Preston Otte qualified and played in his first official PGA Tour event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. Otte won the PGA Section Qualifier at the Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nev.
Having played competitive golf most his life, Preston Otte has faced pressure-packed situations before, but nothing like he encounter in Las Vegas in front of TV cameras, amid a circus of celebrities and surrounded by some of the best golfers in the world vying for a piece of the $4.4 million purse.
“My game plan was to prepare the best I could so that during the week of the tournament I could just enjoy myself and the whole experience,” Otte said.
In order to qualify for the event, Otte picked a good time to play perhaps the round of his life. Otte won the PGA Section Qualifier in Boulder City, Nev., breaking the course record with a 61 and destroying the field for a four-stroke victory. Only the section qualifier winner qualified for the event.
“As soon as I qualified, I had a six-hour drive home to think about what had just happened,” Otte said. “Golf is a different type of game. You never know when you’re going to have a good round or a bad round, but you can always try to put as many priorities together to help you have a good round. If it works, you’re successful. If it doesn’t work, you can’t worry too much about it.”
After competing in his first PGA Tour event Otte said, “What an incredible experience.” Playing practice rounds with Jeff Magert, George McNeil, Rollan Thatcher, and competition rounds with Jared Lyle and Nate Smith, Preston went on to shoot a solid first round even par 71. “Having not made many putts the first day and still shooting even par, I really felt like we could make it happen the second day if I could get a few putts to fall,” Preston explained. However as we golfers know, sometimes the harder we try the harder it is to get that golf ball in the hole. Finishing up with a 75 on Friday his fun-filled week came to a bitter sweet end. “It has been one of the best experiences in my golfing career teeing and competing with the best of the best. I hope I get another chance to do it again.”
Otte and his wife Jessica moved to Tucson, Ariz., so that she could enter a graduate program in nursing at University of Arizona. Otte has pursued his career as a PGA golf professional working at Heritage Highlands Golf Club.