Charlotte, NC – Through six holes in the final round of the eGolf Tour’s Mimosa Hills Open, it looked as though one of the more impressive streaks in recent memory might come to an end. Leading money winner Seamus Power of Waterford, Ireland, who entered the June week with seven top-6 finishes in seven starts on the year, was at 10-under par, and nowhere near the first page of the leaderboard, writes Stewart Moore.
But then, as he had done many times before, the former East Tennessee State star hit the proverbial gas, playing his next 12 holes in a staggering 7-under par to close with a final-round 62 and a T5 finish. Streak intact, Power headed back to his adopted hometown of Charlotte, NC with yet another solid effort in what has been nothing short of a dominant 2014 season.
Through three seasons on the eGolf Tour, Power had established himself as one of the better players in developmental tour golf, winning twice and collecting a total of nine top-5 finishes along the way.
But in 2014, Power’s game hit a new level of stardom. He became the guy other players would ask about at the scoring table.
“What did Seamus fire today?”
“I saw where Seamus turned in 30. How good is that guy playing?”
The affable Irishman opened his campaign with a pair of back-to-back top-5 finishes at the Palmetto Hall Championship and the Championship at Callawassie Island before adding career win No. 3 with a four-shot victory at the Cowans Ford Open in March.
Power’s torrid start continued through April and May, where three straight top-6 finishes – including a runner-up at the Columbia Open – further cemented his spot atop the tour’s money list. He tacked on a pair of top-5s over the past two weeks, notching a T4 at the Forest Oaks Classic and the aforementioned T5 at Mimosa Hills just nine days ago.
With $46,664 in earnings, sitting over $16,000 clear of No. 2 on the money list, it can be argued that Power may in fact be the best player in mini-tour golf over the first six months of the year.
“It’s definitely the most consistent I’ve ever played. I’ve played well in the past, but not for this extended period of time,” said Power in an interview last week. “I’ve been working the last couple of years on consistency and being able to have a good week when you’re not playing your best, so that has been paying off.”
If Power has been off at all in 2014, he has hidden it well. In 28 rounds carded on the year, he has posted 25 below par, and has recorded 15 straight rounds in the 60s dating back to the opening round in Columbia in early May.
“My dad actually pointed that out to me last week. I didn’t realise it before then, because you’re just trying to play golf and catch the guy in front of you,” said Power of his current streak. “You don’t really think about what you’re shooting, so that’s how I’ve been able to keep it going the last few weeks. You see guys on the PGA TOUR with scoring averages in the 60s, so that’s something I’d really like to try and do.”
While his 2014 season has been nothing short of dominant, it hasn’t all been roses for the 27-year-old. Twice he has threatened victory and closed with an over-par round. Common occurrence for some – more the exception for Seamus Power.
At Palmetto Hall, he opened with rounds of 68-69—137 (7-under) in the rain-shortened event to sit three shots back of leader Travis Ross entering the final round. In the mix at even par through 11 holes during a trying closing day on Palmetto Hall’s daunting Cupp Course, Power came unraveled with a bogey at the 12th and a quadruple-bogey at the 13th to fall out of contention, eventually finishing five shots out of a playoff won by Ethan Tracy.
At St. James, Power was nearly deemed the victor at the event’s halfway point, opening with rounds of 71-64—135 (9-under) to seize a four-shot lead over roommate Matthew Ryan, but more impressively, an eight-shot lead over a trio of players tied for fourth.
In the third round, Power had to play his final five holes in 1-under par to gut out a 4-over 76, staying atop the leaderboard with a one-shot lead with 18 holes to go. But in Saturday’s final round, the wheels again came off with a pair of double-bogeys on the back nine giving way to a second straight 76 and a T6 finish – the worst of his season.
“St. James was tough. At Palmetto Hall, I was trying to catch the leader, but had one bad hole in the final round,” said an open Power when asked which finish stung the most. “At St. James, I was leading by four after two days, and then had two bad days in a row, which is never what you’re looking for, especially after playing so well in the second round. That’s definitely the biggest disappointment this year.”
Power’s 15-round streak in the 60s began in his next eGolf Tour round after the closing 76, proving without doubt that his dip into the pool of mediocrity was only a brief one.
Ever the grinder, Power is aware of his streak, but not wrapped up in it. At Mimosa Hills, he overcame a balky week-long putter in the final round to keep the top-6 finishes rolling, but played it off as just another tournament when asked if the streak entered his mind at all on Saturday afternoon.
“Not really, it was just one of those weeks where the putts weren’t quite going in, so I just stayed as patient as possible and knew they’d start dropping at some point,” said Power, who opened with rounds of 68-66-67 on the par-70 venue. “And then they did, so that kind of picked me up a little bit in the final round. You just try to keep making birdies to see what’s going to happen, but it’s not something you really think about during the round.”
In 2012, Power burst onto the eGolf Tour scene with two wins in his first 10 starts of the year – a “Hello World” moment that left him at No. 7 on the tour’s season-ending money list, and parlayed itself into a stout 2013 campaign that saw him notch three runner-ups and 15 top-25 finishes.
If Power’s breakthrough 2012 season had a blemish, it was the up-and-down nature of eight missed cuts in 18 starts, including five in his first 10 starts – a stretch of golf which produced the two wins.
So which is preferred – the video-game like consistency of 2014 which has delivered one win? Or the roller-coaster ride of 2012 which produced two?
“I’ve always enjoyed winning. The ideal situation is to play well regularly, be in contention and give yourself a chance, but the main goal is to win,” he said. “On every level a win can mean so much; it can be life-changing. You know that when you play your best, no one is going to be able to beat you. That’s always a nice feeling to have.”
But like countless players before him, Power is well aware the season boils down to the fall months, where the masses cough up $4,500 for the right to venture out onto golf’s cruelest stage, best known as Q-School.
While it can be argued that players of Power’s ilk should get a pass into the latter stages of the Web.com Tour’s Qualifying Tournament, the reality is that no matter how well he plays during the spring and summer months, the belly of the beast lies in the possibility of three good weeks from October through December.
Should he keep his current pace as is, few would be surprised to see the kid from West Waterford Golf & Country Club ascend to the PGA TOUR’s developmental circuit in 2015. Least of all being Power himself.
“The thing is, you can play as well as you want, but you really have to play well around Q-School. That’s been my goal all along – to play well at the right time,” he said. “I’ve got a plan in place, and I’m going to continue to work hard on that plan. You just have to try your best, but I fully intend on playing well that time of year, and I’m looking forward to it.”
About eGolf Professional Tour
The eGolf Professional Tour is a Charlotte, NC-based professional golf tour that has conducted 54- and 72-hole tournaments in the Southeast since its inception in 2002. The tour features approximately 20-24 professional tournaments annually in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Since the 2009 season, the eGolf Tour has paid out over $14 million in prize money. In March of 2011, the tour conducted two events in Morocco, in turn becoming the first United States-based tour to conduct multiple tournaments on the continent of Africa. eGolf is the parent tour to both eGolf Tour Florida and eGolf Tour West, and created the Million Dollar Championship Series – a four-event series in 2014 with $1,000,000 in guaranteed prize money. In its 10-year history, the tour has seen the likes of Billy Horschel, Chesson Hadley, Tommy Gainey, Scott Brown, Roberto Castro, Tom Gillis, Jason Kokrak, Brian Harman, Will MacKenzie, Jason Bohn, Steve Marino, Matt Bettencourt, William McGirt and others ascend to the PGA TOUR, while over 150 past eGolf Professional Tour players have gone on to play on the Web.com Tour.