Waibel adjusts to life as golf pro

March 7, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated March 6, 2012 at 9:07 p.m.

Few professional golfers are satisfied with an opening-round 76. Even with his other commitments, Austin Waibel is not an exception.

Waibel shot a 5-over-par 76 in the first round of the Victoria Open on Wednesday morning. The tournament, held at the Victoria Country Club, was the first event of the 2012 Adams Golf Pro Tour Series.

"It was good through the first 11 holes, I fought hard," Waibel said of his opening round. "Then I just lost faith in my putter and missed a couple short putts. I fought that on the way in."

Some of the competitors likely spent the winter refining their game, so they could work their way up the money list, or graduate to another tour.

Not Waibel.

His fall and winter months were spent adjusting to life as an assistant golf professional at Victoria Country Club. Most of his preparation for the four-day event was on the mental elements of his game, specifically not getting too impatient while navigating the course.

He coordinates tee times, adjusts handicaps and is actively involved when the club hosts tournaments throughout the spring and summer.

Waibel, 23, left Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas to join the staff at the Victoria Country Club in the Summer 2011 because the move offered additional career opportunities and replicated the slower pace of life he was accustomed to growing up in Columbia, Missouri.

"It's more laid back. People are friendly. They go out of your way to help you down here."

His knowledge of the course was mitigated Wednesday because of the blustery winds. The conditions forced him to find a landing spot for his drives and approach shots that would allow him to reach par.

Waibel was in line to threaten the leaders, before bogeying the final four holes to fall into a tie for 31st with eight others, including playing partner Cameron Bishop.

The 67 players in the field struggled with the conditions as the average score was a 76.4 and there were only three rounds under par. However, Waibel believes that if he can shoot a 71 on Thursday he will have a good chance to play for the $56,000 purse Friday and Saturday.

However, money has not been Waibel's sole motivation when it comes to golf. Sine he was a boy, he aspired to have a career in the game, whether as a professional, or a club pro. He caught the bug when he was 10 years old hitting balls at Hail Ridge Golf Course in Boonville, Mo.

"Golf was something I was good at and I enjoyed doing it. I said why not try to make a career out of it, if that is what makes you happy," Waibel recalled.

Considering his responsibilities at Victoria Country Club, this will likely be the only time Waibel participates in the Adams Tour. He does plan to play in the PGA Southern Texas Section events throughout the summer for fellow club golf professionals like himself.

"Victoria is a great club," Waibel said. "Breene (Cantwell) is a good boss who teaches a lot and I learn a lot. It's one of those stepping stones in your career where you go to work because you know it will benefit you in the future."

NOTES• Par for the 6,856 yard course is 71 after the fist hole was changed to a par 4 for the tournament. It traditionally was one of the easier holes on the course when the Adams Tour visited Victoria Country Club. However, organizers made it a 471-yard par-4 to challenge the players on their approach shots. Wednesday it was the second toughest hole on the course.

• Zack Fischer's 68 was one of three rounds below par Wednesday. He was the only players to shoot below par on both sides of the course. Fischer made a par on the challenging first hole, before birding three of five holes at the turn to take a one shot lead over Hugues Joannes. South African Damon Ferreira bogeyed No. 18, but still finished 1-under-par.

