Sometimes in golf — actually, a lot of times — pressure is the enemy. Maybe even a disease. If you went to the golf doctor, the symptoms would be tight muscles, straying concentration and missed six-foot putts.
Ignoring pressure was one of the things Jason Allred, the first-day leader in the Miccosukee Championship by one stroke, might have discovered Thursday after shooting a 7-under-par 64.
“I think the last couple of weeks I was putting too much into shooting a good score,” he said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and didn’t play with a lot of freedom and joy.
“It’s a real trap to get into late in the year, to be trying so hard to do well.”
Allred was talking about the intense season-ending scramble to finish in the top 25 in money earnings on the Web.com Tour.
Making the top 25 means you earn your PGA Tour card.
Obsessing on that top 25, Allred contends, is “… something most of the guys would argue is not the right thing to do.”
Of his round Thursday, Allred said: “More than anything, it was just the process. I have a process I believe in.”
Chris DeForest, who trails Allred by one stroke after shooting a 6-under 65, got up at 4:30 in the morning, jumped in the car and headed south to the tournament.
“I live up in the Palm City area,” he said. “It’s about a two-hour trip.”
For DeForest, call it the Turnpike Tour.
He will make that trip back and forth each day of the tournament.
Why? Well, this isn’t the PGA Tour with helicopters, first-class airfare and charter jets.
There’s no $1 million-plus winner’s share here, although most golfers would happily settle for the Miccosukee’s $108,000 top prize.
“It’s not bad,” DeForest said.
Easy for him to say. His caddie did the driving Thursday.
“I slept for about the final 20 minutes of the trip,” DeForest said.
The Miccosukee Championship, in its 10th year, has had two alumni who played in it go on and win major championships in their careers.
That would be Bubba Watson, who won the 2012 Masters, and Keegan Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship.
Despite playing in it, neither can claim a Miccosukee Championship on their résumé.