COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO | Tim Petrovic’s story is both wild and inspiring.
Upon leaving the University of Hartford where he was college teammates with Jerry Kelly, Petrovic convinced his wife to move to Florida so he could pursue his dream of being a professional golfer. He toiled on every mini tour you’ve heard of and some you probably haven’t, sustaining himself financially through odd jobs.
But he never gave up. Petrovic sold cell phones, worked at the YMCA and even delivered pizza. During his delivery breaks, he would chip balls in the parking lot behind the restaurant.
Eventually he made it on the Golden Bear Tour, which led to what is now called the Web.com Tour, which led to him earning his PGA Tour card at the age of 34. He finished his Tour career with over $12 million in earnings.
“There were a couple times I was thinking maybe this isn’t happening and then something good would happen,” Petrovic said. “But I was always saw the light at the end of the tunnel.”
This leads us to the latest chapter in the book Petrovic promises he will someday write. On the PGA Tour Champions, he has been a solid player worthy of major contention, as evidenced by a second place finish earlier this year at the Senior PGA Championship.
Now he is looking to do one spot better this week at the U.S. Senior Open. Petrovic opened with a 2-over 72 and then rebounded with a championship-low 5-under 65 on Friday that featured a nearly flawless 6-under 30 on his final nine.
He looked determine to keep that momentum going on a cloudy day where thunderstorms threatened. Petrovic parred his first eight holes and then made birdies at Nos. 9 and 14 to take the solo lead.
However, he gave it back with three bogeys in his final four holes, now at 2-under for the tournament and two behind Kelly, the former college roommate who has led this championship outright since Thursday afternoon.
“I’ll sleep just fine,” Petrovic said. “It’s going to be fun tomorrow. We’re going to have a nice little dogfight tomorrow.”
The most bizarre moment of the day came when Petrovic hit a stray tee shot on the par-4 17th. As the ball came to rest, a young kid raced to the ball and slid into it, picking the ball up and then dropping it down.
“When I came over there, I could tell the kid was pretty upset,” Petrovic said. “So I told him next time, he should kick the ball closer to the fairway, and that kind of made him smile.”
For the 51-year-old Petrovic to capture his first PGA Tour Champions in his 31st career start on the senior circuit, he will also have to beat David Toms, who sits at 3 under, and his playing partner for Sunday, Kirk Triplett at 2 under.
If he pulled it off, what a story he would deliver.