Lexington resident has surged up money list on Hooters Tour in the past month
By BOB GILLESPIE
In the fall, a young golfer's thoughts turn to the annual PGA Tour qualifying tournament, better known as "Q-school."
That's how it is for Chip Deason, anyway. When the former Alabama player and Lexington resident is not following the Crimson Tide football team, he has been focusing on Oct. 20 and the first round of Q-school in St. Augustine, Fla.
Even this week, as he prepared for today's start of the NGA Hooters Tour's Capitol Chevrolet Classic at The Members Club at Woodcreek, the 34-year-old is honing his game for a shot at the "big tour."
"Everyone, I think, is geared to Q-school," Deason said.
Deason, 13th on the Hooters Tour money list with $51,782, arrives in his adopted home riding a hot streak. His past four events include a win at the ComSouth Classic and ties for ninth and seventh.
The same was true a year ago, when Deason tied for 10th at Woodcreek. A week before then, he had won the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic in Evans, Ga.
That also coincided with his move to Lexington, where he and his wife, Summer, an Elgin native, bought a house near the Lake Murray dam last November.
Deason is not sure Lexington is better for his game than his native Birmingham, Ala., though.
"I have no idea why I'm playing better," he said, and laughed. "It must be football season.
"Every year, around the time for Q-school, is when you want your game peaking. It's nice to have it getting better now. That's the only thing I can explain."
The Capitol Chevrolet field of 168 players includes money leader Ted Potter Jr. of Silver Springs, Fla. ($179,088 this year), defending champion Major Manning and local products Scott Feaster (a former USC player) and Blythewood brothers Adam and Luke Hart.
Others with S.C. connections include Emmett Turner (Greenwood), Danny Ellis, Tommy Biershenk and Stephen Poole (all ex-Clemson players) and Orangeburg's Marion Dantzler, whose long mini-tour career was featured on Golf Channel earlier this summer. The tournament purse is $200,000 with roughly $34,000 to the winner.
Deason said he likes Woodcreek's Tom Fazio-designed layout, which is hosting the Hooters Tour for the third consecutive year.
"The greens are nearly perfect, as good as I've seen. The guys who putt good" will be the top contenders, he said.
Deason enjoys being at home this week - he practices regularly at Country Club of Lexington with the blessings of head pro Will Branham - and sleeping in his own bed.
"And," Deason added, laughing, "as long as the (Alabama) football team is winning, I'm in a pretty good mood."
He will be keeping an eye on the Tide's score - and his own - this weekend.