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Q-School contestant contending despite heavy heart

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LA QUINTA, Calif. – Heartache. That’s the word most commonly associated with the final stage of Q-School, but spend five minutes with Eric Meierdierks and one quickly understands how out of context that word is when it comes to golf.

Meierdierks charged up the leaderboard on Sunday at PGA West with a 67 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course that left him tied for sixth and on the cusp of his first trip to the PGA Tour, making the game look easy at what is widely considered the most demanding test. But after everything he has endured the last few weeks that’s not entirely unexpected.

Meierdierks’ father died six days before he teed off at first stage. “That was the hardest tournament I’ve ever played,” he said. “It makes (final stage) a walk in the park.”

The perspective that comes with losing someone close to you combined with his recent work with sports psychologist Chris Dorris has given Meierdierks, who didn’t play college golf, one of the best attitudes in the 167-player field.

“This is what my dad wanted me to do,” Meierdierks said. “But I’m not feeling any pressure. It’s just golf.”

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