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Schultz trying to find his place in the professional landscape

FARGO -- The game of golf knocked David Schultz to the canvas, so to speak, to the point where he didn't pick up a club for three months this winter.

The game was no longer fun, he said, especially late last fall when he was just one year removed from almost making the PGA Tour. He finished 33rd on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2009, just eight spots from getting his PGA Tour card.

He fell to No. 108 last year and lost his status for exemption to all Nationwide events. He was down, but not knocked out.

At 28 years old, he's fighting back.

"There are no guaranteed contracts in golf, that's for sure," Schultz said. "That's the exciting thing about it, too. Everyone is on a one-year deal. You need to stay motivated and you need to stay focused and just know that it's a long career and not to get discouraged."

Schultz and Fargo North graduate Josh Persons are playing the eGolf Professional Tour based in North Carolina. Persons is 115th on the money list at 3,934.17 and Schultz 126th at $3,579.42. Schultz has played in three of the eight tournaments and Persons made the cut in two of four tournaments.

Persons tied for 16th last weekend in the River Hill Classic in Lake Wylie, S.C., shooting a final-round 64. Schultz tied for 19th with four rounds between 68 and 72.

"I'm having fun playing golf again," he said. "I couldn't say that last October. Some of the veterans I've talked to say that if you play pro golf long enough, you'll go backward at some point.

"I didn't want it to happen but it's been a little adjustment this year. It's not something I wanted to go through but maybe I needed to go through to make me better for the long run."

This year is all geared toward PGA Qualifying School in October, so Schultz plans on picking up the tournament pace in July and August.

He's hoping to play in the Canadian Tour Players Cup in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in mid-July. Some Dakotas Tour events are a possibility.

It will be a different approach than previous years when he played in PGA tour Monday qualifiers racking up frequent flier miles. The qualifiers are not easy, usually drawing a full field of players in a one-day shootoff for four spots in the PGA tournament.

One bogey usually ends all hope of making it.

"I don't think I'm scratching for experience," Schultz said.

Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.