Between lessons and playing in money games, Hicks said his game is "definitely there," but he's not sure where he stands in tournament competition.
He'll soon find out at his old stomping grounds in an Open local qualifier, where bogeys can be devastating.
"I have a good course strategy for Edgewood," he said. "I'm not worried about shooting 3 or 4 under. You have three of the last holes as par 5s. I'm just planning on staying focused."
No matter how he plays, Hicks said his intention is to get more serious about tournament golf. His next return to his home state will likely be July 1 for the Greenbrier Classic Monday qualifier.
"This year, my game is sharper," Hicks said. "I've always said that after playing in the (State) Open and stuff I would get into some of these Monday qualifiers, but I never got the chance to do that.
"I worked on my swing with the Ledbetter instructors, I'm actually a lot closer to playing on that high level. As far as tournament experience, I'm lacking that a little bit."
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THE LOCAL qualifier field includes Lanto Griffin, a resident of Salem, Va., who received an exemption into the 2011 Greenbrier Classic.
After shooting a 1-over 71 in the first round, Griffin missed the cut with a 5-over 75.
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ALSO COMPETING will be Sleepy Hollow Golf Club general manager Jonathan Clark, who won the 2012 West Virginia Open at Edgewood Country Club.
Additionally, two-time Class AAA state high school medalist Thadd Obecny will be competing, as well as Marshall University's Brian Anania, a former Hurricane star, and former Capital High School and Marshall University standout Christian Brand.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.