Competing on the Canadian Professional Golf Tour wasn’t something that Ryan Plitz spent a lot of time thinking about.
In fact the 25-year-old from Innisfail never even thought about qualifying for the pro tour until a sponsor in Litchfield Park, Ariz., suggested it.
“A couple of weeks before (the tour’s spring qualifying tournament in San Diego) he said I should give it a try,” said Plitz, who is living in the Phoenix area and playing on the Gateway Tour.
“I was playing pretty good at the time so I figured it wouldn’t hurt.”
It turned out to be the right decision.
Plitz shot rounds of 70-77-73-72 for a 292 total, which left him in a seventh place tie and earned him full exemption on the Canadian Tour.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’m so excited as it’s not a mini-tour (like the Gateway), but actually a full professional tour.”
Plitz went into the qualifying school in San Diego without high expectations.
“I didn’t go in expecting that much and that helped me relax and just play my game,” he said.
Plitz will finish the spring portion of the Gateway Tour, then join the Canadian Tour on June 1 at the Times Colonist Open in Victoria.
The Canadian Tour will make two stops in Alberta — the ATB Financial Classic at the Sirocco Golf Club in Calgary, June 22-28, and the Telus Edmonton Open at the Glendale Golf and Country Club, June 29-July 5.
Plitz was born in La Pas, Man., but with his father, Ed, in the RCMP the family moved around Western Canada before settling in Innisfail in the late 1990s.
“My dad got me into golf and I started getting serious about the game and playing some tournaments when we were in High Level,” Plitz explained. “I learned the game by myself, in fact I never had a lesson until last year, but growing up I did play every day.”
Plitz learned a lot about the game while playing at the Innisfail Golf and Country Club and on the McLennan Ross/Sun Junior Golf Tour. That was fine for the summer months, but he wanted to play year round.
“I didn’t have a scholarship or anything, so I picked a college in the Phoenix area where I could play on their golf team.”
He attended Glendale College, playing with the golf team for two years.
The second year he helped lead the team to the national junior college championships where he placed 20th and the team finished sixth.
He graduated from college in 2006 with a bachelor of science degree in autocadd and spent a year working at the Wigwam Course in Litchfield Park.
Last year he decided to turn pro and joined the Gateway Tour.
He played briefly during the winter series and was full time in the spring and summer series. He’s played in 11 events, making the cut in three and winning $3,230.
“I struggled at the beginning, but the past year I improved a lot, which is one of the reasons I decided to try for the Canadian Tour,” explained Plitz, who has always been a solid putter, but his short game needed work.
“I’ve spent a lot of time working on my game from 100 yards in,” he said. “I’ve always been able to putt, but the problem was my wedge game wasn’t as strong as it needed to be. I wasn’t getting close enough to make the putts. But it’s getting better and I’m little closer now. My driving accuracy has improved as well.”
The five-foot-11, 180-pound Plitz isn’t sure what will happen on the Canadian Tour, and just how long he may stick with it.
“It depends on the money,” he said.
Plitz does receive some sponsorship help from David Morgan, who is a member at his club in Litchfield, but his parents are his biggest boosters. The Innisfail Golf and Country Club, along with head pro Jim Boomer, have also been a big help to Plitz.
“But we’re still looking for a little more sponsorship if it’s out there,” he said. “It would certainly make things easier until I can start winning some money.”
If Plitz has a strong season on the Canadian Tour, he hopes to take it a step further.
“I’ll see how it goes and possibly look at attending the PGA Q school. I guess that’s any golfer’s ultimate goal.”
• Plitz’s sister, Rylee, is also into golf and graduated from college in the States last year and is working at a club in New Jersey.
Contact Danny Rode at firstname.lastname@example.org