m used to, but it was nice. It was nice to not have a whole lot of grinding to do, and go through the grind of Q-School and all that. It was nice to have that flexibility and freedom to be able to spend some time with family. We’re on the road so much, so it was nice to have a long break. It was new territory for me.”
Bertoni got off to a slow start this season with only one top-45 finish in his first seven starts, but he has righted the ship of late, highlighted by his third-place showing at the Nova Scotia Open, where he was tied for the lead at 12 under upon finishing his round – only to see the final twosome of Abraham Ancer and Bronson Burgoon each birdie the 18th hole to post 13 under.
The Nova Scotia Open is old news, though, as is last year’s Web.com Tour Championship. This week in his home state of California, Bertoni looks forward to writing his new story – one that he hopes will eventually include a spot on the PGA TOUR.
“Hey, it happened,” said Bertoni. “You can either dwell on it and it can really affect you, or you can just say, ‘It happened. It is what it is.’ And you go from there.
“It’s such a long season and a grind, and just because you’re not there doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not good enough to be out there. It’s just getting there.”