Sullivan Confident for Final Stage of 2015 Q-School

Journal Now
By John Dell

Ryan Sullivan started playing golf the way many area children have — learning from his father (Jack) and playing the par-3 course at Tanglewood Park before easing over to the big courses.
Now 25 and a first-year professional, Sullivan, a Winston-Salem native, is closer to his dream of playing the PGA Tour.

He cleared a big hurdle earlier this month when he cruised through the first stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School, and he’ll be loaded with confidence for next month’s second stage in Tampa, Fla.
When Sullivan turned pro in January after a solid career at UNC Wilmington, he planned to compete on the eGolf Tour and be in a good frame of mind when q-school started. Because he hadn’t been a pro long, he also had to endure a pre-qualifying tournament in Houston, but he made it through with no problem.

“I really felt like my physical ability was there, but I was struggling a little bit with confidence,” Sullivan said of his last few eGolf tournaments.
To fix that, he visited Mike Childress, his swing coach at Tanglewood. The two have worked together since Sullivan was 12.

“Mike just kind of got me back to where I needed to be, and that really helped me once I got to first stage,” Sullivan said. “I really felt comfortable and was ready to go once I got to Irish Creek (in Kannapolis).”

Childress said that Sullivan’s swing, like that of many others, had gotten too long in Sullivan’s bid for more yardage.

“We just worked on shortening the swing a little bit, and when he started doing that, he was hitting it square a lot more,” Childress said. “That really gave him confidence because he was hitting flush. It’s really great that he made it through the first stage, and we are all rooting for him.”
Sullivan, the Forsyth Junior Invitational champion in 2005 and ’06, played very well for four rounds at Irish Creek, shooting 11 under to tie for second. He offset seven bogeys with 18 birdies and kept his cool in a high-stress environment.

“I was frustrated because I missed a lot of putts, but I was telling some friends of mine it was really pretty stress-free golf,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s next challenge will be daunting. In the second stage, he’ll compete against PGA and tour veterans, but the reward for getting through will be status on either of the big tours for 2013.

“Getting to final stage is something that a lot of us mini-tour guys are trying to do,” Sullivan said. Sullivan, a 2007 graduate of Forsyth County Day, has been working on his game daily since the first stage ended, playing at Oak Valley and Tanglewood and working often on the range.
Growing up, Sullivan was purely a public-course player.

“I didn’t have a course as my backyard,” he said. “But I usually found a way to get to course to play whenever I could. “I’m feeling real good about my game, and I’m confident, and with me that’s a big help.”