SAN ANTONIO (March 24, 2015) – Our Lady of the Lake University's Ian Berrigan, 19, was one stroke away from an automatic berth and becoming one of the youngest players to compete at the Valero Texas Open (VTO). Berrigan posted a personal best 5-under 67 through 18 holes at The Club at Comanche Trace-Hills/Creeks in Kerrville, Texas, to send him into a playoff with two other golfers for a spot in the VTO.
Competing against PGA golfers J.J. Killeen and Thomas Birdsey, Berrigan fell short of making the cut for the VTO.
Berrigan made it through the VTO Pre-Qualifier on March 19 to earn a spot in the VTO Qualifier.
He said, "I went into it not expecting much. It was my first pro event. I was nervous just signing up for the Pre-Qualifier. I was ecstatic to have made it that far to begin with."
On Monday, Berrigan teed off with some of the world's best golfers.
"It was a whole new experience. I looked down the range at guys warming up and I recognized their faces from TV," Berrigan said. "I would turn and think, 'That guy has made millions on tour.' It was just crazy being next to them and going toe to toe with the top .01% of the world's best players."
Despite the level of competition, something took over Berrigan.
"Through the course and as I was playing I felt different," he said. "I just knew I had a chance."
After the 18 holes he had exactly that – a chance. Berrigan's 67 put him in a three-way tie for third in the competition with the second lowest score of the day. A playoff would be needed to determine the final spots in the VTO.
In the playoff Berrigan mentioned that his nerves got the best of him. After a drawing to determine the order, Berrigan would shoot second.
"The first guy stepped up to the tee and absolutely destroyed it down the fairway," he said. "When I went up, I couldn't even think straight, I just went up and swung."
The ball hooked left, and the 19-year-old knew it was over.
"I was tearing up. I felt like I blew it," he said. "I was absolutely gutted."
When it ended, Killeen and Birdsey congratulated him and told him to keep his head up high which meant a lot to Berrigan.
"In the end I just felt blessed to be there," he said. "That was the biggest moment of my life."
Alongside Berrigan was his father and caddie, David, who said, "It was just an awesome day. It goes along with the birth of your kids and your wedding day – the best days of your life – and that was definitely one of the best days of my life."
The journey has not been easy for the Helotes, Texas, native. Last fall, Berrigan suffered a broken arm that kept him away from the course for over a month. Doubts began to sink in as it was the third time he had sustained the same injury.
"Looking back at the injury, when it happened I thought I was done with golf," he said.
Previously, doctors had informed Berrigan that a similar injury to his arm would likely come with long term bone strength issues. Berrigan assured that he feels lucky to recover so quickly and get back out on the course.
"To think that I'd be where I am now after sustaining that injury, I never would have thought it," he said. "It has to be Divine Providence. There's no way that this is just me, or my coaches, or my golf game. There's more to it than that."
According to Berrigan, the experience will now carry over into the rest of his collegiate career at OLLU.
"Hopefully this will give us something to strive as a team, and my teammates will start relying on me a bit more to post some scores now that I'm more comfortable," he said. "Wearing an OLLU shirt out on the course I know that I can represent the school in a really good way."
He concluded, "I would just like to say thank you for all the support to everyone that has been there for me since day one, but most importantly all the glory goes to God."