DADE CITY, FL — Everyone knows that patience is a virtue, but the adage is often taken to the extreme in golf.
Emerson Newsome showed a knack for this steady approach on day three of the 54-hole University of South Florida Invitational on Tuesday.
Known as E-Man, the 18-year-old freshman displayed composure throughout his group’s 5 1/2-hour round.
“As crazy as it sounds, it was better than [Monday],” he said. “[Monday] the pace was ridiculous [over six hours], we waited a little long today, but it’s college golf, so that’s what you expect.”
It’s not always easy staying focused and in rhythm when the pace of play is slow.
“In golf, you sometimes hear the term ‘smell the roses in between shots,’” said Newsome.
“So focus for the two minutes needed to set up and hit the shot, but after that, think about whatever – the calculus tests I have later this week, what’s for dinner, something fun to get your mind off it, then refocus, just let your mind escape throughout the round.”
Finishing tied for 47th in a field of 89 participants, Newsome improved in each round at the beautiful Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club, a 7,153 yard, par-72 course.
On Sunday, his score of 80 was attributable to cold and windy weather, but he wasn’t making any excuses.
“Tomorrow is a new day, so go out there whether you shot the course record or 80, be thankful that you can go out and compete,” said Newsome.
“More than anything, it’s having the right attitude – not necessarily how I was playing – it’s important to come out with a good mindset each day and improve.”
Newsome responded with a 74 on Monday, followed by his impressive 1-over-par round on Tuesday, posting the best three-day total (227) on his team.
Born in Clinton, Iowa, Newsome honed his skills at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Ga.
”I was fortunate to be a part of a good golf program,” he said. “I had good mentors my first two years, then after that it was about me being the leader and taking on the role of captain, and being a positive influence for everyone else.
“It was a good path. I learned a lot, got a lot of experience, learned from good players and then emerged as the mentor for the younger guys.”
Newsome arranged for a tryout in front of Cincinnati coach Doug Martin, and was offered a spot on the Bearcats roster by the former PGA player.
At the University of Cincinnati Invitational last Fall, Newsome made a good first impression, finishing 17th overall, having been near the top of the leaderboard for much of the tournament.
“From a personal level, it showed that I belong on this stage, that I can compete at the Division I level,” he said. “To be in that position, it meant a lot for me mentally that I belong here. I can compete. I can go out and win every week.”
“To help out the team as a freshman is great, we’re a young team so being able to do that feels pretty good.”
Ultimately, Newsome wants to pursue a career in professional golf.
“That’s the goal,” he said. “Luckily our coach Doug Martin was on the PGA for a while, he was also the number one amateur in the world, he’s had a lot of experience, and I’m hoping to learn as much as I can from him over my four years.”
“Hopefully then my game will be good enough to go and try to make a living out of it.”