In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in The Blade's sports section. Blade sports writer Dave Hackenberg talked with Pat Lindsey, the only Toledoan in nearly five decades to win a PGA Tour event.
Following a 12-year stretch as the world's premier amateur golfer, Toledo's Frank Stranahan turned professional in 1955 and won the last two of his six PGA Tour titles. His final victory was at the 1958 Los Angeles Open. Pat Lindsey is the only Toledoan to have since accomplished the same feat, winning the 1983 B.C. Open by four shots over runner-up Gil Morgan at En-Joie Country Club in Endicott, N.Y.
One qualifier is perhaps in order. John Cook, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, was born in Toledo in 1957 during his father Jim's stint as football coach at Maumee High School, but moved with his family as a toddler and grew up in southern California. So it's a reach to consider him a Toledoan.
Lindsey, on the other hand, was born and bred and lives here to this day. After leaving the PGA Tour, he spent a number of years with the Cavalear Corporation during its development of the Stone Oak Country Club community and other projects. He now serves as marketing director for Watermark Ltd., which has created the popular Waterside "active adult" community off Monclova Road under developer Duane Ankney, and is a partner with Ankney as the broker/owner of Re/Max Executives real estate agency.
Pat was guided through his formative years in golf by his father, Dr. Fred Lindsey, an orthodontist and a top amateur golfer in his own right who won club championships at Belmont and Toledo country clubs. Coming under the tutelage of Toledo CC pro Don Kotnik and others, Pat became a junior champion, won Toledo District Golf Association and Toledo Open titles, and finished runner-up in the 1975 Ohio Amateur.
A 1970 graduate of Maumee Valley Country Day School, Lindsey attended the University of South Florida, graduating in 1975, before spending four-plus years on mini tours and working as a club professional.
Pat Lindsey played on the PGA Tour from 1979 to 1987. He had one tour victory - the 1983 B.C. Open. During the '83 season he had three other top-10 finishes and was 67th on the money list - at that time worth just a bit under $85,000. He estimates that today 67th place would be worth about $4 million.
He qualified for the PGA Tour in 1979 and competed through the 1987 season. He still plays in local and state pro events and will attempt to qualify for July's U.S. Senior Open at NCR Club in Kettering, Ohio. A life member of the PGA of America, Lindsey will celebrate his 53rd birthday on Tuesday.
He and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Maggie (21) and Hannah (20).
"I WON THE B.C. Open when I was 31 years old. Back then, that was pretty much near the end of your playing career unless you were a big name or had phenomenal skills. It was the peak of my golf career, the top of the mountain for me. I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can pretty much remember every shot of that final round. I had a four-shot lead going in, but I'd never played in the final group before. I was wired and I didn't sleep all night. I went out and bogeyed the first hole and after I scored another bogey at the sixth hole my lead was gone. Then I popped up a drive on No. 7, which was something like a 430-yard par 4, and I had maybe 240 left to the green and I figured I was losing it. Standing in the fairway I had sort of an epiphany. I told my caddie, 'You know, I could absolutely fall apart and still have my best finish ever out here. So let's just play and have fun.' I just relaxed and started enjoying the experience and I shot 30 on the back nine and won going away. It was just a huge moment. It was the culmination of all my efforts in golf."
"THAT YEAR, '83, was the only time I finished in the top 70 on the tour's money list. I was 67th, I think. I won the B.C. Open, had three other top-10 finishes and made 19 or 20 cuts. And I earned just under $85,000. Today, that might have been about a $4 million year. I played for three more years and then maybe half of the schedule in 1987. By then, I was in my mid-30s, our daughters were 4 and 2, the travel was getting old, and there just wasn't that much money out there. It was time to get a real job."
"I GOT A VERY, very lucky break in '87, when I met Bob Cavalear. He introduced me to the real estate business and that was the biggest break of my life. He got me involved in both marketing and sales. The first project on the board was The Quarry, a development Bob wanted to do on land near Salisbury Road that he purchased from the France Stone Company. Not many people know that a golf course was going to be part of that project. In fact, Bob already had a route plan done by Art Hills. But then the Glengarry [Country Club] clubhouse burned down and Bob was approached by the membership about buying the club. He did, he bought more property all around the course, and with a golf course already in place that became the Stone Oak community. I was the project director. That was my entry into the business. By the time The Quarry, which isn't far from Stone Oak, was in progress, a golf course was no longer in the plans."
"IF I WAS going to build the perfect golfer I would have to start with Jack Nicklaus' brain and putter. From tee to green, Vijay Singh is probably better than anybody these days. And for willpower and competitive fire, Tiger. Everybody gives him credit for power, but when the game's on the line his short game is incredible. The downside, I guess, is that it has to be incredible because he misses a lot of greens. Put those three together, you'd have a pretty good player."
"I WAS BORN in '52, so my golf heroes were Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. My other heroes were, and still are, my dad and Don Kotnik. I've admired Don since I was 14 and then working for him in the pro shop at Toledo Country Club  before I started playing tour golf was a wonderful experience. Don's influence is why I've kept my PGA membership to this day. As for my father, he's still a golf nut at age 84. And he still breaks his age. I visited him in Florida in February and he shot 83 at the TPC at Sawgrass. Of course, he plays the white tees now. I never let him forget that."
"I WAS NEVER really superior in any aspect of the game. I was pretty straight off the tee and I'd average 13 or 14 greens in regulation per round, which isn't bad. I was always around par, but I wasn't a long enough hitter to take advantage of the par 5s. And that's what separated the stars from the rest of us, their ability to dominate the par-5 holes and get way under par there."
"I GOT A LITTLE Senior Tour itch when I turned 50 in 2002. I decided I'd try to qualify for the Farmers Charity Classic up in Michigan. I made it and I figured, hey, this isn't all that tough. Then I decided to try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open and I was the medalist at the qualifier and I figured this was pretty easy. But I missed the cut, then went to the British Senior in Ireland and missed the cut. I realized that was about all the fun I could stand. The guys out on tour are just so good. I saw a lot of old friends and had a great time, but I realized I was doing what I should be doing and it was time to come home and go back to work."
Contact Dave Hackenberg at: email@example.com or 419-724-6398.
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