Beaufort's Mark Anderson hopes return to RBC Heritage can put him on right track

sfastenau@islandpacket.comApril 17, 2014 

Beaufort's Mark Anderson is in danger of missing the cut at the RBC Heritage.

JAY KARR — The Island Packet

Mark Anderson's white pickup truck fills much of the narrow gravel drive leading up to a sprawling tee box on the back of the practice range at Secession Golf Club.

The bulk of his practice time is usually spent on his short game, but this week in March, Anderson had some issues he wanted to work through with his setup. Of course, he would rather the truck not often be parked at his home course.

The Beaufort resident, who has his PGA Tour card for 2014, wants to play more tournament golf. But his performance early in the season made planning a schedule difficult.

So Anderson plays a PGA Tour event when he can and competes on the Web.com Tour on weeks he can't.

And some weeks, he's at home working on his setup, keeping his gym routine or taking care of chores around the house.

"It's tough to get any sort of momentum from week to week when I'm only playing once every two or three weeks," said Anderson, who missed his first five cuts this year on the PGA Tour and didn't play the weekend his first start on the Web.com Tour in February. "There's always times in the year you can struggle, but if I keep playing, I know that I'm going to eventually work it out on the golf course."

Anderson has a chance to figure something out this week, returning on a sponsor's exemption to the place of one of his best weeks on the PGA Tour.

At Harbour Town Golf Links in 2012, Anderson shot 69-68 on the weekend to finish tied for 13th and earn more than $100,000. The finish was his best on the PGA Tour to that point and hinted at bigger things to come.

But a string of missed cuts in the middle of the year and a double bogey on the final hole of PGA Tour Qualifying School helped send him back to the Web.com Tour.

There he was able to play each week. The consistency helped lead to his first professional victory, a runaway at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville.

Anderson closed with two more top-10 finishes and earned $232,348, good enough to secure his big tour card at 16th on the Web.com Tour money list.

But the start has been rough.

Through four events this year, Anderson's stroke average was 74.44. He shot a second-round 80 at the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

Anderson says he doesn't feel the pressure to keep his card this early in the season, that a breakthrough could come any week.

He has returned to a fitness regimine from when he played at the University of South Carolina, a combination of weights and cardio. He said the workouts help him feel better on the golf course and that he had gotten away from a regular routine in recent years.

When his game needs work, Anderson either works through the issue himself or talks with Mike Harmon, Secession's director of golf. The conversation rarely reaches too deep.

"We're just going out there and trying to play from feel," Anderson said.

Few places does Anderson feel more comfortable than Harbour Town.

Like most, it took time to learn to navigate Pete Dye's creation. But Anderson feels he has more knowledge of the course than any other on tour.

And looking for a jumpstart to the season, a return to the spot of one of his best golf memories could help.

"That's something I still remember to this day, is the really cool feeling getting done with the tournament and knowing I didn't play my normal game, but that I was still able to play well with what I had," he said.

Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.

MARK ANDERSON AT THE HERITAGE

Appearances: 4 (2009-2012)

Best finish: T13 (2012)

Cuts made: 2

Prize money: $117,078

Scoring average: 72.55

ON THE PGA TOUR

Events played: 34

Best finish: T9th, 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

Cuts made: 15

Prize money: $464,046

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