Posted: Thursday, March 21st 2013 at 9:23am
Area hopeful ready to take his shot at Milton Martin Classic
By Morgan Lee Editor
GAINESVILLE -- Like so many other golfers that will tread the course at Chattahoochee Golf Club over the next four days, Ryan Chitwood is simply waiting for that big break.
“It’s just a question of when it is going to click,” Chitwood said. “Really, at this point, it’s all about time.”
Chitwood hopes that moment will come this weekend in the National Golf Association’s Milton Martin Honda Classic -- and the fact that the tournament will be played on his home course and his caddie will be Chattahoochee director Rodger Hogan gives the Habersham County native an extra boost as he begins his third year of chasing the ultimate goal of eventually making the cut at the highest levels of the sport.
“I’m very confident in my game right now, and I feel pretty good,” said the Alto native, who turned pro in 2011 after playing for Central Alabama Community College and West Georgia, earning top honors with both programs.
That said, Chitwood harbors no illusions about the task he faces between Thursday and Sunday, competing with over 150 other golfers harboring the same dream -- a number of them having already come close to making it a reality while playing on the NGA, a developmental league ranked as the No. 3 tour in the United States, behind the PGA and Web.com tours.
(For a look at some of the favorites for this weekend's tournament, click here.)
“All of these guys out here are good enough to make it; it’s just all about being consistent and trying to hit your peak at the right time,” Chitwood said. “Everybody out here can play. They’re just working on getting their consistency down. That’s the biggest difference between guys on the NGA and the PGA.”
In order to attain that uniform level of play, golfers must do that: play -- a lot. And Chitwood has been doing just that, competing in three different tours, including the NGA, where he expects to compete in eight different events this season.
“It’s tough, you have to have a lot of support financially and mentally, because it’s not cheap and there’s always doubters out there,” Chitwood said. “You just have to fight through it all.”
The Habersham Central graduate has been heartened by his continued improvement in the game, however, and has claimed one professional victory since 2011.
“You just have to give yourself time to adjust each time you move up a level,” Chitwood said. “And I keep progressing, so I’m sticking with it.”
Beyond the challenges and level of competition within the NGA this week, Chitwood knows that he -- and every member in the field at the Milton Martin Classic -- will face a tough challenge from Chattahoochee, especially on the greens.
“The greens here are really firm and fast; they’re the course’s only defense, and they make it tough,” Chitwood said.
Beyond that there could also be weather concerns -- though forecasts keep reducing the precipitation odds for Friday-Sunday -- for a tournament that was washed out last season and cut short in 2011 due to rain.
“It actually might suit me better to play in tougher conditions,” Chitwood said.
Whatever the weekend brings, Chitwood -- like so many others -- is just glad to have the opportunity to continue chasing the dream.
The Milton Martin Honda Classic will begin on Thursday morning and run through Sunday afternoon at Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville. Admission is free and the tournament is open to the public.
Link: For more information, including tee times and a leaderboard, click here
© Copyright 2013 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.