Jonathan Bartlett went from being the first West Virginia Amateur champion to earn an exemption to the Greenbrier Classic to a traveling man.
The 36-year-old left behind his life as a real estate executive and hit the road with his wife Janell, and sons Mason, 6, and Preston, 4, logging close to 28,000 miles the past year while navigating the country in search of the ultimate prize - a PGA Tour card.
"It's been a blast," he said. "Janell is home-schooling the boys, we did a lot of research on that, and it's really been fun."
He arrived in Daniels earlier this week to join 110 other golfers at today's Greenbrier Classic Pre-Qualifier on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
Just the 50 low scores and ties will advance to the Monday Open Qualifier, where only four golfers will earn a spot in the Classic July 4-7 at the Greenbrier's Old White TPC.
"That's kind of my major as far as tournaments go," said Bartlett, who won the 2010 State Amateur and made the cut at the inaugural Classic. "With the connection I have with the resort and the friends I have in the area."
Bartlett was a real estate executive with the Sporting Club when he pulled past three-time Amateur champion Tim Fisher to claim the coveted exemption three years ago.
He is one of two former Amateur champions to sign up for today's event. Former Capital High School and Marshall University golfer Christian Brand, who won the 2011 Amateur, will also seek a spot on Monday's qualifier.
Among the players participating today are Parkersburg's Alan Cooke, Pineville's Evan Muscari, Triadelphia Golf Club pro Ken Lacy, Marshall University's Davey Jude, Concord assistant golf coach Darcy Donaldson, former Fairmont State standout Justin Caroli, seven-time West Virginia Open champion David Bradshaw, Parkersburg's Kenneth Hess and five-time Open titlist Brad Westfall.
Donaldson shot a 67 to share medal honors with Virginia's Trent Sullivan in the 2011 pre-qualifier.
This year it gets a bit tougher with 111 players signed up and only 50 spots available. The pre-qualifier has grown considerably since the first year when only 37 players participated and 28 advanced.
In 2011, 47 of the 57 entrants moved to Monday and last year 52 of 78 participants earned spots.
That doesn't Bartlett, who boasts a solid short game and is well above average tee to green.
And, it has gotten better through Monday qualifiers this year for the Web.com and PGA tours. He also has played the South Carolina-based NGA Tour, making five cuts in eight events.
He got through the first stage of 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School - getting through the second assures Web.com Tour status - but he "didn't hit the ball well and putted worse.
"When I didn't get through the second stage, it took me almost two months to shake it off," said Bartlett, a three-time All-State player in Ocala, Fla. "That shouldn't be the case. There are thousands of guys who haven't gotten past second stage. You have six days where you play solid golf after the second stage and you're on the PGA Tour."
Bartlett continues to chug along, giving the University of Mississippi alumnus and 2000 All-American a better appreciation for what the professionals endure daily.
With that appreciation comes confidence, and he's not concerned about making it through today - although 61 of the 111 golfers won't return on Monday.
At 36 years old, Bartlett has plenty of time to perfect his game and win a tournament that would give him status. The old 2013 PGA Tour rookie is 39-year-old David Lynn.
The rigors haven't caught up to him yet, although he understands.
"It's a different animal, there's no doubt about it," Bartlett said. "The golf ball doesn't know who you are and doesn't care. Golf is a great game, but when you decide to do it for a living, it'll beat you up."
Finally, Bartlett's goal is to make the Tour, but, at the very least, not regret if he didn't try.
He had two friends - high school classmate Josh Moody and college classmate Mitchell Crawford - who died in the last six years, influencing his decision to give it a shot.
"I didn't want to regret giving it a chance," he said. "When you see guys your age that young passing away, you don't want to regret anything. I want to give it one more chance."
The lowest 50 scores and ties from
today's pre-qualifier at The Resort at Glade Springs' Cobb Course
in Daniels will advance to Monday's Open Qualifier at Glade.
Here are the tee times for today's pre-qualifier:
Par 71 - 7121 yards
7:30 a.m. Matt McNutt, Jamie Hall, Alan Cooke
7:39 a.m. Randolph Schafer, Crawford Reeves, Evan Muscari
7:48 a.m. Ryan Clark, Josh Leibfreid, Brian Hart