Seamus Power relishing graduation to PGA Tour

Seamus Power has rightly been enjoying a whirlwind summer but the Irish professional knows he will soon have to press the reset button as he begins life on the PGA Tour.

The 29-year-old from West Waterford Golf Club has worked hard to earn his ticket to the biggest show in golf, and having won his PGA Tour card for the 2016-17 season thanks to an all-important top 25 finish on the Web.com Tour money list he will make his debut at the season- opening Safeway Open in Napa, California, on October 13.

It will be a crowning moment for a young Irishman who took up a golf scholarship at East Tennessee State University almost exactly a decade ago with barely a thought of turning professional.

It has since been a journey through the collegiate golfing scene, playing mini-tours in the United States as a rookie pro and then playing his way onto the Web.com, the feeder circuit for the PGA Tour, from which all 50 cards for the following season are awarded.

Buoyed by the “unforgettable” and “amazing” experience of becoming an Olympian when he represented Ireland alongside Pádraig Harrington at the Rio Games last month, Charlotte-based Power will enter the fray full of confidence that he can continue his rise through the ranks.

“Would I have liked to have been there sooner? Absolutely, but it is what it is and this makes it all the sweeter,” Power told the Irish Examiner during the celebrations at West Waterford last week to mark his rise to the PGA Tour.

“The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind but it’s all been good. It’s been fun.”

Power set the wheels in motion for his promotion to PGA Tour status with his victory in May at the United Leasing and Finance Championship in Indiana, the prize money from which catapulted him into the tour’s top 25 in the money list where he has stayed ever since, foregoing the need for a last-ditch effort at the upcoming Web.com Tour Championship in Florida, where the remaining 25 cards are played for.

“To get that win early means you’re not worried about going into the last event of the year knowing you have to finish 12th or better or that sort of thing, I was glad I wasn’t going to be a part of that,” Power said.

“I hadn’t quite wrapped up the PGA Tour card but I was certainly in a position where it was in my own hands and comfortably so, which was nice.”

Now comes the readjustment to being bottom of the pile once more as he rubs shoulders with PGA Tour big guns such as world leaders Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, He has sought advice from friends and also picked the brains of Olympic team-mate Harrington in Rio but he added: “Everyone’s experience is going to be different and at the end of the day if you play well you’ll be fine. So that’s what I’m trying to focus on really and let the golf take care of itself.

“It is similar to the Web.com Tour in that you do just have to keep going. There’s reshuffles all the time and as nice as it is just being there you want to work your way into the fully exempt category and then try and work your way towards the winners’ category and get into the World Golf Championships and majors.

“So there’s almost like three tiers on the PGA Tour and I’m on the bottom trying to work my way up.”

Power will begin that process not lacking confidence.

“I haven’t played the PGA Tour yet but I’ve never been in an environment where I’ve felt I was out of my depth,” he said.

“I’m resetting my goals for next year. You obviously want to establish yourself in the top 125 (on the PGA Tour money list) in my first year but there’s no reason why I can’t produce my best golf next year and get very close to winning or winning.

“I’ve seen guys come off the Web.com and win quickly and I know it’s very doable, so it’s just a matter of putting it together in the right week.”

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