July 1, 2015
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
Three weeks into the real world and working through the bush leagues, ACC men’s golf co-medalist Anders Albertson has achieved some success in pro tournaments yet admits he faces a learning curve as a professional . . . shopper.
Eight weeks after graduating from Georgia Tech and fresh from winning more than $4,000 in his first two pro starts in golf’s mid-minor leagues, he’s using rare time off to do the domestic thing.
Moving into a new apartment in Alpharetta near his pro home, the Golf Club of Georgia, is exciting. But the place needs work.
Furniture, cookware, stuff for the walls, some lamps, linens, towels, maybe a few plants . . . and what exactly is flatware?
Jeez; calibrating cross winds and reading greens . . . that’s easy stuff. Finding end tables that match everything else?
“It’s fun, and something I’ve never had to do before,” he said. “[Wednesday] and the next three days I’ll be moving, and maybe go to the Golf Club to practice for a small amount. We’ll go to the beach, my girlfriend and I, and this is my one break in the summer.”
Albertson stays busy, yet this is a different kind of labor.
Last week, he was named ACC men’s golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year and named to the ACC All-Academic team for the fourth consecutive year.
Add four straight All-ACC selections, three ACC team titles, two ACC individual championships (one shared), four NCAA tournaments, three All-America honors and the 2015 Byron Nelson Award and there’s plenty of proof that a young man who made every travel team in his Tech career is not one to coast.
In the past five weeks, he played in the NCAAs, went through U.S. Open Qualifying, represented the U.S. while helping the American side beat Europe in the Palmer Cup, and then jumped into the pro ranks and made his first two cuts.
Albertson’s debut, the SwingThought Tour’s New Bern Pro Classic June 17-20 in New Bern, N.C., went well. His 10-under par 278 at The Emerald helped him tie for 15th, earning $2,151.
Former Tech golfer J.T. Griffin tied for 11th, and former Yellow Jacket teammate, James White Jr., tied for 42nd. Several college rivals were there field as well.
The field was somewhat familiar. The format and feel were not.
The National Golf Association, which runs the SwingThought Tour primarily in the Southeast, did not trick The Emerald layout with quite the passive-aggressive creativity that the USGA did in wrenching Chambers Bay for last week’s U.S. Open.
Blake Sattler, a 31-year Ohioan who turned pro in 2007, won with a 22-under score of 266. For that, he earned $20,000.
Somewhat similarly, when Albertson tied for 14th at the e-Golf Tour’s Mimosa Hills Open June 24-27 at in Morganton, N.C., to earn $1,916.67, the setup at Mimosa Hills was not daunting.
“In the first event, I just didn’t make many putts but it was a good start. Last week, I played pretty well in the first three rounds and then made a few too many mistakes,” Albertson said. “It’s a little different being on the road by myself and not having a team . . . the dinners and everything.
“I’m kind of showing myself what I need to do. The set-ups in college might be a little harder. It’s not like we couldn’t have shot those scores in college. The set-ups are to score. I think the only real difference is knowing that you have to shoot 20-under to have a chance to win, but not putting pressure on yourself.”
Albertson no longer has to worry about schoolwork, yet there are new burdens. He makes his schedule, takes care of transportation and must feed and shelter himself — arrangements that were taken care of while playing for the Jackets.
He also has to pay entry fees for tournaments, generally $800-$1,000 for the SwingThought and eGolf events. As a junior, parents helped with such things.
At Mimosa Hills, Albertson stayed with former Tech teammate Bo Andrews. He tied for ninth at 13-under par 267, one shot ahead of Anders. After earning a $2,600 paycheck, Andrews – who graduated in 2014 – is 19th on the eGolf money list for the year with $22,012.50 in 10 events.
White, who graduated in ’12 — is No. 9 on the SwingThought money list with $23,606 in 10 events. Former Jackets Seth Reeves and Kyle Scott have played some this spring/summer on the SwingThought and eGolf Tours, too.
“That worked out well, sharing the hotel with Bo,” Anders said. “No matter if it’s amateur or professional, I’m there to play my best. In college, the experiences we had, the trophies, were great. I would never trade winning ACCs and sharing those moments.
“It feels different having money added but I don’t even know how much I made. At the scorer’s table, I had to give my address and banking information, fill out a W-9, and fill out direct deposit.”
These details are important, of course. The golf still matters most.
After moving matters and a little beach time, Albertson will play two SwingThought tournaments in Georgia — July 15-17 at Callaway Gardens, and July 22-24 at the Achasta Golf Club in Dahlonega. Both will be 54-hole events.
He is eying three events in August, and Qualifying School for the Web.com and PGA Tours begins in early September. It is not clear if Albertson will be exempted through the first stage based on amateur achievements.
It’s not quite all golf all the time. For now, he’s refining his decorator’s eye.
“I had an idea what [former teammate] Ollie [Schniederjans] was doing, but I didn’t watch any of the [U.S. Open],” he said. “I’m off this week, and moving into my apartment and obviously taking a few days off. I have a cheap, on-sale, style that’s somewhat contemporary.”