McLachlin: Ready To Win On Tou

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - June 06, 2007
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It wasn’t too many years ago that a young Parker McLachlin couldn’t wait to get over to the par-three golf course in Hawaii Kai. Later, as a teenager, he managed to land a job at Waialae Country Club so he could get in a few rounds at the storied golf course.

Now, at age 28, McLachlin makes his living on the golf course. And what a living it is!

As a rookie on the prestigious PGA Tour, McLachlin is already making a name for himself. A couple of weeks ago, he finished in a tie for 16th place after fashioning a brilliant round of 66 on the final day and won $81,000 dollars in the process, his best showing ever as a professional.

This week, McLachlin is in Memphis, Tenn., for the Stanford St. Jude Championship.

“It’s been a dream come true,” he says on a brief stopover in Hawaii to attend his brother Spencer’s graduation from Punahou and his Dad Chris’ retirement party. (Parker and wife Kristy make their home in Scottsdale, Ariz.)

“Playing on the Nationwide Tour last year and then getting my card through Q-School after just missing the year before, it’s been quite a year. I’m only midway through my first year, but I’m already building a new dream.”

McLachlin finished 29th on the Nationwide money list last year. The Nationwide Tour is like a AAA minor league of professional golf, the place where young pros try to make a name for themselves. The former Punahou all-state golfer and allstate volleyball player and two-time all-Pac 10 golfer at UCLA patiently waited for his big break.

“You must maintain your confidence level,” he says. “You have to surround yourself with the right people. But it starts from within, believing in yourself.”

McLachlin still believed two years ago when he missed the cut to make the jump to the PGA Tour by just one shot. He finally made it to the big dance at the end of last year. Then he started his 2007 rookie season with a big bang.

After missing the cut by just one stroke at the Sony Open, McLachlin got rolling at the Buick Open in San Diego in January. A hole-in-one changed everything.

“I was playing real good, but it wasn’t quite coming together,” he recalls. “I was at my 12th hole on the first day, standing at 1-over. It was at (the par-three) hole No. 3 when I hit it right at the stick. I couldn’t really see it, but when I heard a bunch of my family and friends going crazy, I knew it went in. That single moment really jump-started my year.”

McLachlin finished the tournament at five-under par, good for 23rd place and a check for more than $42,000. He followed that performance with a 23rd place finish at the FBR Open in Phoenix, a tournament where he played his best single round of the year.

“It was the coolest thing,” he says. “Living there, and getting a sponsor’s exemption, and then to shoot a 65 on the final day to finish (9-under par), it meant everything.”

McLachlin has also earned an 18th-place finish in Cancun, 49th in Houston, 34th in Charlotte, and 72nd at the Byron Nelson Classic outside Dallas. If he keeps up this pace, he’s almost assured of making the necessary cutoff to keep his PGA card.

“I feel I can compete and win on the PGA Tour. I wasn’t ready a few years ago as a pro, but now I am. My ultimate goal right now is to win a golf tournament,” he says, confidently. “I’m here to win, not just finish in the top 20. At this level, it’s the little mistakes that hurt you. You have to be ready for every shot.”

Where do you see yourself in five years? I ask him.

“Hopefully, as good as Tiger Woods,” he says with a smile. “Not as hounded as he is - what Tiger goes through with the media and fans, I wouldn’t want that - but to play at that level. I’m not doing it for the fame; I’m doing it for perfecting my game.”

Recently on his return trip home, McLachlin says he walked into a local golf shop and nobody recognized him. “I like that. I like being me,” he says.

The way he’s playing right now on the PGA Tour, that’s bound to change -for the better! Parker McLachlin is on the cusp of realizing greatness. All of us in Hawaii will be watching.

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