Wes Payne has been a member of amateurgolf.com since his high school days. He has long been a fixture in the amateurgolf.com Tournament Series and took home a win this past weekend at the Bay Regional. We caught up with Payne, who plans to turn professional following the season.
amateurgolf.com: You were dominant in your win at this past weekend's amateurgolf.com Bay Regional. What worked well for you and how are you feeling about the win?
Wes Payne: I really drove the ball well in the first round and put myself in good position, but I really hung in there because of my short game. I chipped and putted well when I really needed to and that was the reason that I only made one bogey in 2 rounds. It feels great to get a win especially after grinding through an early triple in the second round, which could have easily led to a meltdown, but also after the way I have struggled with my game over the last few weeks, I've been struggling with my swing and my short game was horrible at Poppy in the Stroke Play and in US Am qualifying so it feels great to see it coming together. I've had 3 second place finishes in the past 6 months, all in tournaments in which I had a chance to win, so its also a bit of relief to get the win.
AGC: How long have you been a member of amateurgolf.com and playing in the tournament series? What are your thoughts on the competition?
WP: I've been a member of amateurgolf.com since I was in high school, so probably 7 or 8 years, and have been playing in the tournament series ever since. I think they do an incredible job of compiling all the local tournaments, so its great for me because I use it to set my tournament schedule and check other results. As for the competition in the tournament series, they always have very strong fields, and they are without question some of the premier events around Northern California. This year the field at the Bay Regional was a bit smaller in size, but the level of play was still very high.
AGC: What has worked well in your preparations that helped lead to your winning performance?
WP: I've started devoting a lot more of my practice time strictly to shots inside of 75 yards and I think it has helped me immensely. If I can hang my hat, so to speak, on my short game, it makes me a much more confident ball striker because it doesn't matter if I hit poor approach shots if I am confident that I can get up and down and still score. So that has been a huge help and is just starting to show in the consistency with which I've played this year. Also, mentally I finally let everything go and just went out and played golf. I tend to have a short fuse on the golf course, and I've tried to work on my patience and let the bad shots and bad breaks go because in the end it happens to everyone and there's nothing you can do about it except just play the game. It's taken me a long long time but I've finally been able to accept those things as part of golf and just hit the ball and go find it and hit it again. I think that mentality has really worked well in the way that I approach competition.
AGC: What are your plans for the remainder of the season? Which events are you playing in?
WP: The rest of the summer I am playing in the NCGA Match Play next week and then State Fair --- both are really great tournaments with outstanding fields, but I'm planning on turning professional later this fall, and am still working out my schedule for the fall and winter, so I've got a lot of golf and learning experiences ahead of me and I'm excited to see where it all takes me.