Wichita Open Shoot-Out

Wichita Open Shoot-Out (Photo by Lauren Helt / June 19, 2012)

Not a game - practice. Practice.

Not sure if Allen Iverson plays golf but the game is all about practice. And Tuesday is usually practice rounds for the Nationwide Touring pros.

More than just hitting balls on the range, they head off for 18 holes, hitting two three balls off the tee, dropping extras off on the gree, just trying to get a feel for the real deal on Thursday. 

We ran into Sam Saunders on Tuesday. Saunders is Arnold Palmer's grandson and he is out to be more than just that. Saunders played collegiately for Clemson, grew up playing at Bay Hill in Orlando and is an all around great golfer. He should be - he comes from golfing royalty.

Saunders is off on his own now, working with a new swing coach and says he and Arnold have a grandfather/grandson relationship now. He is 55th on the money list, made six cuts in eight events this season and aiming for a good week in Wichita to move up the list. He needs some wins or more top five and ten finishes and then he can join his grandfather as PGA Tour members.

Saunders played his practice round with Lee Janzen. If that name rings a bell, it should.  That's two-time US Open champ Lee Janzen playing on the Nationwide Tour. He's been solid in a brief period on the Nationwide circuit, playing in only two events and taking second in the only place he made the cut.

He wants to get back to the big Tour and truly believes he can be one of the Top 30 players up there. He has the mindset and the attitude to do but can his body stand up to it? The PGA is turning into a young man's tour and at 48, like Woody Austin, time might pass them by.

It was interesting that two players at two different points of their career were playing alongside each other on Tuesday. No doubt Janzen gave some tips to young Saunders on the course today. To be a fly buzzing alongside them today.

Wednesday will be calm at Crestview Country Club. The Pro-Am is the final event before Thursday's opening round of the 2012 Wichita Open. The wind should die down too (thank goodness) and the course will be a little easier out there.

The pros like playing Crestview because it's playable. It's not too tough, not too easy but just right. And they enjoy being able to go low, show off for the crowd a little and it makes the whole thing look that much better. Here's hoping they live up to that mantra come Thursday...