One good week

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It’s time for a break. Not that Jack Newman necessarily wanted one, but he’s not complaining either.

Newman attempted to Monday qualify for this week’s Stadion Classic at UGA on the Nationwide Tour. He shot 5-under 66 at the par-71 Achasta Golf Club in Alpharetta, Ga., but it wasn’t quite enough to make it to Athens.

“Usually, it takes 6 or 7 under to make it through Mondays,” Newman said on his drive to Oxford, Ohio. “I was hoping to make it in this week, but now I have two weeks off.

“I’m just going to practice, play some, work on my swing and get some rest.”

Newman is coming off his second consecutive missed cut on the NGA Hooters Professional Tour. Two weeks ago, he shot 70-74 at the Whitewater Creek Open. Last week, it was 68-75 at the Savannah Lakes Village Classic.

“It seems like the afternoon rounds have been getting me,” Newman said.

“I’m going to start doing more practice sessions during those days to fill up the time – go practice early, grab something to eat, then practice a little more before my tee time. I need to do that instead of sitting around and watching ‘SportsCenter’ five times in a row.”

Newman has been working with noted golf instructor Mike Bender for less than three months, so it would be easy for him to blame a swing transition for his inconsistent play – but he's taking ownership of his performances.

“It’s up to me to make it happen,” he said. “I have to be able to trust what I’m doing and get comfortable on the golf course. It’s not the swing. I’m the one that has to make it happen.”

As Newman was attempting to Monday qualify for this week’s Nationwide Tour event, the recent success of fellow Hooters Tour players on the circuit served as motivation.

Ted Potter, Jr., who has won twice this year on the Hooters Tour, captured his first Nationwide Tour title last week after Monday qualifying. Two weeks prior, Russell Knox nearly did the same. He was one shot off the 54-hole lead outside of San Francisco when the final round was canceled due to fog.

“You just need the chance and then take advantage of it. If you can get into the event, you never know what can happen. If you’re playing well at the right time, everything can change,” Newman said. “One week you could miss a cut on the Hooters Tour and the next you could be exempt on the Nationwide.”

Newman knows well what one great week can get you. He won the 2008 U.S. Public Links Championship to earn an invitation to the ’09 Masters.

While on the road during this year’s final round at Augusta, Newman noticed his smartphone was blowing up.

“Friends kept shooting me text messages and then I started getting a bunch of calls after Tiger (Woods) stuck it on 8 and gave that big fist pump (after making the eagle putt),” Newman said.

“I was able to pull it up on my Droid. I held it next to my ear and listened to it while I was driving and then watched it on my phone when I stopped to get gas.”

Newman’s next travels – tour-wise – will take him to Georgetown, Ky., in two weeks and then to Windsor, N.C. For the time being, he’s staying with his former assistant coach at Michigan State University, Casey Lubahn, who is currently the head golf coach at Miami University.

“It will be good for me,” Newman said. “He’s a good set of eyes for me and he’s good with the mental aspect – he knows how I tick.”

Newman will continue to stay in touch with Bender and has some DVDs of his swing that he’ll be watching and analyzing.  He knows that he’s not far off, his Monday 66 was indicative of that. He just has to put it all together for one tournament – and who knows where that could lead?

“Like I said,” he reiterated, “I just have to get it done.”