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Sometimes playing in a tournament can bring a unique perspective. Brent Paladino is a PGA Professional who manages a team at the USGA that coordinates approximately 700 qualifiers a year! Part of the Championship Administration team, Paladino knows what it is like to run large golf events. In speaking with him after the third round of the PGA Professional Championship one thing is certain, he’s enjoying playing on the other side.
Through the first three days, Brent was tied for 18th place and very near the cutline for the all important Team of 20. Those coveted finishing spots carry with them a ticket to the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club next month. Three hundred and twelve started the week in pursuit of those spots and after yesterday's cut, 75 remain.
This is Paladino’s sixth time playing in the PPC and his first time making it past 36 holes. He believes in the past that expectations outweighed his ability to perform. This time he took a different approach and tried to focus more on his mindset than his golf swing. In doing so, he recalled sessions spent with a sports psychologist a couple years ago. Those critical moments created a new mindset for him he’s been trying to implement over time.
Although he wasn’t sure how to really get there, this winter he experienced a major change in his life. Two months ago, the Paladino’s had a baby girl named Emma. Their new addition certainly doesn’t allow for much practice time, especially in the New Jersey winter. With about three rounds under his belt prior to arriving in Austin, Brent had to try something new in his approach.
He got plenty of practice in once he got there, but the weeks leading up to the national championship have been filled with work and parenting. Just like so many of the 312, finding the right work life balance is a key ingredient to playing your best. With the paradigm shift of having a new addition to the family, Brent has learned how to appreciate getting away from the course. He connected with some friends while in Austin and has spent the evenings with them going to tee ball games and just relaxing.
Kind of reminds him of family life at home. Through three rounds Paladino has made 11 birdies. He’s focused on the Fazio Foothills course and knows what he needs to do in order to achieve the ultimate PGA Member’s dream. He’s going to target the middle holes where the course plays its toughest. He was proud of playing those holes even par in round three.
He’s not afraid to discuss the possible outcome tomorrow, but he’s not focused on it either. He is more consumed with his daughter at home in New Jersey and what is on the agenda for tonight in Austin with his local friend’s family.
Brent Paladino is the perfect example of what a modern PGA Professional can be. A father, a golf industry leader, a friend and of course this week a player. We don’t know how Paladino will finish in the final round. Maybe he’ll make the Team of 20, maybe he won’t. Two things are for sure, he’s better prepared now than ever to handle it. The second, no matter what happens, his beautiful new daughter will be there to greet him with a special smile when he gets home.
This is just one of the super stories surrounding the PPC players this week competing for a coveted spot in the Team of 20. Make sure you continue to watch the finale on the Golf Channel (3:00 – 6:00pm EDT).