Ryan Gerard is in the midst of a two-week stretch of golf that could change his life.
Last week, the 23-year-old Monday qualified into the Honda Classic. He took home $411,600 after placing solo fourth. His finish also got him into this week’s alternate-field event, the Puerto Rico Open, where he sits T-4 at 8-under 136 heading into the weekend.
If Gerard finishes in a three-way tie for ninth or better, he’ll earn special temporary membership on the PGA Tour for the remainder of the season. That makes the next 36 holes at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, pressure-packed.
“I think when you really care about something, you sometimes make it harder on yourself than it needs to be,” Gerard said. “Sometimes I just have to take a step back and kind of try and see a bigger picture, try and really enjoy the little things about it.
“I mean, I’m playing in a PGA Tour event this week, I’m staying in a hotel on the beach, like there are a few things that are just really, really cool and the golf is just a bonus. It doesn’t define me. I want to be a great player, but the golf doesn’t define me as a person.
“I think since I’ve started to kind of realize that, it’s gotten a lot easier for me to just free up on the course. I still definitely want it really badly, so I’m putting in the effort and I’m really grinding out there. I think the combination of all those things have just put me in a good spot. When you’re hitting it well, good things happen.”
And if the North Carolina grad continues to hit it well this weekend, those good things will come.
Gerard and the pack are chasing Carson Young, who sits at 14 under after rounds of 63-67.
If Gerard wins, he would earn his way into the Players Championship next week. A top 10 would get him into the Valspar Championship in two weeks.
Nevertheless, he’s in the midst of a strong run that could spring him into more success.
“I feel like the last week and a half has been just a rollercoaster,” Gerard said. “I mean, just not really knowing what I’m getting into, playing well, quick turnaround, flying, it’s been really cool. I know I’m just lucky to be here and I know I’m playing well. I think I just take those two things in stride and just go have fun with it this weekend. I mean, if I keep playing well, I’ll be just fine.”