FORT WORTH, Texas – Jamie Sadlowski’s first tee shot in his first round of his first PGA TOUR start travelled 365 yards.
Nobody was surprised.
The two-time winner of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship is expected to hit it far. But the Canadian native is determined to prove he’s more than just a bomber. That he can use all 14 clubs in his bag and can manage his way around the golf course – and not just impress fans at the range.
“I look at this as I’m trying to start a new career and I’m working hard at it,” Sadlowski said after his 3-over 73 left him tied for 75th after Thursday’s first round of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational. “At the end of the day, I want to prove myself I can play out here.”
It was roughly a year ago that Sadlowski decided to retire from his career as a long drive champion – he had performed in approximately 600 exhibitions and show – to pursue his dream as a pro golfer.
He’s played a handful of Web.com Tour and Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada events, as well as some overseas events in Australia. But Thursday was the first time he had teed it up in a PGA TOUR event. It was just his 51st competitive round as a pro.
Sadlowski is in the field as one of Colonial’s Champions Choices, in which all the tournaments’ living champions choose two promising newcomers. That’s how Jason Day in 2008 and Jordan Spieth in 2013 made the field.
The phone call came about two weeks ago and Sadlowski obviously was thrilled to receive the opportunity. Yet it’s ironic that his TOUR debut comes on a course that sometimes gets accused (perhaps unfairly) of taking driver out of a player’s hands. The old-school, tight course is a shot-maker’s dream, hardly a bomber’s paradise.
It’s nothing new, though, for Sadlowski. He has played at the Web.com Tour event in Boise, Idaho, and said that Hillcrest Country Club is even tighter than Colonial. He said another Web.com Tour event in Bogota, Colombia, also is…