Video by The Fire Pit Collective
The Grind continues with the second episode of Mark Baldwin, as he looks for his next chance to tee it up. After having to withdraw from the Big Money Classic due to testing positive for Covid, Mark completed his quarantine and is back home where both he and his son appear to have recovered from their respective health issues that popped up at the end of the year.
If you missed The Grind – Episode 1 Recap, read it here.
New Year, New Opportunities
Eight days before the PGA Tour’s 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Mark gets a surprise visit from Steve John, Tournament Director, via Zoom, who tells Mark that they fulfilled his sponsor’s exemption request – he was in!
To make it in professional golf, yes, you have to be very very good, but you also have to catch a break here or there to put you in that position. This was a huge break for Mark, and since they don’t come around often, it’s one you have to take advantage of. This was Mark’s fourth PGA Tour event. In his last PGA Tour start, he made the cut at the 2021 Barracuda Championship and finished T34, after Monday qualifying with a 65.
Being in the field for a PGA Tour event brought additional monetary opportunities as well. MGM Resorts offered Mark a $15,000 resort credit for wearing a hat featuring the MGM logo during each round of the tournament. Add in the GOLFTEC, Ink’d, and Croft School deals Mark had in place for the year and he was up to $37,500 in cash and credits. Every little bit helps when you’re trying to play golf for a living.
Let the Preparation Begin
We were introduced to Ryan French, Mark’s good friend and Monday Q Info on Twitter, in the first episode, and Ryan was on the bag for Mark at Pebble Beach. Both took in the sights as they got practice rounds in just days before the tournament, but they also knew they had to try and focus on the task at hand.
2022 Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Mark and Ryan both admit that they couldn’t have had a better group for the first three rounds. Mark’s amateur partner was Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young. They were paired with Peter Jacobsen, a long-time PGA Tour member and 7-time winner, and his amateur partner, singer-songwriter, Ben Rector. Also in the group is one of the most famous caddies on Tour, the legendary Mike “Fluff” Cowen was on the bag for Jacobsen.
The fun vibe of the group helped Mark play some of his best golf that week. In his first round at Spyglass Hill, Mark carded a bogey-free, 3-under 69. The next day at Pebble Beach, Mark hung tough to shoot an even par 72. The first two rounds put him in position to make the cut, which normally is after the second round, but this format is a little different as the golfers play all three courses before the cut is made. Mark’s third round on Saturday at Monterey Peninsula was one to remember. He birdied four of his last five holes, shot a 5-under 66 and made the cut with ease.
Going into Sunday, Mark was T19 on the leaderboard and a good final round could have really changed his career. At that point it would have been hard not to think about a top 15 or even top 10 finish. But Sunday was a struggle. A couple mistakes in the middle of the round and a costly double bogey on 14 added up to a 3-over 75, which dropped Mark to T49. For the week Mark earned a check of $21,089, but the mistakes on Sunday definitely hurt and cost him money.
Such is the life of a professional golfer – the highs of getting into an event and playing well for most of it can quickly turn to a low with one tough round. All in all it was a successful week for Mark, and the encouragement he received from his playing partners will last a lifetime.
The grind continues for Mark Baldwin – after a dream week at Pebble Beach, there’s no time to rest as he was on to the next Monday qualifier to try and do it all over again.