Golf | Seath Lauer's 'mature game' ready for Canadian PGA Tour season

SARASOTA -- Seath Lauer's career in golf was at a crossroads.

The game was no longer fun for the former Florida State University and Lakewood Ranch High standout.

He needed a break from the grind that is professional golf without major tour status.

"I was just kind of tapped out in terms of mentally, the grind money-wise week to week, and things were just a struggle," said Lauer about leaving the professional game last year. "I just didn't like the place that I was in."

So Lauer, entering the latter part of his 20s, stepped away, taking an office job at Atlas Insurance in Sarasota.

But Lauer's competitive juices still flowed, and he found his way back, thanks to a Laurel Oak Country Club member who sponsored him beginning last fall.

While Lauer can't reveal the member's name because of the terms of their agreement, the move enabled him to cut off distractions away from the course.

It helped him qualify for the 2015 Canadian PGA Tour.

Lauer finished tied for 11th after a 4-under-par 284 total for a 72-hole qualifying tournament that ended May 8 at Crown Isle Resort & Golf Club in Courtenay, Canada.

The top 44 players earned status for the 2015 season, which begins May 28 in Vancouver.

"I hit it great," Lauer said. "Short game is still lacking a little bit, but I think a little bit up there was the different types of grass. Greens weren't quite matured yet. ... They have what they call poa annua grass up there. It's just bumpy. It's an adjustment."

That short game has been Lauer's Achilles' heel, while his ball striking and penchant for smashing the ball a long way are his strengths.

"I hit three drivers at qualifying for four days, but I like that style of golf," Lauer said. "It's either I like a bomber's paradise or I like something short and tight, because I can hit my irons pretty far. ... I was shocked up there at how far it was going. Some 2-irons were rolling out and going 275 (yards)."

Lauer recently attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open, too.

While he didn't earn one of the few spots available at the local qualifier held at TPC Prestancia with his 72, something happened in the final nine this past Monday that might not have happened if not for the break from golf.

Lauer fired a 33 on his last nine to get back to even-par, rather than letting a tough start deter his round.

"I'm just more mature this year playing golf," Lauer said. "(Monday), I would have shot 75 or (7)6. Instead, I shot 72. ... In my mind, I was like, 'I don't want to shoot over par.' And that's kind of where my game is at now versus where it could've been a couple years ago."

While golf is always a work in progress, Lauer is at a more comfortable level with his game and career. He advanced to the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School in 2010, his rookie professional season.

"I don't have to worry about things outside of the golf course anymore," Lauer said.

That means focusing on the course, and the plan is to play all 12 Canadian Tour events. The top five at the end of the season's money list get Tour status, while the top 40 earn an exemption into the Tour Qualifying School's second stage.