Thatcher finds 'the zone,' nearly shoots 59
The three-time Tour winner settles for 60 at Thornblade after narrowly missing a 12-foot birdie at the last
May 17, 2015
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- The last of Roland Thatcher's three victories on the Web.com Tour came in 2007. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Veteran Roland Thatcher was 10 shots off the lead beginning the final round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am Presented by SYNNEX Corporation, and he admits he didn’t think he had much of a chance to contend as he worked through his warm-up session on the range at Thornblade Club in Greenville.
Thatcher did feel that he had a good round in him, however. The warm-up was his best in recent memory; all his shots traveled on the desired trajectory, without need for adjustments.
Knowing what such a warm-up session can mean, Thatcher issued a prediction to his caddie: he would either shoot a great round or a terrible round.
“I told him that today was either going to be 60 or 80,” said Thatcher. “Because that’s usually what happens on those days. Either it’s fantastic and it stays great, or it’s fantastic and it’s the only good thing that happens all day.
“I told him it was either 60 or 80, and I happened to be right.”
Sure enough, Thatcher went out and fired 11-under 60 at Thornblade Club, vaulting up the leaderboard into a tie for second upon the conclusion of his round. The 38-year-old began the day in a tie for 28th, then went out and made nine birdies and an eagle in relatively benign conditions.
If not for a disappointing par on the par-5 15th hole, in which he had a 6-iron for his second shot, the magic number of ‘59’ would have been well within reach.
Thatcher got up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-5 16th hole to reach 11 under, then nearly holed a short chip for birdie on the par-3 17th. A perfect drive and sound approach left him 12 feet above the hole for birdie on the difficult par-4 18th, but with eager fans and Golf Channel cameras surrounding him, he left the putt “a couple of dimples” short, right in the heart.
Roland Thatcher’s spectacular Final Round run at BMW Charity Pro-Am
“You want to say you’re able to focus on the putt, not the number, and I felt like I did,” said Thatcher. “I really felt like I hit the putt how I wanted it. I didn’t want to leave it short with a chance for 59, but that putt has been pretty quick over the years, and I didn’t think I could leave it short.
“I had to settle for a personal best, which is always a good thing to say.”
Thatcher began the week in 86th place on the Web.com Tour Regular Season money list, and he knows the importance of big weeks (and the requisite low rounds which lead to big weeks) in order to finish inside The 25 and earn PGA TOUR status for the following season.
The Auburn grad, who has moved between the TOUR and Web.com Tour throughout his career, admits that “the zone” can be fleeting for players with his type of career profile. He believes in the zone, however, and he knows he found it on Sunday afternoon.
“The zone is real,” said Thatcher. “The bubble, the zone, whatever you want to call it; it’s real. I was certainly in it. I was calm and comfortable; there wasn’t a situation out there that made me think twice. I was decisive and I knew what I wanted to do.
“Unfortunately for guys like me, guys that have been up and down, we don’t find the zone as often as the other guys. But I think the feeling is probably the same.”
Roland Thatcher interview after Round 4 of the BMW Charity Pro-Am