Gallman Wins Professional Debut, Lawrence 3rd
Duncan, S.C. - After finishing his collegiate career by winning the Fossum Invitational at Michigan State on April 25th, former USC Upstate golfer Josh Gallman won his first tournament after turning pro by firing a 6-under-par 66 and winning in a playoff at the River Falls Plantation Event on the Carolina Mountain Pro Tour Monday afternoon.
The Carolina Mountain Tour is in its 14th year as a sanctioned mini-tour by the Carolinas PGA. Most tournaments on the CMT are 18-hole events played on Mondays in an effort to attract club pros to the tournaments.
Michael Lawrence, who teamed with Gallman at Upstate and also graduated earlier this month, fired a 68 and finished in a tie for third in the event in his professional debut as well.
Gallman stood at 1-over through his first three holes, but was seven under on his final 16 holes to shoot 66 and finish tied for first place at the end of regulation play with Hendersonville's Phil Nickel. It didn't take long for Gallman to secure his first win, defeating Nickel in the first playoff hole to win the championships and take home the $1,000 winner's check. Gallman made par in the playoff, while Nickel bogeyed to finish second.
"I missed the first two greens and didn't get up and down on the second hole," said Gallman. "I told myself to quit making stupid mistakes. I was hitting the ball well, but my distances were off. After I bogeyed the second hole, I made sure I had the right club in my hand. I started making putts and seemed to birdie every other hole coming in."
While Gallman made a career out of standout performances in college, playing for money certainly was something different Monday.
"I told my mom that I was going to work," said Gallman. "It's a job now. It was different with the whole aspect of playing for money. But, it was also the same thing. It's still golf and you still have to hit shots. You just don't have anyone out there to help you like you do playing on a college team.
"It was an adrenaline rush. When I got in the playoff, I realized I was playing for $1,000. $1,000 is a lot of money to me right now. It was a lot of fun and I had a good time. I just need to stay competitive and continue to develop."
Gallman will continue to play smaller tour events on the CMT, eGolf and Carolinas PGA tours while building towards PGA Q School in the fall. He finished his standout career at Upstate as the school's all-time leader with seven career wins, 22 top five performances, 33 top 10 finishes and a 72.7 stroke average. He won three individual tournament titles this season, including the Fossum Invitational to cap a stellar year and career.
It was an interesting start for Lawrence, who played one group behind Gallman and two behind his dad, Michael, Sr. The elder Lawrence plays professionally throughout the United States and has qualified to play in several Champions Tour events throughout the years.
"It was a fun ride to the course," said the younger Lawrence. "My dad and I rode together. We laughed a lot and I told him I was going to get him by a couple of shots. It was nice to get him by a few shots in my first pro tournament."
Lawrence was 1-under through three holes before recording bogey on his fourth and fifth holes. He rallied, though, to shoot five-under over the final 13 holes to finish with a 4-under 68 and in third place.
"I felt really comfortable out there for it being my first tournament," said Lawrence. "It was a lot different than playing a college tournament. Coach (Todd Lawton) and the guys weren't out there. I was alone out there. But, I felt comfortable and was rally clear about what I needed to do. It was different, but I really enjoyed it."
Lawrence was able to play his first tournament with his dad and hopes to do so again. He plans to join his father in mini-tour events in Orlando and Houston where tournaments offer both regular and senior fields.
"It was good playing in the same tournament, but I don't think we need to play together in the same group," said Lawrence. "It would be okay with me, but I think my dad would concentrate too much on me and how I was doing."