Doherty Set to Compete in First PGA Tour Event
July 23, 2012
CHICAGO -- A former DePaul golfer has a chance to put his name alongside the likes of Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods on Thursday.
"My ultimate goal is to compete with these guys---[Ernie] Els, [Retief] Goosen, [Hunter] Mahan," Greg Doherty said.
Ask and ye shall receive.
Doherty, who graduated in 2010, will compete against some of the world's best in his first career PGA event. The RBC Canadian Open, won by Palmer in 1955 and Woods in 2000, tees off Thursday at Heron Point Golf Links in Ancaster, Ontario.
"It's very exciting, and I'm looking to see where my game compares with theirs," Doherty said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."
In addition to the golf icons he has grown up watching on TV, Doherty will see another familiar face in Ancaster---former DePaul teammate Russell Budd. Budd eagerly volunteered to caddie for Doherty after learning that Greg would be competing in a PGA Tour event.
"He jumped at the chance, and we've got good chemistry together," Doherty said of Budd.
While Doherty may be short on PGA Tour experience, he will have an upper hand in preparation. By winning the Ontario Regional Qualifying Tournament on June 25, he automatically qualified for the Canadian Open and can forego the final round of qualifying leading up to the tournament.
"I was able to go on a practice run July 6th and study the course," Doherty said. "It's a more traditional course. There's a premium on hitting fairways, smaller greens, so it's more about placement and hitting some tricky shots."
A native of nearby Mississauga, Ontario, Doherty sees this extra time off as a luxury and an opportunity to mitigate the excitement of having qualified.
"I didn't really expect to win [the Ontario Regional Qualifier]," he said. "I just wanted to put together a good score and advance. I've been driving the ball well all summer, my putter got hot, and that was the difference. It all just came together for me."
It all came together despite swirling winds and an excruciating way to spend the tournament's final day.
"[Regarding the wind], I just tried not to do too much, not be too aggressive, Doherty said. "I had to trust my swing and keep the ball under the wind. The worst part was waiting six or seven hours in the clubhouse just to see if my score would hold up."
The 2011 Great Lakes Tour Rookie of the Year is no stranger to exciting finishes and adverse conditions.
In his days at DePaul, Doherty went into the final round of the Georgetown Collegiate Invitational with a three-stroke lead amidst 30 mph winds on a cold 50-degree day. When he double bogeyed on the 16th hole, he thought his shot at victory was finished.
"I birdied 17 and then 18 with a 30-foot putt," said Doherty. "When I got in the clubhouse with the rest of my team, I found out that I had won and needed both putts to do it.
"It was a pretty special finish."
Doherty, who also won the John Dallio Memorial his senior season, was a four-time BIG EAST Conference All-Academic athlete at DePaul.
"All the guys on the team are hard workers, whether it's golf or the classroom," Doherty said. "She [coach Betty Kaufmann] recruited guys who were up on academics. It's a big thing for her. She was insistent that we had equal passion for academics and athletics."
Doherty said he came to DePaul because he felt comfortable with the big city lifestyle of Chicago. He enjoys the similarities between Chicago and Toronto---the closest major city to his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario---big metropolitan areas with beautiful waterfronts, great food, golf courses, and nightlife.
Now Doherty just needs his golf success in both countries to carry over into his PGA debut.