Wil Gibson continues to step up his golf game - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Wil Gibson continues to step up his golf game

Wil Gibson is one of the top amateur golfers in the area.

Monday he tied for first in the US Junior Am Qualifier.

"It feels good. Always good to compete again. It's been a while, I guess since the state championship but it was a long off-season and I'm just ready to get back out here," Gibson said.

Gibson injured his wrist, he faced adversity with the healing process.

"That was definitely tough, while I was injured to keep myself from the course. I was able to chip and putt a little bit but telling myself not to hit any was really hit because with a wrist injury like this you can not use your wrist at all, especially with hitting long shots and that was really tough for me to not do that for such a long period."

The incoming university of Arkansas freshman is healthy, and he walked us through his recipe for success at the junior pro am.

"This is my pitching wedge and this something that really helped me on Monday. Hitting it close enough to make birdies. It's always nice to have a club you can count on and knowing you're not having the best day you can always lean on that club and that's definitely what I did yesterday. I didn't feel comfortable with all my clubs. I was able to rely on a certain few to get me to where I needed to go.  Being able to hit it close to the pin and give myself birdie opportunities is really big for me and I had 8 birdies so I hit the ball pretty good and put the ball in the hole so that was the goal."

"I'm hitting a 3 iron right now. Really helped me on Monday, just off the tee when I knew 3 wood was too much club and I knew I could put this in the fairway."

"I generally hit this about 220-230 yards but off the tee if it's a short hole and I just want to get it on the fairway, it just helps me put it on the fairway. Give me a good opportunity for birdie or par. What is it about the confidence with that. Just knowing it will be on the fairway. I hit it really straight and like those slow stingers and I know it will be on the fairway so it's really just, hitting fairways is really important especially on the course on Monday at Fianna Hills. Tight course and knowing I can put it on the fairway gave me a good opportunity to score.

So you mentioned to me you were close to the pin a few times. How close were you?

"At one point I hit the pin and it went to five feet and the other time it the pin with ten feet and the other time it hit the pin and went to two feet so I hit my 9 iron on one and it was a 160 yards and I knew the ground was really hard so I knew to take less club so I hit a low draw and it hit the middle of the pin and bounced ten feet and so hopefully will do this here."

After hearing that swing do you thing it would be close to it?

"That looked like the exact same swing actually just a 5 yard draw and it hit about halfway up the pin and not, dead left."

Last week Gibson got to watch the pro's do their thing at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Even got a closer look at their swings from the driving range. 

"I think every swing is unique and I don't think there is a such thing as a perfect swing but there is definitely things you can emulate on tour especially like a swing like Adam Scott and also have people like Jim Furyk and that guy Matthew Wolff from Oklahoma State, they all have unique swings and I think if a unique swing works for you, you're pretty good."

What is the signature, how would you describe yours?

"I always had a natural swing, I never tried to change it, it's always been my swing and I think not trying to change it is a, it's got me this far, so no point in changing it."

And he's got a short game as well.

"Saved a lot of pars so I really know I can count on my sixty degree to get up and down and save my pars and it is definitely something I need to have in a round like yesterday because it keeps me going and I know I can stay confident with it."

I notice you have a really tight stance, has it always been like that ?

"Yeah I've always kept my feet a little open for the flow but really it's always been like that. Same routine. Just picking a spot out on the green and knowing how much it's going to release to the hole. 

"Lee Brun taught me and he used to be a real good baseball player and he's always told me to pitch the baseball and I've always done that and just doing the same routine all the time it just keeps me consistent and that is a big part of chipping, being consistent and knowing you can land a ball on a certain spot and know it is going to be around the pin."

Is this where it all counts?

"It is definitely where you make your money. Definitely big for me to put is good as I did on Monday but it gave me a lot of confidence too. I know I can put it on the green and make some birdies and so it gave me the confidence that I knew I'd be able to qualify."

"Hey really on putts like these that really break a lot, pick a spot, just ride the pole, don't pay attention to the hole, just look at that spot and let the break take you to the hole."

So in your bag, you know what irons you have, you walk up, you hit it, but when you are on the green, you really have to study and understand the way it is shaped, the distance between you and the hole, what's that like?

"It is definitely a different part of the game and just understand how the green works and really the speed of the greens and knowing you'll be able to put together a pretty good stroke and put the ball in the hole, it's just a different part of the game, hitting a stroke, hitting the ball. 

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