May 14, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: Allcorn did not compete in the NCAA Stillwater Regional due to injury.
By JERRY HILL
Baylor Bear Insider
At a time when most Baylor graduating seniors already had jobs lined up or were at least beating the bushes with resumes in hand, Bill Allcorn took a six-week break to decide his future.
Over the Christmas break, the senior golfer from Abilene, Texas, put his clubs away and tried to "decide what I wanted to do after school."
"And not playing, taking a break from it, I realized that I missed it too much," said Allcorn, coming off a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championships, where he shot 1-under-par 279 at the difficult Prairie Dunes Golf and Country Club layout in Hutchinson, Kan. "I had been praying about it for a while, and it just felt like that's what I wanted to do and what I needed to do."
Since making the decision to turn pro, Allcorn has posted three top-10 finishes and led the Bears with a 73.24-stroke average this spring going into the NCAA South Central Regional that begins Thursday at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
"That really motivated me and pushed me to just keep practicing as hard as I could," said Allcorn, "because I knew that I had to do it for a living after this. So I just kind of dedicated myself back to practicing as much as I should have been all along. And I've really seen a lot of success from that."
If Allcorn needed confirmation, it came at the Big 12 Championships. With a field that included eight of the top 40 collegiate players in the country, he led through the first 54 holes and was one of just two players that shot under par for the tournament.
"I know now that I'm capable of pretty much winning every tournament I come into," he said. "I feel like I gained a lot of confidence."
"He just kept it in play," said Baylor coach Greg Priest. "You stay out of trouble and hit some greens and 2-putt. And that's what he did. He's got the game. He can be 3-over and have four holes left to play, and he can birdie out and shoot 1-under. That's the type of kid he is."
Since both of his parents graduated from Baylor, Allcorn has always been a fan. But when Priest replaced Tim Hobby as Baylor's golf coach, "I didn't dismiss Baylor completely, but I looked elsewhere and wasn't even sure if I wanted to play golf in college. But when this opportunity came about, it just felt right."
Battling to earn a spot on the team, Allcorn redshirted his first year and then played in just six tournaments the next season. But his game began to blossom as a third-year sophomore, when he shared medalist honors at the SFA Crown Classic, posted another top-10 finish at the Oklahoma Intercollegiate and tied for 11th at the Big 12 Championships, playing on that same Prairie Dunes course.
A four-putt double-bogey on the final hole, though, cost him another top-10 finish and All-Tournament honors.
"It's a great golf course," he said. "I love the way it sets up for me. It's not that long, and I love the links style of the course. The greens are kind of tricky, but I was fortunate to roll the ball well both times I've played there."
Through his first three seasons at Baylor, Allcorn had posted two top-10 finishes, eight others in the top 20 and a stroke average of 75.01. He's definitely saved his best for last.
With Baylor winning its first two tournaments in the fall, Allcorn tied for 15th at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate in Alabama and came back to tie for third at 3-under-par 141 at the Hartford Hawks Invitational in North Falmouth, Mass.
"It's been a great year," said Allcorn, a four-time Academic All-Big 12 pick who will graduate Saturday with a BBA degree in economics. "I actually had some success early last semester . . . so I felt real confident. And then I had a couple hiccups at the end of last semester. But it's really been a lot of fun this year."
Allcorn, who didn't make it out of a U.S. Open qualifier on Monday in San Antonio, has been invited to play in the prestigious British Amateur in June and will begin his pro career at the $100,000 Avid Golf Classic, an Adams Golf Tour event that will be held June 30-July 3 at Gunter, Texas.
His grind will continue through October and the PGA Qualifying School.
"What really helped was that break over Christmas," he said. "I literally kept my clubs in the travel bag and didn't even look at them. And that was great. I think I've learned now how to manage that time better. Because all I did was work out and play basketball and have fun. It was good to get away from it, so I think I've learned to manage my time better with golf."
The Bears are seeded eighth at the 13-team South Central Regional, with the top five teams advancing to the NCAA Championships that will be held May 27-30 in Toledo, Ohio.
Joining Allcorn on the team are freshman Joakim Mikkelsen, sophomores Austin Berkovsky and Cody Paladino and junior Colton Williams, a 2008 All-Big 12 pick who's been slowed this season by a knee injury.
"If we can just keep it in play and avoid the big numbers, we'll have a chance," Priest said. "And when you get over par, don't freak out. Just hang in there and keep battling and keep going. The big thing is we need all five of them to contribute. If you go out there and play four-legged, there's no room for error with any of those other guys. And they know that."