Carefree Guthrie yet to finish outside top 20 as a pro

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Luke Guthrie will make his fourth start this week at the Midwest Classic Presented by Cadillac.
August 15, 2012
John Dell, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

If 22-year-old Luke Guthrie is feeling at all intimidated by his new job as a professional golfer, he is hiding it well.

Guthrie, a former All-America at the University of Illinois, has jumped into the challenge of competing on the Tour rather boldly. In three tournaments he's done well enough to rank No. 20 on the money list.


After losing to Ben Kohles in Columbus, Ohio, in a playoff at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, Guthrie followed that up with a tie for third and on Sunday wound up finishing tied for 10th.

"For me it's been just playing my game," Guthrie said about his fast rise through the ranks of pro golf. "I try to make it a point that even though I was playing in my first PGA TOUR event I was nervous but I just focused on golf and just played my game. It's still just golf."

Before he settled on going full time on the Tour, Guthrie got his feet wet by playing in three PGA TOUR tournaments. In all three he finished inside the top 20. So in his six tournaments on the PGA TOUR and Tour he's a remarkable 6-for-6 in making cuts.

In fact, he's finished inside the top 20 of all his pro events.

"I've tried to avoid thinking about the money or thinking about how much this putt would mean and things like that," Guthrie said about what's different from his amateur days. "I think that's not a good mentality to have ... I try to put the lowest score next to my name."

While Guthrie has embarked on his career, he's not about to forget about school. He still needs 13 hours to graduate with a degree in business management at Illinois and plans on being back in the classroom by the end of the month.

He will take two online classes but two other classes will require his attendance. He'll head back to Champaign, Ill., where he'll move into the apartment with his older brother, Zach, an Illinois assistant coach. Zach has also caddied for Luke in four of the six tournaments he's played in this season.

"School starts the 27th (of August) so I'm going to try and juggle school with playing on some of the events for the rest of the season," Guthrie said. "I'll find a way to make it work."

Guthrie says it's important to him and his family that he finishes school and just because he's done so well after turning pro hasn't changed his priorities.

"I put four years of hard work into school and I don't want to stop now," Guthrie said. "I want to get that degree and that's the backup plan. So I want to finish now because if I wait it's a lot tougher to get it done so that's why I'm going back to school this semester."

Guthrie credits coach Mike Small, his golf coach at Illinois, with his development. Small is also one of the top PGA professionals in the country and last week competed in the PGA Championship.

"I learned a lot in my four years of playing at Illinois playing under Coach Small and my brother and they taught me how to play the game," Guthrie said. "Even when you aren't playing your best you do everything you can to post a low score. I learned a lot there at Illinois."

One trait that Guthrie has is his optimism; something he says may have come from the fact that he's a lifelong Chicago Cubs' fan. He grew up in Quincy, Ill., and like a lot of Cubs' fans is usually finding a silver lining in everything.

Inside THE 25
1 Casey Wittenberg $292,128
2 Ben Kohles $262,875
3 Luke List $260,796
4 Paul Haley II $252,726
5 Andres Gonzales $229,072
20 Luke Guthrie $133,850