Very rarely in life can people say 30 seconds cost them $5,000. For former UCF golfer Greg Eason, it also cost him a spot in the PGA Tour.
A single stroke at the Web.com Tour Championship tournament cost the 2014 grad a spot among the top 25, steering his focus to the Web.com Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open in March. Later in the year, a top-25 finish in the Web.com Tour Finals could mean another chance at the PGA Tour in 2017
“My biggest problem was myself,” Eason, 23, said of the loss, which landed him at a close 26th finish.. “I was very fortunate to be able to hit the ball well, but I struggled with decision-making on and off the golf course ... ”
Possibly the best professional athlete to come out of UCF’s golf program, Eason said setbacks are something that happen to us all. Perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of his game include keeping composure and a cool head while on the course if a bad shot comes out of what could have been an easy situation.
“That’s the biggest thing you fight and there are so many good players out there and you have to be able to react better to be able to beat them,” he said. “In my own game, I have noticed, it’s difficult to be very quiet and not emotional.”
There’s nothing that can prepare a green golfer for competing with the pros, he said, although his time at UCF was a good start.
The 6-foot-2 Leicester City, England, native led his team to many tournament victories and top-five finishes, including a third-place finish in the 2013-14 Gator Invitational and a victory in the same year at the 3M Augusta Invitational with a strong personal outing of a 66, six strokes under par. The first Knight to win an NCAA Regional Championship, Eason also was named the 2010-11 Conference Freshman of the Year and 2014 Conference Player of the Year during his time at UCF.
“I think the whole four years was a fantastic preparation for what I’m able to do now,” Eason said of his collegiate years. “The golf program itself was a very disciplined program. I did everything from the fundamentals of the golf swing to working out, to nutrition and off-course activities. Everything was in preparation for a post-graduation self.”
Eason credits much of his success to a close and personal relationship with his college coach, Bryce Wallor, who came to UCF in 2009.
Eason’s journey from the U.K. to the U.S., which began in 2010-11, was no accident, Wallor said.
“He was a guy I recruited right when I got on board. He was part of my first recruiting class and he was a family friend of a player I had coached at a previous university,” Wallor said. “Charlie Ford, who I had coached through college … [Eason] had kind of leaned on Charlie and said “where should I go”, and I had left the University of Tennessee, and Charlie told him that it doesn’t matter what school he is at, go where coach is.”
From head coach to personal caddy, Wallor’s relationships with Eason has only grown over the years.
“Greg had a strong talent but just needed some guidance in decision-making on the golf course,” Wallor said. “He hit terrific shots and would sometimes hit shots that he didn’t have to try, but maybe he was just trying to pull something off too difficult and the risk reward wasn’t there.”
Sitting at No. 41, according to the 25 (Money List) Rank on the Web.com Tour website, Eason is currently preparing for the next round of tournaments, practicing seven days a week, seven hours each day.
But he hasn’t forgotten his Orlando roots, often returning to campus to see friends and support UCF.
“He’s a great ambassador to our program,” Wallor said. “He puts our logo on his golf bag. ... People pay him to wear clothing and pay him to use golf equipment and golf balls, and he puts our UCF logo on his golf bag front and center for people to see, so I think he’s doing a lot of great things for us.”
Evan Abramson is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. You can follow him on twitter at @Evan_Abramson and email him at EvanA@centralfloridafuture.com