Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Bieber delays career in finance for shot at pro dream
The former Manitoba amateur women’s champ tried to juggle her time between a real job and working towards her dream of becoming a top-level pro golfer.
But Winnipeg’s Stacey Bieber just couldn’t swing it.
“I was working (in finances) for a while,” Bieber said recently from Fort Worth, Tex., where she now resides. “They would let me go practise for half a day every day but that just wasn’t working. It was totally different than college and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.
“So, in the fall, I decided it was all or nothing. Either golf or work, not both, and I chose golf because now’s the time to do it, not later in life. And I still believed in myself.”
So, Bieber turned pro but got off to a rather slow start.
“I went to the Futures Qualifying School but I didn’t play that great,” she said. “But January to April, I played in the SunCoast Series in Florida, which is a developmental tour.
“Then the Duramed Futures Tour started and I got into the third and fourth events. I finished in the top 10 (tied for ninth) in the first one and I made the cut in the second. So, I got re-ranked and got into more events without having to qualify for them.”
Bieber, 24, will be heading to Vancouver for a Canadian women’s tour event this weekend, then plans to play in a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier (first stage) in Minneapolis on June 1.
SWINE ADJUSTING: Manitoba’s Matt Johnston has adjusted both his schedule and his outlook.
After the H1N1 flu outbreak resulted in three Canadian Tour events in Mexico being cancelled, or at least postponed, Johnston has soldiered on.
“Obviously, it’s not the ideal situation,” admitted Johnston from Orlando, Fla., where he was preparing to play in a U.S. Open qualifier (first stage). “Your schedule had already been set, you’ve paid for flights and arranged accommodations and that. But the name of the game is to be pretty flexible with your schedule.
“No one on the Canadian Tour was sick or has gotten sick since then. And they’re going to re-scheduled those events in September and early October. They’re doing everything they can to get that going.”
The Canadian Tour has also done everything it can to accommodate the golfers affected by the cancellations.
“I can’t say enough about the Canadian Tour,” said Johnston, 24. “They made arrangements for us to get exemptions on the Hooters Tour.”
Johnston recently failed to make it at a qualifying school in Texas and will try to qualify for the Nationwide Tour in North Carolina next week.
DAKOTA-BOUND: Winnipeg’s Brad Kirton failed twice to make it at PGA Qualifying school since being named Manitoba Golfer of the Year last season. But he is not about to give up.
“You can’t be dismayed because you lose more than you win in golf and I’ve just got to learn from that,” said Kirton, who returned home last month.
Kirton also failed to make it at a U.S. Open qualifier in Minnesota recently.
“It was really windy and I had some big numbers but that just tells you what you need to work on,” he said.
Kirton plans to spend the summer on the Dakota Tour, a developmental tour that starts this July.
“You get good competition, you learn to play professional golf and it’s more cost effective,” he said.