DADE CITY, FL – The golf course is a strange battlefield.
Gentle slopes and soft sand, tall trees and green grass – was it by intent or accident that the courses seem specifically designed to set the mind at ease when golf demands the exact opposite?
It’s no wonder Adam Chester of the Marquette University’s golf team has a steel-framed focus on his future. To slow down and enjoy the view from the USF Invitational this week would have been too easy.
“It’s really a waiting game for me,” said the 21-year-old British expatriate, who finished the tournament tied for 34th place in a field of 88 competitors on Tuesday.
“If I keep striking the ball the way I am…there [are] not many people that can beat me.”
Chester’s confidence is bold and plain, and his description of the bigger picture is remarkably natural.
“There’s so many positives and that’s almost the difficult thing,” said the Marquette sophomore of his performance over the past three days at the Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club.
“You look on paper and it’s very average, it’s not great but at the same time, I did so much stuff better than anyone else out here will, so I have to look at it as a good week really.”
Tale of two golfers
It was a tough day for another Marquette player, Corey Konieczki, who finished 10-over on the day, after a rough start to the tournament that landed him tied for 85th overall.
“I feel like since I had a bad first and second day, this doesn’t really matter,” said Konieczki. “I’ll just start from scratch, go back to the drawing board.”
While Konieczki will mull over the moves he needs to help push Marquette further than their 14th-place tie in future NCAA tournaments, Chester knows what he needs is consistency and patience.
“This week I’ve hit the ball so well, I’ve just not really capitalized on the chances I’ve been given,” said Chester.
Although the Brit acknowledged that being away from his family is the most difficult aspect of pursuing the dream of professional golf, his ambition remains the driving force in his game and his life.
“I’m a real family boy, there’s no doubt about it, that’s the hardest thing about being in America,” said Chester.
“But at the same time I know I’ve got their support. They know I’m out here for a reason… It’s really just gaining international experience before I hopefully try to make a career out of the game.”
The outlooks and outcomes for these Marquette men were different this week, but as the American assessed his day’s troubles, a similarity between the two emerged.
“It’s all in my head,” said Konieczki.
Somewhere amid Konieczki’s cloudy mindset and Chester’s crystal clarity, both golfers know that mental stamina is the key to the battles that lie on the green ahead.