A morning's worth of stubble covered his face. The boy who amazed us with 175-yard drives as a 6-year-old is now a man of 23, and at this moment on Monday morning, he was 300-plus off the tee.|
There was a lot at stake as he played a U.S. Open qualifier at Davenport Country Club. He was fresh from graduation at the University of Mississippi and two weeks away from his professional golf debut on the Hooters Tour.
Billy Brozovich was born in Greenville, Miss., but Rock Island blood races through his veins. Only a smattering of onlookers were out on this gorgeous Monday, but there was a gallery -- a large gathering of friends and family from the Quad-Cities -- following one of top players from the Southeastern Conference.
He shot 75 and failed to qualify for this year's Open, but he is not discouraged. Graduation and finding sponsors to guide his professional fortunes have consumed the last two weeks of his life.
"What I did today was grind,'' said Brozovich, who was based out of Rock Island during his junior golfing days and has about 100 family members locally. "The course presented a variety of challenges, and I did my best to adjust to each of those. I had an early birdie, but a stretch of four bogeys was too much to overcome.''
Monday was more about family than it was about golf for Brozovich. His weekend here included sharing time with his grandmother, attending a law-school graduation of a cousin and catching up with cousins, aunts, uncles and friends he had not seen in months.
"I'm lucky, and I am blessed to have so many people pulling for me,'' said Brozovich, whose uncle, Jeff Tubbs, of Rock Island, was on his bag. "It just happens to be me out here today. If someone else in the family had something going on, there would be a large group watching them. It is a great support system, especially here at home with my dad's family. I'm so fortunate to come from a family that always looks out for each other.''
Now, though, the real world stands before Brozovich, a four-sport high-school star and a four-year golf starter at Ole Miss. He will get his professional start on a satellite tour, hoping someday to find a spot as a PGA Tour regular. He will return to the Quad-Cities in July to play in a John Deere Classic qualifier, but he also is hoping the local PGA Tour event will extend him a sponsor's exemption.
"I'd love a chance to play the John Deere,'' Brozovich said. "It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can recall. It'd be something special if that happened, and a great week to share with my family.''
By Brozovich family members alone, that would lead to a great week for JDC ticket sales.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or email@example.com.
Moline, IL Details
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