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Kevin Schnepf, Published August 22 2013

Schnepf: Schultz hopes, like his dad, that PGA persistence pays off

Fargo - Back when an 8-year-old David Schultz was just starting to learn the game of golf, his father was a WDAY-TV sports anchor. Ed Schultz had no idea in 1991 that he would eventually end up in New York City hosting a nationally televised political talk show.

“I guess that’s the exciting thing about this business,” Ed said. “You just keep pushing, and you never know where you will end up.”

In an ironic sort of way, that’s the philosophy a

30-year-old David Schultz is living by today. For the last eight years, he’s been pushing through the smaller professional golf tours still with the hopes of making the PGA Tour.

The dream is still alive, as he prepares to play in this weekend’s North Dakota Bobcat Open at the Fargo Country Club.

“I’m still doing this because I want to be on the PGA Tour,” David said. “I believe in what I’m doing. That’s huge. It’s just a matter of putting your head down and sticking with it. Lord willing, it will pay off.”

It nearly paid off in 2009 when, with only three

weeks left of the Nationwide Tour (now the Web.com Tour), Schultz was ranked in the top 25 – the magic number to earn a card for the PGA Tour. He ended up 34th.

After losing his Nationwide status in 2010, Schultz readily admits 2011 and 2012 were lean years.

He didn’t play well, prompting him to take a break from golf last November and December.

Since then, you could say Schultz has found his happy place. He moved from Fort Worth, Texas back to Fargo last April.

While competing on the Dakotas Tour for most of the summer, he has also made it a weekly habit to have a fun round of golf with his buddies at nearby Maple River Golf Course.

“It is such a blast,” he said. “The good thing about being back home regardless of where golf takes me, I know this is home and where I want to be the rest of my life. That’s helped my outlook on golf.

“I’m approaching the game from a much better place. I’m putting less pressure on myself. The work ethic is still there and I’m fighting like heck, but I’m having a lot of fun doing it.”

John Dahl, the golf professional at Oxbow Country Club, has helped Schultz with his swing. Larry Murphy, the professional at Moorhead Country Club, agrees with Dahl that he just hasn’t played well at the right time.

“His attitude is as good as I’ve ever seen,” Murphy said. “He has always been able to turn negative things into solid positive things. Now, he has just restarted that attitude at a much higher pace.”

Schultz started the Dakotas Tour back in late June on the right foot, finishing tied for second at the South Dakota Open. Since then, his highest finish has been 16th. He currently sits in 37th place among the money leaders and ranks tied for 49th with a 71.08 scoring average.

Schultz is hoping to tap into the magic that helped him win the 2006 Bobcat Open. That’s when he rolled in a 20-foot putt to save par, avoid a playoff and earn a $12,000 winner’s check.

“There’s been a lot of good memories on this course,” said Schultz, who grew up a stone’s throw from the Fargo Country Club. As a kid, he spent most of his summer days on the club’s par-3 course.

“He just became a little course rat,” Ed Schultz said of his son, who also played football and baseball at Fargo South. “He kept playing and playing and playing.”

And he will continue playing once the Dakotas Tour ends next week. He plans to play in a couple mini-tour tournaments in North Carolina in early October before competing in the first stage of PGA qualifying school in Florence, S.C.

If he survives all three stages, he would qualify for the Web.com Tour. A top-25 finish there – as Schultz is well aware – would put him on the PGA Tour.

“This is what I’m passionate about,” said Schultz, who remains single. “I absolutely love playing golf.”

As much as his dad loves playing the role as a liberal political commentator on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” The recent news that his show will move from weekend and will kickoff MSNBC’s prime-time lineup Monday through Friday was one more thing that made David happy.

“He won’t be working seven days a week and won’t be eating dinner at 10 o’clock at night anymore,” said David, who added the only golf advice his dad has offered is: 500 putts a day. “I believe we are cut from the same mold.”

Ed agrees.

“From the mental approach of any challenge, we are both very similar,” Ed said. “You just can’t give up and you have to stay focused. David has never put an age or a year on when he may give up golf. He just told me: ‘Dad, I’ve got to keep pushing.’ ”

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

or kschnepf@forumcomm.com