Trying to make it as a pro
Wednesday was a great day on two golf courses for golf pro and Sanford native Chip Lynn.
Lynn shot a seven-under-par 65 in the first round of the eGolf Professional Tour's Willow Creek Open in High Point. Later in the afternoon after a drive down to Sanford, Lynn was at Carolina Trace Country Club as the club made a sponsorship agreement with the 25-year-old touring pro official.
Lynn is in his fifth year as a professional and is currently playing on the eGolf and National Golf Association tours. Next week, he's planning on making his debut on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica NEC Series in a tournament in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Wednesday-Saturday.
Before going wherever it takes to climb the ladder to the PGA Tour, Lynn spent lots of time at Carolina Trace as a youngster, said Carolina Trace Head Golf Professional Mike Krick during a gathering of a couple dozen club officials and members outside the clubhouse on Wednesday.
"This is an exciting venture for our club," said Dick Brown, club president. "We look forward to supporting and watching Chip progress in his professional career. We believe this is an opportunity to show support for a member of our community and provide a 'home base' for Chip where he can practice and improve his game."
"It caught me by surprise," said Lynn about getting a phone call out of the blue about Carolina Trace's offer.
"It means a lot that my name came up. When you're out there trying to do this, every helping hand is so big," he said.
Lynn played at Western Harnett and Overhills high schools. At Overhills, Lynn was the first athlete to qualify for a NCHSAA state tournament at any sport and he had the lowest scoring average in the Cape Fear Valley Conference as a senior.
He continued on collegiately at Fayetteville State University where he won six tournaments, finished runner-up in eight events and competed in an NCAA National Championship.
2012 was Lynn's best year as a pro. He won the NGA Tour's Winter Series Crow Creek Classic for his first tour title.
On the eGolf Tour, which is a mini-tour based in Charlotte and has a schedule of 24 tournaments all within relatively close driving distance of Charlotte, Lynn had three top-five finishes last season.
This season through nine tournaments on the eGolf Tour, Lynn is 10th on the tour money list with a third-place finish at the Irish Creek Classic as his best week.
Continued events on the NGA Tour, formerly the Hooters Tour, and hopeful shots on the PGA's Latin American and Canadian tours, along with trying at some Monday qualifiers for Web.com and PGA tournaments, are all on Lynn's schedule.
"Obviously Chip's always been a good player," Krick said. "He's also an outstanding young gentleman.
"He's a great player who has the discipline. He works hard at it and he knows what he wants to do and where he wants to go with his game," said Krick, who has previous experience as a head pro at a club, Ford's Colony in Williamsburg, Va., with a touring pro, Fuzzy Zoeller.
The opening round of three at the Willow Creek Open, being played at High Point Country Club, was a step in the right direction. After a bogey on his first hole, Lynn made nine birdies before another bogey on No. 18, including six straight circles on the back nine. Lynn was in sole possession of second place, one shot behind Jonathan Fricke's 64, entering Thursday's round.
The first round in High Point came after a tune-up round, and a six-under round for Lynn, Tuesday on Carolina Trace's Lake Course.
The sponsorship includes Lynn being back in Sanford for some of Carolina Trace's tournaments and special events. It'll be a few more dates added on his calendar, but part of an expected win-win opportunity for Lynn and the country club, on his path up the golf tour world.