A local golfer missed the cut at the 2019 LECOM Suncoast Classic. He's approaching the 2020 event differently.
After the first round, Seath Lauer thought he was getting the hang of things.
The Lakewood Ranch golfer finished the first day of the 2019 LECOM Suncoast Classic at one under par, tied for 70th. It was not his best round of golf, Lauer said, but overall he was happy with how he hit the ball.
If he cleaned up a few mistakes, making the cut seemed like a possibility. That would have been a win for Lauer, a former Mackenzie Tour player, who received a special exemption to play in the tournament. Lauer, 32, had not played on a professional tour in two years.
The second day didn't go his way. Lauer shot four over par for the round and missed the cut. Lauer said his shots were not that far from where he wanted them, but a ball hit too far here and too short somewhere else avalanched into a deficit he could not overcome.
Lauer is playing in the Suncoast Classic again this year — held Feb. 13-16 at Lakewood National Golf Club — and he's approaching things differently this time. He's still playing to win, of course, but he's also being realistic.
"I want to compete and play well, but I'm not expecting anything," Lauer said. "I'm just going to enjoy it. I am trying to put less pressure on myself than last year and go hole by hole. I have played a few competitive rounds recently. My game is not where I hoped it would be, but I feel like I can make some birdies, which is key at this course (Lakewood National)."
Lauer, who is a member at Lakewood National, said that last year he was surprised by the course's conditions. In his practice rounds, the course played soft and slow, but it was firmer and faster than that for the tournament.
In the lead-up to this year's event, Lauer said, the course is again playing soft and slow, but he is prepared for that to change. Lauer said he is also hoping the weather will be nice. It was 47 degrees when he teed off in the first round last year, he said, before warming up in the afternoon.
"When you don't play much anymore, that cold is huge," Lauer said. "It is harder to get a touch and a feel for things. The ball doesn't travel as far."
That plays into the biggest thing Lauer said he took away from last year's event. It is reminiscent of something Tiger Woods once said: "Find your tournament feel." He wants to get into that "head space" that led Lauer to become a captain at Florida State. He has played well in big events before. There's no reason, with his home course advantage, he cannot do it again.
Whatever the result ends up being, Lauer said, he is excited to again play in a great event. He said he was impressed by how the tournament was run last year, especially for a first-time event, and expects even bigger things this year as more fans learn about the tournament.
"It's going to be fantastic," Lauer said.