INVISTA-kci Victoria Open

Victoria Country Club

March 7-10

First round

Par: 71

Yardage: 6,856

1 Zack Fischer Wake Village, TX 34-34--68 -3

2 Hugues Joannes Beaumont, TX 34-35--69 -2

3 Damon Ferreira Allen, Texas 34-36--70 -1

T4 Will Osborne Wichita Falls, TX 36-35--71 E

T4 Michael Campbell Pineville, LA 36-35--71 E

T6 Jared Vela Pasadena, TX 37-35--72 +1

T6 Bronson Burgoon The Woodlands, TX 35-37--72 +1

T8 Matthew Vela San Antonio, TX 38-35--73 +2

T8 Praneeth Perera Carrollton, TX 35-38--73 +2

T8 Scott Roudebush Dallas, TX 37-36--73 +2

T8 Chris Ward McKinney, TX 35-38--73 +2

T8 Brett Lederer Long Beach, CA 37-36--73 +2

T8 Brian Rowell Lafayette, LA 38-35--73 +2

T8 Charleton Dechert Pineville, LA 36-37--73 +2

T8 Michael Drake Fontana, CA 37-36--73 +2

T16 Phillip Hui San Antonio, TX 38-36--74 +3

T16 Brad Besler Blessing, TX 37-37--74 +3

T16 Andrew Landry Beaumont, TX 38-36--74 +3

T16 Michael Whitehead Houston, TX 38-36--74 +3

T16 Shawn Jasper Marthasville, MO 37-37--74 +3

T16 Chris Brown Garland, TX 36-38--74 +3

T22 Tyler Neal Tucson, AZ 35-40--75 +4

T22 Bobby Massa Grand Prairie, TX 37-38--75 +4

T22 Matthew Henson Austin, TX 34-41--75 +4

T22 Jon Moore Corpus Christi, TX 39-36--75 +4

T22 Ryan Kiel Seguin, TX 37-38--75 +4

T22 Chase Cooper Guymon, OK 37-38--75 +4

T22 Craig Kanada The Woodlands, TX 39-36--75 +4

T22 Cory Manning Victoria, TX 36-39--75 +4

T22 Bobby Hutcherson Memphis, TX 35-40--75 +4

T31 Cameron Bishop Tulsa, OK 37-39--76 +5

T31 Austin Waibel Victoria, TX 36-40--76 +5

T31 Ryan Myers Tyler, TX 37-39--76 +5

T31 Ezequiel Reyna Weslaco, TX 38-38--76 +5

T31 Trent Leon Fort Worth, TX 37-39--76 +5

T31 Devin Carrey South Surrey, BC 37-39--76 +5

T31 Dustin Morris Crosby,TX 41-35--76 +5

T31 Jeff Rein Garden Ridge, TX 40-36--76 +5

T31 James Jordan Austin, TX 37-39--76 +5

T40 Martin Jimenez San Antonio, TX 38-39--77 +6

T40 Taylor Ohlhausen Abilene, TX 38-39--77 +6

T40 David Petry San Antonio, TX 36-41--77 +6

T40 Brandon Jones San Antonio, TX 38-39--77 +6

T40 Michael Hillis Utopia, TX 38-39--77 +6

T40 Joseph DePanfilis Phoenix, AZ 40-37--77 +6

T40 Noah Stevens Austin, TX 38-39--77 +6

T47 Stephen Hollingsworth Natchez, MS 38-40--78 +7

T47 Joshua Ray New Braunfels, TX 39-39--78 +7

T47 Lance Lopez Missouri City, TX 36-42--78 +7

T47 John Kimbell San Antonio, TX 38-40--78 +7

T47 Cole Moreland Austin, TX 39-39--78 +7

T52 Brent Marshall The Woodlands, TX 42-37--79 +8

T52 Andrew Douthit Frisco, TX 39-40--79 +8

T52 Greg Sonnier Lake Charles, LA 36-43--79 +8

T52 Michael Knight Calgary, AB 37-42--79 +8

T52 Greg Vondrak (AM) Corpus Christi, TX 40-39--79 +8

T57 James Haggard Stephenville, TX 40-40--80 +9

T57 Thomas Garza Fair Oaks Ranch, TX 41-39--80 +9

T57 Joe Mitchell Jr. Victoria, TX 41-39--80 +9

T60 Dacota Dryden Sugar Land, TX 39-43--82 +11

T60 Johnny Lucas Corpus Christi, TX 45-37--82 +11

62 Philip Thompson Utopia, TX 41-42--83 +12

63 Jeffrey Brown (AM) Austin, TX 42-43--85 +14

64 Adam Valickus Schertz, TX 41-45--86 +15

T65 Anthony Peppler (AM) Dallas, TX 44-43--87 +16

T65 Perry Farley (AM) Victoria, TX 44-43--87 +16

67 Josh Vasquez (AM) New Braunfels, TX 43-49--92 +21



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