E.A. Sports Today

A taste of the tour

West Coast tournament trip will give Donoho golfer a taste of what life is like on the PGA Tour

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Like all players his age, Jacob Lecroy has dreams of some day playing on the PGA Tour. Over the next two weeks he’ll get a small taste of what that will be like.

On Friday, when he otherwise would be teeing it up in the first round of the Sunny King Charity Classic, the Donoho ninth-grader embarks on a two-week tournament swing through California that is both family vacation and learning experience.

The trip, which he called “definitely my biggest accomplishment ever” in golf, ramps up Tuesday in the IMG Academy Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines South in San Diego, the same course that hosts the Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open and had the 2008 U.S. Open. The following week he moves up the coast to Los Angeles for the Veritas World Junior.

“I think it’s going to feel a lot like that,” Lecroy said. “It’s going to show me what it’s like to be out there. I think it’s going to be tough. You’re going to be traveling and you’re going to be practicing every chance you get. I think it’s going to be a good experience.”

Lecroy earned the trip to Torrey Pines by winning a qualifier at Indian Pines in Auburn in April. The invite to LA came later when he tied for medalist in the Pigeon Dove Junior at Musgrove Country Club in June.

At Torrey Pines he’ll be playing in a field of players of all ages. At Tustin Ranch GC, he’ll only be competing against 15-year-olds.

“I’m really trying to go down there and make a big impression of how I can play,” he said. “Ever since I’ve been invited I’ve not been thinking about it very much, but at the end of June I really started thinking I really need to play good here.”

How important is that to him? He’d like to play golf in college — Auburn’s on his mind right now – but not necessarily as a means to a golf end, and he knows there will be a lot of eyes on him there.

To prepare for Torrey, he’s been studying the course on the internet, picked the brain of former Oxford player Logan Archer who played in the event last year, been practicing for the wind and elevated greens every day at Silver Lakes and hopes to get a virtual look at the course by playing it a couple times in the simulator at the PGA Superstore.

Archer advised Lecroy mostly on the weather and course conditions he can expect during the week.

“It can change in a minute out there,” Archer said. “I also told him it would play very long and very hard. Last year on the second round we played it at almost 7,500 yards and it seemed like every hole on the back was into the wind.

“I also gave him some info on the greens and when he plays later in the afternoon to be cautious of the Poa annua. And just be smart. Bogeys are going to come, but if you can limit them, you will play well.”

The grind doesn’t stop when Lecroy gets home from California. The day after he returns, it’s back on the road to the State Junior in Mobile.

“I’m ready; golf wise, I think I’m ready,” he said.

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