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Luke with Ping Club

Guthrie in midst of season-long resurgence

Luke Guthrie has missed only one cut since May. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Luke Guthrie knows his life is about to change dramatically.

But he can’t wait for that change to take place.

Guthrie and his wife Kaitlyn announced on social media – after Guthrie had played in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach earlier this year – they were expecting their first child.

“We’re fired up for the next phase in life,” says Guthrie, who admits they won’t find out the sex of the baby until the day-of, later this fall. The couple is also moving to a bigger home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to accommodate the growing family.

Buoyed by the support of his wife, Guthrie is also in the midst of a yearlong resurgence on the golf course. These days, things both away from the game and in golf itself are going well.

Guthrie, a former star at the University of Illinois, has missed only one cut since May and sits 54th on the season-long points race on the Korn Ferry Tour. Prior to qualifying for his third U.S. Open in June he finished T-4 (at the Evans Scholars Invitational) and 6th at the REX Hospital Open.

Those were his best Korn Ferry Tour results since a runner-up, two years ago.

The support from Kaitlyn, he says, got him through some tough times on the golf course – last year he was 101st on the money list – and rejuvenated his approach for 2019.

“You’re just frustrated because you chose (golf) as a living and you’re not going very good,” Guthrie admits. “But now I’ve got a renewed sense it could be a day to turn around. The building blocks are starting to take shape.”

Guthrie says he entered this year with a lot of uncertainty after not getting a few starts early in the year, given his status on Tour and how he finished at Q-School (he was T-64). He missed the first two cuts of his year but got into the Nashville Golf Open benefitting the Snedeker Foundation and made the cut, before finishing T-6 the next week at the KC Golf Classic.

“My confidence is high. Better than the last little while,” says Guthrie of where he’s at mentally now, with the Regular Season coming down to the last three tournaments. This week the Korn Ferry Tour is in Omaha, Nebraska for the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Chevrolet.

“We’re back in the Midwest, and I’m comfortable since I grew up here. Just trying to get the putter hot and have the hole look big again. I’m trying to build and get the momentum of a week going.”

The momentum, Guthrie says, will hopefully come from his good play.

But in the past he’s been spurred on by his tight support system, which includes his brother Zach (a great player in his own right, a PGA TOUR caddie, and formerly the assistant men’s golf coach at the University of Illinois, the brothers’ alma mater), his parents, who supported him always through his junior golf days, and now Kaitlyn and his ever-growing family.

“For the last 3.5 years we travelled (together) almost every week. She caddied last year. Pro golf can be pretty lonely but with her travelling and being a caddie not only was it not lonely, but she made it fun,” says Guthrie.

While Guthrie continues to have a laser-like focus on his results with the Regular Season on the Korn Ferry Tour coming down to its final stretch, he also is eager to take on the next phase of his life. A couple of his good friends have had babies and he became an uncle earlier this year. He’s watched from afar as little additions have been made to close families, but now it’s his turn.

And he’s hoping this next phase of life includes a PGA TOUR card, too.

Luke Guthrie - Qualified for U.S. Open

Guthrie continues to rise, qualifies for U.S. Open

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Just last month Luke Guthrie made less than $1,500 on the Web.com Tour.

Now, off the back of three recent top-10s and a medalist performance at sectional qualifying, the former Illinois star is heading to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach next week.

Guthrie set the pace at the sectional played at Scioto Country Club and Brookside Country Club despite it being the site littered with PGA TOUR players.


Related:

Who qualified? | Leaderboards for U.S. Open sectional qualifying


He shot out of the blocks with an 8-under 64 at Brookside before calmly holding firm with a 3-under 67 at Scioto to lead the pack of qualifiers that included TOUR winners Jhonattan Vegas, Jason Dufner, Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley, Chesson Hadley and Rory Sabbatini among others.

The 29-year-old is no stranger to the TOUR having played it from 2013 to 2016, making the FedExCup Playoffs in the first two seasons. His best result was a third place at The Honda Classic in 2013.

He got there in spectacular fashion. Having forged an impressive college career, which coincidentally kick-started with a win at Scioto Country Club, Guthrie turned pro in 2012.

Within 10 starts on the Web.com Tour, he had two wins and would finish second on the money list to earn his way to the PGA TOUR.

His time on the TOUR started well enough, but then he fell in an all too familiar trap.

“I came out of college playing awesome golf. I didn’t overthink it, I just got out of my way and things were happening. Balls were going in, you don’t ask questions,” Guthrie said.

“Then it stopped and you start asking questions. You start working on things, trying to get better, and in that process, not trying to, I compromised some of the things that make me me.”

In Guthrie’s case this was trying to do more with his swing and ball flight. As a natural cutter of the ball he thought he should try to add a draw to his resume. He did not get the desired effect.

“Basically I was a cutter my whole life and could not draw the ball to save my life and I thought that was a flaw. And now looking back it was a strength,” he said.

“I tried to hit a draw and I could end up hitting a draw, or slice, or hook… so I kind of lost the face a little bit in search of getting better.”

Guthrie says it has been a three-year battle to return to his natural self. In that time he has sunk to the depths, starting this season with only conditional status on the Web.com Tour. A poor beginning to the season made starts hard to come by and he found himself battling away at Monday qualifiers.

In early May he had earned just $1,457.50 and was 177th on the Web.com points race.

But recently things have begun to look up. In the last month he was tied for sixth at the KC Golf Classic, tied for fourth at the Evans Scholars Invitational and was sixth again at the Rex Hospital Open to move up to 35th on the money list ($72,439) and 43rd on the points list.

And then of course he has booked his spot at Pebble Beach. Guthrie has played the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two times, finishing inside the top 35 on both occasions. And this will be his third U.S. Open having qualified through the Columbus sectional on all three occasions.

“I’m coming back stronger than ever. Three years ago I played golf waiting for the train wreck a little bit, just felt like odds weren’t in my favor because I didn’t feel like my game was near where it needed to be,” he adds.

“But I come to the golf course now and it’s the opposite. I feel like I am kind of waiting for that hot stretch. Now I have gotten to the point where it is just me again. It wasn’t fun, it’s been a grind, but it’s pretty cool to be going to the U.S. Open.

“Hopefully this is the launch of the second part of my career.”