Guthrie relishes feeling of being home

Quincy native Luke Guthrie, far right, is all smiles while playing with Joel Dahmen, left, and Troy Merritt, center, during the WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am at Westview golf course on Monday, May. 28, 2018. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 28, 2018 10:10 pm Updated: May. 29, 2018 7:57 am

QUINCY -- The closer Luke Guthrie and his wife, Kaitlyn, got to Quincy, the more it began to look like home.

After finishing the rain-delayed second round of the Tour's Nashville Open on Saturday, the Guthries headed north to spend the weekend in Quincy and participate in the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig Pro-Am.

"We got onto (U.S.) 61 North, and you're just seeing Midwest," said Guthrie, the Quincy native now in his seventh season playing professionally. "Midwest skies, the sunsets, the open fields. It will always feel like home. Jacksonville (Fla.) is our home and where we're putting our roots down, but there's something about the Midwest.

"It's the people. It's Quincy for me and Illinois in general that will always just be home."

Westview Golf Course is home, too.

Quincy's lone 18-hole public course was the site of this year's Pro-Am, and it's where Guthrie grew up as a golfer. Until he graduated from college and moved away, it was his home course.

All those memories came flooding back Monday as he played the course with the foursome of Casey Hill, Tim Schrage, Brad Niemann and Doug Niemann. He saw young kids running around asking for autographs and rolling balls across the putting green.

"I've played so many rounds on this golf course," said Guthrie, who won the Quincy Men's City Golf Championship at Westview in 2006 and was the individual medalist when the Western Big Six Conference boys golf tournament was played here in 2006. "So many nachos eaten up there, poker rooms, Egyptian rummy, putting contests. There's memories everywhere."

It had been nearly two years since Guthrie made it home with the opportunity to play the course.

He loved seeing it in top-notch condition.

"The greens were rolling good," Guthrie said. "It looks great."

Despite temperatures reaching as high as 97 degrees on a sunny, blue-skied afternoon, the course stayed soft and plush thanks to the work of superintendent Rick Miles and his crew. It allowed the golfers to challenge the pin placements and pile up birdies.

"They just kept rolling in," Guthrie said.

That might be what he needed to see.

Guthrie has made the cut in just two of his last five events and is 70th on the Tour money list with $34,317. The top 25 on the money list at the end of the season earn their PGA Tour card for 2019, and there's plenty of time to make a climb.

With the Midwest swing coming up -- six tournaments are in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska in the next two months -- Guthrie should feel right at home.

"I've had an OK start," said Guthrie, who has three top-25 finishes in the six cuts he's made. "I've made the most out of how I've been playing. I'm putting very well. My wedges and scoring clubs are my strength. I have to get more consistent with my ball-striking. I have to find a way to put the ball in the hole.

"That's obviously the goal, and it's been a little bit of a struggle. It's beyond frustrating, and I'm not the most patient person."

Yet, he patiently tells himself to trust his game, and good things will happen.

"I have no doubt in that," Guthrie said.

A history of playing well on both the PGA Tour and the Tour gives him hope.

"I've proven myself already," Guthrie said. "I just have to go do it."

All it takes is one critical round or weekend. Heck, it might take just one swing.

"I'm just looking for anything to build on," Guthrie said. "The video shows it's been getting better. I need to have that one 'a ha' moment. I remember having it between my sophomore and junior year of college, and I went on to win seven times in my junior and senior years.

"I just need that aha moment and I'll be running."

That moment might have been Monday.

How he plays in the Rex Hospital Open at TPC Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, N.C., this week could reveal that.

"It's going to be a challenge for me because there's some tough tee shots I look forward to hitting," Guthrie said. "Honestly, the driving has been the issue. I hit some weird drives early today and started kind of doing something a little different and hit a lot of quality shots coming in."

That's what coming home can do.

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