KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Lucas trades motocross for pursuit of PGA TOUR dreams
April 05, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Kevin Lucas has 10 siblings, including six adopted (four from China, one from Guatemala and one from South Korea). (Courtesy of Kevin Lucas)
Family over everything. Kevin Lucas knows that well.
Lucas, who finished T3 at the Savannah Golf Championship in late March (his career-best Web.com Tour result), grew up with two brothers, each one year apart. Then came an adopted sister from South Korea when the trio was seven.
And now, he counts five more adopted siblings – four from China and one from Guatemala – as his own.
“(My parents) sat us down and we were as excited as can be. We were going to have a baby sister,” says Lucas of when, as a youngster himself, he found out he was going to be a big brother. “Fast forward seven or eight years and they started adopting more. Then, when they told us, ‘We’re done adopting … this is the last one,’ we said, ‘OK – you said that the last time.’”
The Lucas family – which grew from when he was seven until he was 25 – includes Gracie (14), Laney (14), Bryson (15), Gio (15), Marissa (16), Lauren (23) and two stepsiblings, Matt and Rachelle.
The last five adopted siblings – the eldest adopted sister, Lauren, is working toward becoming a dental hygienist – were all adopted within five years. Lucas’ mother, he says, relied on her faith to point her in the direction of South Korea, China and Guatemala to adopt from there.
“She went to visit those places and would go to the adoption agency and (see) kids eating paint off the cribs because they’re starving,” says Lucas. “She did her research and understood where the need was.”
Some of Lucas’ siblings have “100 percent” had a better life by coming to America.
One of his brothers, Bryson, had clubbed feet – his ankles were completely turned in 90 degrees – and as soon as he came to America, Lucas’ mother had the initial surgery done. He’s had eight or nine surgeries done now and is living a full life.
Gracie, one of his sisters, has Down syndrome. On the spectrum, she is high functioning, but he says in China she wouldn’t have received the love she gets in the U.S.
“My mom,” says Lucas, “is the most loving person I’ve ever met.”Kevin Lucas shares a close bond with his brothers Justin and Joe. (Courtesy of Kevin Lucas)
It was quite the dynamic in the Lucas household even before the adopted siblings joined the family, and there is a unique, close-knit relationship between the three “original” siblings.
While youngest brother Kevin is pursuing a career in professional golf, his middle brother, Joe, was an Army Ranger (and in the Special Forces) and once he left active duty he was a professional mixed-martial arts fighter. His eldest brother, Justin, was the No. 1-ranked bass fisherman in the world.
The household contained, yes, a professional golfer, professional MMA fighter, and professional bass fisherman.
“He’s the one I’m trying to catch,” Lucas says, no pun intended, of Justin. “He’s been a great mentor for me. He won, last year, basically the FedExCup of bass fishing (Bassmaster Angler of the Year). Anyone who is number-one in something in the world … to be able to pick their brain is priceless.”
The trio was all active growing up, but golf didn’t become a part of Kevin Lucas’ life until he was 14 and an accident caused him to stop doing the thing he loved the most – motocross.
He says there was “insane” competition amongst the three, and admits one of the reasons he got hurt was to try to go full-throttle faster than his brothers, since he didn’t want to get beat.
By the time he was 14, Lucas had already suffered four major concussions and a few smaller ones. The last one, he says, took him out of motocross for good.
He spent a day and a half in the hospital and was foaming out of the mouth, knocked unconscious for upwards of 30 minutes. He says his father thought Lucas was brain-dead.
“I was pretty relentless on a motorcycle and I think it scared my parents,” says Lucas, “and it almost killed me.”
Lucas’ parents sold his dirt bike right away – they sold one of his brother’s bikes as well, so he held a grudge against Kevin for quite a while, Kevin says with a laugh – as the doctor who checked out Lucas after his final concussion wrote on his release papers, in part, that if Lucas got any more concussions there would be a good chance for permanent brain damage.
“That scared my mom as much as it could,” says Lucas, who began to play golf with one of his cousins about a month after he had recovered from that final concussion.
Lucas was also a basketball player growing up, but took to golf right away. His mom bought him his first set of clubs, he began taking lessons about six months later, and a year later Lucas was playing golf by himself anywhere from three to five times per week.
He says he found an individual competitiveness in golf that was similar to motocross.
“I didn’t have to play against someone to get that satisfaction of accomplishment,” he says. “I had to pick it up pretty quick on my own, but I loved it.”
He can’t help but laugh now thinking back to how he was growing up, a former motocross racer from a blended family, with no knowledge of anyone in the golf world.
He says he “kind of” knew who Tiger Woods was – he was more aware of racer Jeremy McGrath, who is essentially the Tiger Woods of motocross – but as soon as he started playing more often, he became “obsessed” with Woods and how he played.
Lucas parlayed his quick success into a scholarship at the University of Nevada-Reno. He played one Web.com Tour event and one PGA TOUR event in 2014, the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in 2015, and a full season on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada in 2017, where he finished 86th on the money list. He played five events on the Web.com Tour last year before landing in the top-10 at Final Stage of Q-School in December.
He has made only two cuts so far in 2019, but his T3 in Savannah is hopefully a harbinger of good play to come.
“In some point in everybody’s season, they’re going to go through a tough little stretch,” he says. “For some people it’s longer than others, and … for me it happened early (in the season), and I’m OK with that, because now I’ve got 20-something more events to look forward to.”
In Savannah he had only brother Justin on-site to support him Sunday. But no matter where he goes, Kevin Lucas knows the rest of his family isn’t far away.
“For people that don’t have family members that are adopted … it’s hard for people to relate and understand what it was like,” he says. “But it was the best thing that ever happened to our family.”