Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
THE doubts are almost as hard to control as a hook but Dauphin’s Ryan Horn has put yet another wave of them to rest in his budding professional career.
The 25-year-old former Manitoba junior champion had a break-out day Sunday in the final round of the Canadian Tour’s Jane Rogers Championship of Mississauga, finishing fourth alone and earning enough cash, $6,000, to retain full Canadian Tour membership for 2008.
With just one tournament left in 2007, Horn is now No. 51 on the money list with $10,263 and all-exempt status for 2008 is assured, that privilege reserved for the top 80 money winners each season.
Both he and Winnipeg’s Adam Speirs, who was also in the top 10 last week (ninth), are entered in this week’s finale in Barrie, Ont., the $200,000 Canadian Tour Championship.
“I feel like a big weight’s been lifted off my shoulders,” Horn said via phone from Barrie on Monday. “I can just come out and free-wheel this week.”
The unheralded, unassuming lefty has resolved plenty of personal uncertainty in his rookie season on the tour.
He arrived by breezing through last fall’s qualifying school after playing almost no competitive golf in 2006, and he started the Canadian Tour season by making the first four cuts.
“Then, I thought I’d make them all,” Horn admitted. “But there are ups and downs, the little doubts get bigger and then you wonder if you’ll make another one.
“There are so many ups and downs and it’s so different, competitive golf and just playing around.”
Horn missed four straight cuts and after breaking that streak in Edmonton, missed again at the Free Press Manitoba Classic at Pine Ridge.
After that tournament, he took time off for a mid-season recharge.
“It helped me get the putter going again; being home for a month was so nice,” Horn said. “I played in Dauphin a few times and broke the course record twice.”
A pair of 61s at Dauphin Lake within the space of the week were just the tonic of confidence he needed.
He went to Montreal and played solidly, jumping into contention in seventh spot after three days in a tournament dominated by all of the tour’s best players. Sunday stung him, however, and a four-over 76 dropped him all the way to 27th spot.
“I was pretty nervous,” Horn said. “I had a lot riding on it. I was 100th on the list and putting a lot of pressure on myself trying to get into that top 80.
“It was a learning experience. I was in the fourth-last group, my name was on the leader board. I waited all year to see my name on that board so of course I was watching that.
“All of that helped me coming into (Mississauga). You just never give up and learn from your mistakes.”
Horn stumbled early again on Sunday last week, but after a two-over front nine, settled down to shoot four-under 31 on the back. That 68 followed his Saturday 62.
“I was pretty pumped on the weekend because I had thought I’d missed the cut,” he said. “I just told myself on Saturday there was no longer any point to being scared.”
That Montreal experience had paid off, as had an unusual glimpse into final-round pressure earlier in the year.
In May in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, Horn had missed the cut but caddied for Speirs on the weekend. His fellow Manitoban played in Sunday’s final group and finished in a tie for second.
“I think it was a good thing for him,” said Speirs, No. 22 on the tour’s money list at $19,533.
“In Montreal for Ryan, that’s just part of the learning curve and now the one thing he’s probably learned is that everybody gets nervous.”