FESJC Jr. Course Reporter: Day 6

 Day 6 at TPC Southwind:  Moving Day

June 8, 2013

By: Glenn Hill II

MEMPHIS, TN- Saturday’s on the PGA TOUR are moving days.  Now that their weekend status is solidified, players amp up their play to move up the leader board to put themselves in contention on Sunday. 

Holding the lead for the first time on the PGA TOUR, second round leader Harris English posted a seemingly lackluster 1 under par 69 in comparison to his blistering 66 and 64 he posted in his first two rounds.

“I kinda hung in there all day, I never really got ahead of myself, and I stayed calm all day” is how English describes his highly turbulent round with 2 birdies and 2 bogeys on the front, followed by a string of 8 consecutive pars from holes 11 to 17.  After finally departing from the seemingly infinite par train with a birdie on 18, English describes the final birdie as a “really good feeling” that could maybe propel him into 4 straight sub par rounds here at TPC Southwind tomorrow.

With another under par round of golf, English could walk away with the title of champion at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but lurking up the leader board is a highly qualified field that will be in contention come Sunday afternoon.  

“I think it’s anybody’s ball game now.”  

With names like Stallings, Mickelson, Harrington, and defending champion Dustin Johnson all within 6 shots of English, his prediction might turn out to be true.  

But, even with his phenomenal play, English is not the leader of the tournament.  

Firing a thunderous 66 with a couple of hiccups and scary moments in between, final round leader Shawn Stefani has charged up this leader board, stunning the field with his insatiable work ethic and unyielding focus in the midst of disaster.

This 31 year-old rookie embodies what exactly what the PGA TOUR has always championed:  hard work, humility, and perseverance.

That’s what it takes to play this game, and Stefani exemplified all of those characteristics on an especially tough third round.

Stefani got off to a great start on his front 9, rattling of 3 birdies to go out with a 32.  “You know, I was playing so well though the first 10 holes, and was really feeling comfortable with my golf swing.”  After a nice birdie on the par 4 10th, Stefani’s confidence was on an all time-high, as he experiences his first PGA TOUR lead.  

But trouble was soon to follow.

Looming in the distance was that treacherous island green that is the par 3 11th at TPC Southwind.  With the wind howling and swirling from different directions, it was a challenge to determine the wind’s magnitude and direction during the moment of the tee shot.  Juggling between a wedge and a 9-iron, Stefani chose the wedge and later said, “it was a mistake on a club with the wind, you know.  And actually, I hit the shot the way I wanted too, but a gust kinda came up and knocked it in the water.”  

 Unfortunate, but no big deal, right?  It’s only Saturday and it’s only one stroke he would be giving up, wouldn’t he?

No, it’s a big deal.

After hitting hit in the water, Stefani’s third stroke found him in the bunker, as well as his fourth, resulting in a highly surprising and disappointing quadruple bogey on a par 3.  That’s a seven.  

But that really isn’t the big deal.

No, the big deal is how Shawn Stefani handled his debacle on 11.  While most golfers would have been flustered and taken out of their game, Stefani took a different approach.  He stared adversity straight in the eyes and awakened a resolve deep within him to attack the golf course with unrelenting tenacity.  Stefani decided to use those skills that brought him to the PGA TOUR as well as to his current lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic:  humility, hard work, and perseverance.

Before his predicament on 11, Stefani had a two shot lead.  After making his seven, he was two shots behind.

How did he get his lead back?

First, he humbled himself.  Stefani understood that these mistakes often happen, it’s golf.  He put the past behind him and moved on to the next holes.  “Just stay patient, keep swinging the way you’ve been swinging, and see what happens.”  

Second, he worked hard.  Stefani played his last seven holes in 4 under par to completely cancel out his quadruple bogey on 11.  To lose a lead a come back from such a deficit takes hard work, but it also requires another important element.

Finally, he persevered.  Comebacks are not easy.  On the par 4 15th Stefani found trouble again, hitting his second shot into the creek that runs in front of the green.  But Stefani persevered; after his drop, he chipped in for par to stay even and not lose any ground on that hole.  He then rattled off three consecutive birdies to finish off his third round with a 66 and an one shot lead heading into the final round.  

What can we learn from Shawn Stefani today?

Stefani’s third round mirrors his life and his desire to always be on the PGA TOUR.  It is not always a clear-cut path to the PGA TOUR.  Things happen and it’s always a grind to arrive and stay on tour.  Stefani credits his family as the motivating factor to his attitude and work ethic.  “Not one person in my corner ever told me to give up...you believe in yourself and keep doing all of the right things, and when things don’t go your way it’s tough.  But I never gave up hope.  I just kept working and working and working.”

Just like his own life, today Stefani showed what he was made of and what he does when faced with adversity.  He just keeps “working and working and working.”  A lesson for all of us, and an inspiration for me to always work hard and persevere through whatever I do. 

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Glenn Hill II, a senior, is an exceptional student and talented musician at Harding Academy. He holds a 4.05 weighted grade point average and scored 28 on the ACT. He currently ranks fifth in the senior class. He has been selected for the All West Senior High Band, Orchestra and Junior Band. He also was 1st Chair in the University of Memphis Honor Blue Band (top band). He has been an orchestra member in two school musicals and was selected for All Southwest Chorus as a Tenor 2. An integral member of the school’s senior wind ensemble, jazz band and orchestra, Glenn is also the principal trombonist in the MemphisYouth Symphony. As a trombonist he has received many awards including junior band award as a freshman and the Barry Lumpkin Outstanding Musician Award as a junior. Last summer he was the recipient of the Summer Trombone Scholarship at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts held at MTSU. Glenn is an extraordinary role model for younger students. He is vice-president of the senior wind ensemble and takes this leadership role seriously. He makes a positive impact daily and has the respect of his peers.