CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The competitive result wasn't what he had hoped. But, for Stuart Deane the PGA Championship was always about having a memorable experience.
UTA's director of golf was one of 20 longshots hoping for glory at golf's final major of the year. Deane, along with former UTA golfer Greg Gregory, qualified for the PGA Championship as one of the low 20 scorers at the PGA Professional Championship last month in Oregon.
Not have the luxury of playing on the PGA TOUR day-in and day-out makes it extremely difficult to have a chance for success in an event like the PGA Championship.
"The firmness and quickness of the golf course is so different than anything we normally play," said Deane, who managed to finish Friday's second round despite a weather delay that halted play for about an hour. "You need to experience that a lot, so you don't have to adjust so dramatically and quickly. It is almost impossible to adjust to these conditions in just four days. This is as hard as you will ever see."
The 7,600-yard, par 71 course at Quail Hollow Club has been widely described as the toughest test of the year for professional golf. The course has undergone a number of revisions recently, including a new playing surface that included quicker greens. A thick Bermuda replaced the original rye grass and the bunker sand nearly mirrors that of another well-known major course - Augusta National, the home of the Masters.
Despite the course's difficulty, the intermittent weather and the outcome, Deane felt the experience he and caddy Zach Cole had during the tournament turned out positive.
"Actually today I actually felt like I hit the ball really nice," said Deane, following today's second round. "The last two days, my short game was terrible. I made no putts. It is a super hard, long golf course and, at the end of the day, even with a good short game a couple of 77s would have been good.
"All-in-all, playing with Shane Lowry and Pablo Larrazabal... I couldn't have played with two better guys. Shane played fantastic, except for a slight hiccup on 16. They are two real gentlemen and we had a good time.
"Zach (Cole) has had a marvelous time," continued Deane. "He is looking forward to coming out the next couple of days, watching and continuing to learn what it takes to compete at the highest level."
Deane also pointed out the opportunity this week to extend the UTA brand to a community of golfers that might not otherwise have heard of the Arlington, Texas-based university.
"It was great having a chance to represent UTA, the athletics program and, in particular, our golf program," said Deane. "There are some incredible things happening at UTA, in athletics and academically. If we were able to bring some attention to the school and the city of Arlington this week, then that was a victory in itself.
"It has also been awesome to have the support of our university president (Vistasp) Karbhari and athletic director Jim Baker. Seeing the president tweeting and re-tweeting his support of our experience here really is incredible. They have a big vision for the university and the community and that is why I'm excited to be a Maverick."
Next up for Deane and Cole is the start of the upcoming academic year and the 2017-18 men and women's golf season.
"On the 23rd, the kids are back at school," said Deane. "The girls are on campus, most for the very first time, and we are excited to get their first-ever season going. It is an exciting time for UTA golf and I can't wait to get started. Change truly takes effect this year and the level of expectation has raised. It is a fun time to be a Maverick."
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