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Golf Galaxy Employee Qualifies for PGA Tour After Nerve-Wracking Playoff

Golf Galaxy Employee Qualifies for PGA Tour After Nerve-Wracking Playoff

Hoagland, Indiana - After drinking three beers to calm his nerves and overcoming four opponents in an eight-hole playoff, Golf Galaxy staffer Nick Bienz earned a spot in this week's Rocket Mortgage Classic PGA Tour tournament. It's a tale of anxiety and tenacity.


The 27-year-old Bienz, a Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) alum, was atop the leaderboard after firing a bogey-free 7-under 65 during Monday's qualifier at The Orchards Golf Club in Washington, Michigan. However, with multiple groups still on the course, he faced an anxious wait to see if he would advance.



Overcome with stress, Bienz headed to the bar while the final groups finished. "I need every ounce of alcohol right now to calm the nervous system and not try to vomit on myself," he told golf reporter Ryan French.


Bienz has worked at Golf Galaxy to fund his pro career, arriving early or staying late to practice. He had come close to qualifying for events before but never had the lead going into the clubhouse. With only enough clothes packed for Monday, he was desperate for a change in luck.


“I think I play better when I don’t have any expectations, to the point where I didn’t even bring any clothes beyond today,” Bienz told the PGA Tour.


“I had to go buy underwear and socks last night because I ran out of those.”


‘I have to call my boss’


After emptying his system of three beers, Bienz joined four others in a playoff. A nail-biting war ensued over eight extra holes, with Bienz firing brilliant drives to keep pace. On the eighth playoff hole, he tapped in a winning par putt to clinch his first PGA Tour start.


"I don't remember hitting the putt. I know that sounds really crazy, but I don’t remember hitting the putt on 18 in regulation either to make birdie. Once it hit, I was like, ‘This is surreal." a still in disbelief Bienz told the PGA Tour. He will now test his game against the game's best, including world #1 Scottie Scheffler, at Detroit Golf Club this week.


“No matter what happens – if I shoot 80-80 the first round and I miss the cut – at least I can hold my head up high and say, ‘You finally did it, you finally got into one,’” he said.


“It’s stupid to say it’s all gravy because, obviously, if you want to play professionally, you can’t just get to the PGA Tour, you have to play well on the PGA Tour.”


Bienz will have to call out of work at Golf Galaxy to fulfill his new playing commitments. His victory captured the golf world's attention, with four-time PGA Tour winner Kevin Kisner demanding Bienz as his partner “Pair him with me”. Bienz will now look to prove he has the game to compete at the sport's highest level.



“I Facetimed my fiancée in the cart on the way back and she was sobbing, couldn’t get words out … The first thing she said to me she was like, ‘You’re famous,” Bienz added.


“’I was like, ‘What does that even mean, it’s a Monday qualifier?’ She couldn’t get many words out, but she was like, ‘I’m proud of you."


“I have to call my boss and call off work tomorrow for sure,” he laughed. “I’m supposed to be there 7:30 in the morning and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”



Read more: Dutch Golfers Denied Chance to Compete at Paris Olympics


How did Nick Bienz's colleagues at Golf Galaxy react to his sudden success


All the guys at the Golf Galaxy where Nick works have been so supportive of him. They've got to be stoked that one of their own made it to the big show.


When his story of calming his nerves with a few beers went viral, Golf Galaxy totally celebrated with him. They were probably so excited to see a coworker reach the highest level in golf.


His crazy qualification story even had people talking about beer companies sponsoring him because of the whole bar visit before the playoff. While nothing's set in stone, you can tell his pals are pumped at the opportunities opening up for him.


Now that Nick is going toe-to-toe with the Tour pros, you know his buddies at Golf Galaxy have his back all the way. Sure, they know it'll be no walk in the park. But they're still riding so hard for their guy, proud as hell to see him representing the shop on a huge stage.


It's awesome to see a community really come together behind someone chasing their dreams. You can feel the energy of everyone at Golf Galaxy believing in Nick. Their boy is going places, and they'll be cheering him on the whole way.






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With a background in digital media and a passion for golf culture, Emily scours the internet and PGA/LPGA tour circuits for the most entertaining, shocking, and bizarre stories about professional golfers. She is skilled at curating viral golf content, from Instagram antics to tournament controversies, and turning them into shareable, humorous articles. Her readers appreciate her ability to find the fun and humor in the world of elite golf.

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