The Journal Gazette
Monday, April 06, 2020 1:00 am

To turn pro now or wait?

'19 city champ working to improve game

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

When Patrick Allgeier played in his most recent golf tournament – shooting a disappointing 5-over 77 in Okatie, South Carolina, on March 12 – he never imagined it would be his final round for Butler.

“Throughout that match, I never thought, 'Well this could be the last time I'm playing with Butler on my bag, on my chest, on my hat,'” Allgeier said. “In the sense of that, it's sad for sure. I'm not one of the most emotional people ever – I didn't cry when I found out we were done – but it definitely kind of hits home.”

Allgeier's senior season was canceled later that day, after only three tournaments and six rounds of his spring season, because of COVID-19. Including the fall season, he averaged 73.6 strokes over 18 rounds, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented him from getting to cherish the moments of his final round for Butler as he'd hoped he would.

“It's definitely a soft spot in my heart because that was three and a half years of my life, grinding with the team and practicing and working hard, trying to set goals and trying to beat those goals and attain those goals with guys on the team,” said Allgeier, 22, a Bishop Dwenger graduate.

Allgeier has long planned to pursue a professional golf career after college – as a touring pro or, depending on how that went, a teaching pro – but now he's in a nebulous area. With the mini-tours and higher-level professional circuits, including the Korn Ferry and PGA Tours, having suspended summer tournaments, Allgeier isn't sure if he'll remain an amateur throughout 2020 or not.

“My plan in the future, for sure, and what I've always wanted to do, is to play professional golf,” Allgeier said. “Not knowing when that will happen, especially with this COVID-19 crisis happening, I don't know if that plan is going to be prolonged or fast-tracked due to this. I might be able to get a jump-start on it because of (college) graduation time, or it might be pushed back if amateur or professional tournaments don't happen this summer.”

Allgeier, who won the Fort Wayne Golf Association's City Tournament last year, is in Butler's business school and majoring in entrepreneurship and innovation. He only has a handful of credits left to earn, and they should be secured with a summer internship, so he could bide his time before turning pro or just go full bore working toward it now.

What seems clear is that his college golf career is over. Even though the NCAA is granting another year of eligibility to student-athletes who lost their spring seasons, that opportunity doesn't fit for a player like Allgeier, who would have to enroll in graduate programs to qualify.

Allgeier was a second team All-Big East selection after his 2018-19 season, when he led Butler with a 73.2 scoring average. He tied for second at the Big East Tournament – he was 1 over through 54 holes – and led the Bulldogs to a third-place finish at Okatie.

Allgeier, who had been the 2018 runner-up at the City Tournament, led wire-to-wire to win last year at 8-under 205. That included a 7-under 64 in the opening round at Pine Valley Country Club, his home course.

He hasn't rested on his laurels since.

“I'm always tweaking and trying to refine the skills and the craft of what the golf game is, and get better every day,” he said. “I want to be better than I was yesterday and push forward.”

He was hitting shots at home into a net last week and was able to get out on the course, as some have remained open amid stay-at-home orders because it has been interpreted that physical activity is essential and golf is a sport in which social distancing can be practiced to limit the spread of COVID-19.

However, touching of communal objects is discouraged, so there have been a lot of giving of putts and raking traps with feet. At Pine Valley, Allgeier said, pool noodles are in the cups so the ball caroms off it and everyone isn't putting their hands in the holes.

“It's super strange to see, but it works,” Allgeier said.

He regularly works on both the physical and mental aspects of his game, reading books, listening to podcasts and watching TV shows on developing different parts of his game.

“Where do you hit the most golf shots from? That 120 yards and in, the short game, the chipping and putting, you can never be too good at the game of golf,” he said. “It's a tough game to perfect. Everyone is trying to perfect it. But I'd say, for sure, (for me) it's dialing in the wedges and getting those distances so you can hit it in a 15- to 20-foot circle if you have that club.”

Hitting golf shots whenever, and wherever, also helps Allgeier keep focused on happier things these days.

“I'm doing what I can to keep my mind off the (coronavirus) crisis,” he said.

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