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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 14 2013

Fargo golfer Persons confident in his game again after first PGA event

FARGO – It was sometime during the summer when Josh Persons wondered how much longer golf would be in his professional future. The inconsistent tournaments were taking their toll and already past his mid-20s, something else might be in the cards.

Then something else happened: He started playing well.

A nice fall run that included some high mini-tour finishes didn’t stop with the holidays. The Fargo North graduate qualified for his first PGA Tour event last week when he got through the Monday qualifier for the Sony Open in Honolulu.

“If you asked me about golf last summer, I didn’t know where I would be at this time,” Persons said. “I could have just as easily been out there looking for jobs.”

Persons was briefly tied for the lead after his first nine holes, carding a

2-under 33. He ended 71-71 and missed the cut by four shots.

Still, it was a confidence builder.

“It sure was,” he said. “It just shows that when you play well, you can play well at any level.”

He got through the first stage of PGA Qualifying School, but was eliminated from the second stage despite shooting 5-under. Less than a month earlier, he was among the leaders in a Web.com Tour (formerly Nationwide Tour) event in Florida and made the cut in two straight tournaments.

In October, he and Fargo South graduate Tom Hoge were tied for the lead heading into the final round in the Web.com’s tourney in Maryland before both finished in a tie for eighth.

Hoge, by the way, caddied for Persons in the Sony Open after Hoge did not make it through the Monday qualifier.

Persons finished 130th in the Web.com money list at $28,755. It wasn’t enough to get him any kind of automatic status this year.

That tour doesn’t get going in the United States in full force until April, so Persons will be doing the Monday qualifier route for the PGA tourneys starting Jan. 28 with the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“I think I’m getting more consistent,” Persons said. “Instead of doing well in two of four rounds, I’m trying to get to four of four.”

Now 28 years old, he’s hoping a solid start to this season will lead to bigger things.

“I’ve been driving it well – hitting it straight and hard,” he said. “The putting needs to get a little better.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia