An hour-long flurry of post-tournament activities came and went, and Lakewood’s Michael Putnam still had the clear state of mind to mention one of the cool things to happen Sunday.
“Seahawks won,” he said with a hint of disbelief and excitement.
And so did Putnam – finally.
Anybody who’s ever met, or been around the 27-year-old, who prepped at Life Christian Academy, and played his college golf at Pepperdine, you certainly walk away impressed how real a person he is.
In other words, time to root – root for him.
Putnam grabbed his first professional victory in 98 starts on the Nationwide Tour at the Utah Championship in Sandy, Utah.
Five front-nine birdies spearheaded his charge from behind. He closed with a 4-under-par 67 to win by three strokes. He winning total was 18-under 266, and he collected a winning check of $99,000.
Equally the story is the favor Putnam made for his future: He earned enough money Sunday to clinch a spot in the top 25 of the Nationwide Tour money list, and earn his PGA Tour card for 2011.
It all came at an opportune time. Putnam and his wife, Kristina, are expecting their first child to be born next month – a son.
“Realizing that we’re going to have a kid, my life is gong to change in six or seven weeks,” Putnam said. “Expenses are going to go up. I can’t believe what (baby) formula costs.”
Putnam acknowledges the journey was, at times, trying. He made it to the PGA Tour in 2007, only to lose his card – and a bit of the confidence in the game.
First, it was his swing. Then, it was his putting.
Much of the time, he’s tried finding the answers on his own. As for the flatstick woes, he said he got a couple of key “grip” tips from Olympia golfer Andres Gonzales a couple months ago at the Fort Smith tournament.
Putnam has adopted what he’s calling the “Gonzo Grip.” And it worked well this week – his 26.5 putts per round led the field.
When he tapped in for par on the 18th green for the win – his first since his senior season in college, he realized all the support he’s gotten the past half-decade – from his family, friends and supporters in Tacoma and back home at Fircrest Golf Club.
“They kept pushing me along,” Putnam said, “and I found a little something this year.”