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Kowaluk says he's ready for pro qualifying school test

BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW [email protected] He has chewed up and tamed golf courses since he was eight years old, and now, Kurt Kowaluk is looking to take a bite out of the professional tour.

He has chewed up and tamed golf courses since he was eight years old, and now, Kurt Kowaluk is looking to take a bite out of the professional tour.

Kowaluk, 24, will take his game to the Royal Ashburn Golf and Country Club just outside of Oshawa on Sept. 20 to test his mettle against the best amateurs in North America in the Canadian Touring Qualifying School.

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Sudbury's Kurt Kowaluk practised his bunker play at Timberwolf Golf Course in preparation for attempting to earn his professional playing card on the Canadian tour. The talented southpaw will try and earn his card over five gruelling rounds in late September.
It's a five-round format, with only the best golfers receiving their playing cards.
Kowaluk feels he's ready for the next level.

"I have been serious about turning professional for about two years," said Kowaluk. "I had some success in the fall of 2002 and the spring of 2003 and since then, I have been believing in myself more, which is half the battle. The opportunity to pursue this goal is all I can ask for. I am ready for the challenge and I am going to work my butt off."

Kowaluk was drawn to the game at a young age and stuck to his guns over the years to achieve a remarkable list of accomplishments.

He earned a scholarship to play golf at the University of Wyoming from 1998-2003, where he obtained a degree in international finance, and has won numerous amateur events over the last few years, including the Idylwylde Invitation Championship in 2002 and 2003.

Kowaluk has a positive mind frame, which will be crucial for him to make the jump to the pro ranks.

"If you believe in yourself and focus on the right things - then anything is possible," said Kowaluk. "Golf is a game were you can accomplish anything you want as long as you're in the right frame of mind. If not, golf can be a very frustrating game."

Kowaluk expects a learning curve as he battles professional golfers.

"You go to any pro tour and any of those golfers can win it," said Kowaluk. "I find, mentally, I am too hard on myself. I have to learn to be less self-critical. I want to just play and be detached from the results. You don't want a lot of tension because your swing is at it's best when you have positive, free flowing thoughts. The only thing you can control in this game is your attitude to your next shot. I am getting better at controlling that aspect."

Kowaluk will rely on his bread-and-butter short game, that has allowed him to pursue this opportunity, while working on other skills in his arsenal.

"I would like to work on my ball striking over the next few years," said Kowaluk. "The more fairways you hit, the more greens you can hit. Being a consistent ball striker is important.
Kowaluk has a five-year plan to assess his performance.

"If I can continue the progress that I have made over the last five years, I get excited thinking about how good I could be in five years," said Kowaluk. "In the next five years I will be able to tell if I am going in the right direction. I would like to get my game to the point were I could go to the PGA."

Tha Canadian Tour isn't for duffers. Over the years, it has produced such PGA stars as Mike Weir, Todd Hamilton and Notah Begay III.

Timberwolf Golf Club will hold a social golf fundraiser for Kowaluk on Sunday, Sept. 5 starting at noon. Cost is $80 and includes a round of golf, buffet and door prizes.


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