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.”
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.