Sony Open a family affair for PGA Professional Eric Dugas
Eric Dugas is getting another chance to play a PGA Tour event.
And this time it's turning into a family reunion for the Brewster, Mass. native and Nauset Regional High School graduate, who now lives in Hawaii.
Dugas, 34, will have his parents, plus his older brother Scott and younger brother Alex, present to watch him take on some of the best pro golfers in the world in the Sony Open beginning today in Honolulu.
Alex, who moved to Hawaii a year ago, will be caddying for him.
"Tournaments, they're spoiling," said Dugas, who played the Sony Open in 2012 and 2014, and the PGA Championship in 2008. "For me, it's an opportunity to spend time with my family. Getting everybody together is near impossible."
Dugas qualified for this year's Sony Open by shooting 3-under-par 69 in gusty conditions to win the Aloha Section Stroke Play Championship in October. That also qualified him for the PGA Professional National Championship, to be held June 17-20 in Seaside, California.
Dugas last toured on the PGA Latinoamerica Tour in 2015, with Alex occasionally caddying. He was seventh on the money list in the first half, but injured his shoulder and dropped to 28th by the tour's end, hindering his chances of progressing in tour play.
Despite his age, Dugas isn't viewing the Sony Open as a last-gasp effort to become a tour pro. He previously lived in Hawaii from 2008 to 2012, and after touring, he moved back to become a pro at Makena Golf & Beach Club on Maui. Dugas said he is "supported 100 percent" to keep pursuing touring opportunities while maintaining job security at a place where he loves interacting with the homeowners and community members.
Perhaps that's why family members have said he is less tense lately when playing.
"Events don't define me," said Dugas, who studied golf management at Methodist College in North Carolina. "There is no downside. This one doesn't define a career. If I play well, then things fall in place. It's as free as I could ever be on a golf course."
Alex refers to Eric as his "best friend" growing up so it seems only fitting that he would join Dugas on the course now that both live in Hawaii.
"We have a good track record," said Alex, a marine mechanic by trade. "There's things that a brother can say that others can't. My job is to keep that confidence rolling.
"The way he plays golf, I figured something would come up."
Alex said another one of his roles is to be the energetic one, while Eric remains centered. The best example of that, Alex said, is when Eric was well on his way to qualifying for the PGA Championship in 2008, and Eric had to stop Alex from jumping into the water out of excitement.
"He knows that something funny and crazy is coming out of my mouth," Alex said.
Don't mistake Eric's zen-like philosophy for lack of competitiveness, though, as there's still plenty of drive and confidence from the Cape native, who led Nauset to a state title back in his sophomore year at Nauset.
"I'm too competitive to go there and not care," he said. "I'm not playing there to go two rounds and not make the cut."
Eric said he is confident on the course at Waialae Country Club, only a 35-minute trip from where he lives. He said it reminds him of Donald Ross-designed courses commonly seen in New England, such as Hyannisport Club or Bass River Golf Course in Yarmouth.
"There's a comfort to it," he said. "You can't just power the course. You have to plot your way around it. If you're thinking properly and executing, you'll give yourself a chance."
Regardless of how Dugas plots his away around the rest of his career, Eric and company are most eager to celebrate their time together in Hawaii.
"I think it's straight karma," Alex said. "If he turns it into a tour run, he deserves everything he gets."
This article is written by Steve Derderian from Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.