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A Cinderella Story at Quail Hollow

by Jeff Skinner

The story of Bryan Bigley may not end as “a Cinderella story” but it certainly began as one.  Bigley is playing in The Wells Fargo Championship as a Monday Qualifier and enjoying every minute of it.  You see Bigley isn’t a Nationwide Tour golfer or a rookie on the PGA Tour, he is a passionate golfer that is mowing grass at a neighboring course to support his dream of playing professional golf.

Bigley, 26, grew up near Albany, New York, hardly a hot bed of pro golfers, but developed a passion for golf and even played in college at Siena, a small Albany College.  After graduating he decided that he wanted to pursue his dream of professional golf.  A move to North Carolina would give him more playing opportunities on the mini tours in the area.  All he needed was money.

Financing a professional golf career isn’t an easy task, even a mini tour career.  So Bigley did what any passionate golfer would do: he got a job at a golf course. He works each morning mowing the course at Raintree Country Club in Charlotte then works on his game and plays in the mini tour events when he can afford to.

He took a chance and entered the Monday Qualifier for Quail Hollow and after a two hole playoff he made the field with the big boys.  Talk about living the dream.

He shot a nervous six over 78 in the first round and is T142 but he’s loving every minute of it.  “I said, ‘Hi,’ to Jim Furyk and Stewart Cink on the putting green.  They were probably asking, ‘Who’s this guy over here?’ If I didn’t have golf shoes and pants on, they’d probably think I was just out here working.”

There are a lot of guys who play the mini-tours for years who never get a chance to get inside the ropes in a PGA event, let alone an event like this one at a course like this,” Bigley said.

Bigley may have been a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of playing with the PGA boys on such a tough track.  One hole, I don’t even remember the number, I hit 5-wood in and I get up there and I had no chance of making a four. It’s just tough,” he said. “But I don’t think I’m out of it. I’m down there a ways but if I have a good round (Friday) I can hopefully get somewhere around even, 1- or 2-over and make the cut.”

“Being inside the ropes and have people cheer for you and clap and say, ‘Come on, let’s go!’ is really cool,” Bigley said. “For the last three years, this was the goal, to get to the PGA Tour.

“Now I’ve got a taste of it, I want to be back.”

Its stories like Bryan Bigley that show the passion many have for this game.  Whether he makes the cut or not, it’s still a memorable week for him.  It’s a great story, a Cinderella Story and you just got to love it.

Click here for Tom Sorensen’s story on Bryan Bigley.

Click here for the AP story on Bryan Bigley.

 

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