Adams Brothers Head West For Second Stage Of Q-School
Nov. 16, 2006
By Lauren Deason
Brothers Frank Adams III and Russ Adams were California-bound, heading out to Beaumont late Sunday night for the second stage of the PGA TOUR National Qualifying Tournament. A pre-West Coast stop brought the guys some valuable help, though in an unlikely place -- a wedding held in a small North Carolina town.
You see, Frank's trying to make it onto the PGA TOUR, with some help on the bag from his younger brother, Russ, who has played two seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays. While Russ may be a wiz at baseball, he's still got some things to learn as a caddie.
So Frank and Russ got in touch with two of their most in-the-know friends, PGA TOUR golfer Will MacKenzie, winner of the 2006 Reno-Tahoe Open, and Kevin Miller, who caddied twice for MacKenzie at Oak Valley Golf Club, where Frank will play the second stage of Q-school.
Frank has never played the southern California course before, so MacKenzie, a Greenville, N.C., native, gave him a rundown and sent his Oak Valley yardage book overnight to Miller. Three exchanges of hands later, the book is in the possession of Adams brothers, who grew up in Laurinburg, N.C., and will no doubt value the help during the grueling week ahead.
"(Will's) caddie was actually Frank's roommate (at East Carolina University) and a good friend of both of ours," Russ said. "I had to go to a wedding this weekend in Greenville and he handed them off to me. He caddied on TOUR for Will and he is probably a little ahead of me in the caddie ranks and gave me the book he had written all the notes in.
"I told Frank he probably doesn't need me this week. He has everything he needs."
Notes and yardage and knowledge of the course are great, but Russ does provide something priceless by looping for Frank: a familiarity that only comes from a brotherly bond.
"We've gotten really comfortable with each other. We've played a lot of golf, as much as he could probably play in the off-season," Frank said. "We've spent a lot of time together. It's nice to have someone you are comfortable with on the bag."
Russ was also able to calm Frank down during the intimidating first stage of Q-school, where a few errant shots could mean the difference between advancing forward or heading back to mini-tours like the Tarheel Tour where Frank has played for the past four years.
"I tell you, I missed a really short putt on the final day kind of early in the round and I was trying not to let it bother me, trying to focus on the next shot and he made sure I did really quick," Frank said. "That was important."
In that first stage in Florence, S.C., Frank ended up shooting 2-over par for four rounds, enough to place him in a tie for 21st and well within the 27 players and ties who advanced. To Russ, that was a good first showing for Frank. "As long as you get through, it's one of those things, it doesn't really matter where you finish, as long as you make it through and have a chance at the next one," he said.
Frank would like to do better this week because he has not made it past the second round in previous years. He's hoping experience will play a big part in his chance to advance. "This is my third year of Q-school and last year and this year I made it to the second round. I definitely say you feel a little more confident and comfortable having been there before," said the TOUR hopeful.
In the end, though, it's not friends, yardage books, brothers, prior experience or confidence that will move him into the next and final stage, where the worst he could do would be to earn conditional Nationwide Tour status for 2007. Frank knows he has to play fundamentally-sound golf, as he has so many times in the past, and not let the pressure affect his game.
"I'm focusing on the basics and not trying to do anything special. Keep the ball in front of me, hit it where I can find it, try to get it in the hole. It doesn't really matter what it looks like, I just try to get it in the hole," he said.