Anger Management

September 22, 2007
By Dave Lagarde Correspondent

BOISE, Idaho -- The natural tendency is to focus on the leaders. And in the case of the Albertsons Boise Open presented by First Health, the men on top are D.A. Points, who rushed to the forefront Saturday on the wings of an 8-under-par 63 ignited by early back-to-back eagles, and Jim McGovern.

Category Total Rank
Driving Distance 304.7 yds. 11
Driving Accuracy 68.47% 60
Greens in Regulation 71.95 13
Putts Per Round 29.81 77
Sand Saves 40.74% 105
Scoring Average 70.68 32
Money Leaders $105,253 42

Points and McGovern own gaudy 17-under-par 196 aggregates through 54 holes at Hillcrest Country Club as well as a two-shot advantages over Aron Price and Brenden Pappas. Boyd Summerhays, Matthew Jones, Jon Mills, Todd Dempsey and Peter Tomasulo trail by three.

So give Points and McGovern their due, but don't start printing either player's name on the $121,500 first-place check or engraving their names on the tournament hardware yet. There's a lot of golf left over the course of an anything-can-happen 18 holes, especially when the weather forecast calls for windy and cold and especially when one among the fivesome lurking at 14 under bears serious watching.

That would be Tomasulo, 25, who only recently discovered the secret to going low. Sure, it's about hitting good shots and making putts, but the missing link for the talented Californian is a little thing called anger management.

Tomasulo makes no secret his chili tends to run red hot between the ropes. Just ask him.

"I have a little bit of a temper,'' Tomasulo said after polishing off a 7-under 64 Saturday, his fifth consecutive sub-70 effort.

Just about anything could set him off, be it a bad shot or a bad break.

"I'd get mad,'' he said. "Then I'd get mad about getting mad. I'd get deflated. I'd beat myself up.''

Get the picture?

Actually, those days of rage that turned potential 71s into quick-hitting, run-of-the-mill 74s and 75s may be history. Tomasulo admitted to working hard throughout 2007 on reining in the eruptions, but couldn't get the handle on his emotions.

"I just couldn't snap out of it,'' he said.

Until two weeks ago in Utah, that is, where Tomasulo believes he reached a turning -- rather than a breaking -- point. He entered the weekend in good position to pick up a good paycheck with a couple of solid rounds. But his hope dissolved with a 74 that pushed him to the back of the pack.

There was no seething. No steaming. Not even a hint of an internal explosion. "I felt great,'' he said of the personal triumph. "My attitude was good. I brushed off a bad round.''

Tomasulo reinforced the small personal triumph with a final-round 67. But there was a much bigger test awaiting him last week in Oregon. He opened the second round by making double bogey on three of the first four holes. He was 6 over par through 22 holes and looking at a weekend off.

"I told myself to keep on grinding, that even if I missed the cut I could make a few birdies and leave on a positive note,'' he said.

Eight birdies later Tomasulo made the cut on the number, learning an invaluable lesson about the power of positive thinking. It got even better on the weekend as he closed with 67-65, shooting a Saturday-Sunday best of 132. Throw in his 14-under performance here and that makes him a sizzling 34 under for his last 106 holes.

"I'm really pleased,'' said Tomasulo, who ranks 42nd on the Nationwide Tour money list this week.

He has every right to be, considering a good final round will move him closer to The 25 with four full-field events remaining in the regular season.

"I'd like to play well and earn one of those gold bibs,'' he said of the distinctive bibs caddies of the players in the top 25 on the money list wear during each event. And should he be there at the conclusion of the Nationwide Tour Championship he'll realize his goal of playing on the PGA TOUR in 2008.

That's where Tomasulo figured he was headed following the 2006 Nationwide Tour season. After all, he played well on the Canadian Tour in 2005 and then came out to the Nationwide Tour and made a big splash as a Monday qualifier, scoring a victory in his third event. He made $140,896 in nine events, finishing 36th on the money list.

But the burden of great expectations did him in. His best finish was a tie for fifth among three top 10s and he made more than $16,000 less in 29 events in 2006 than he did in nine in 2005. He stewed about his performance throughout the off-season and let the failure carry over into 2007.

"It's fair to say I've learned a lot about myself,'' he said. "I want to keep growing.''

And keep going with a simple plan.

"I want to keep a level head and my chin up,'' he said. "I think if I do that I'll play well the rest of the year.''