Peterson: 'I have severely underachieved'


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – John Peterson was a three-time All-American and 2011 NCAA Division I champion while at LSU.

But his once-promising career has fizzled since he turned pro, with his only win coming in a 2012 Adams Tour event.

So it was a bit of a shock to see his name near the top of the Waste Management Phoenix Open leaderboard on Thursday after he carded a 5-under 66 with no bogeys.

The turning point, oddly enough, came off the golf course.

“”When I got hurt last year," Peterson said after the first round at TPC Scottsdale. "I missed all of last season. I had hand surgery right here and I was watching these guys on the couch and it really made me miss it. I started missing it and I said, you know, when I get back out there, I’m going to give it a go. I’m going to work like it’s my job again and stop being such a, you know, mediocre player out here.”

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While Peterson was good enough to get by on natural talent in college, he said he found out the hard way that the PGA Tour is a whole different ball game.

“In my opinion, I have severely underachieved … I just haven’t really given it my full effort since I have been out here. I just kind of treaded water and do just as good as you can and hadn’t really treated it as a job,” he said. “I guess I just let my college career carry over into my professional career. … I didn’t care what I did. I didn’t care if I hit a bad shot. It didn’t bother me.”

Now that he’s putting in the work he thinks is needed to be a successful Tour pro, his goals are pretty straightforward.

“I want to win, man. I want to win,” he said.