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CHAMPIONS TOUR


there which was out of bounds. Not only did I not hit the tent, I hit it left of the tent, so that’s how nervous I was.” This was the start of a decade-plus


period where he became the King of Q-School, reaching the final 13 times and earning a PGA TOUR card a record nine times. Interspersed was great doubt about golf as a career, with stints at a club job at


« I LOVE COMING OUT HERE ON A DAY LIKE THIS AND YOU PLAY HARD, YOU PRACTICE, AND THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT. » – Michael Allen


famed Winged Foot Golf Club in 1995, a teaching role in Arizona the next year, mini-tour golf, a Nationwide Tour return and brief forays into medical sales, as a building contractor and the old reliable stockbroker post. He made such a small wage for a few years that health insurance was unaffordable for his wife and two daughters. “All of a sudden you realized how hard it


is in the real world to make a living,” Allen said. “I appreciate everybody out there that makes a hundred-thousand—or anything. To put money on your table for a family is a very hard thing in the world.” Aside from the brief European success,


a win at the 1998 Greater Austin Open on the Nationwide Tour and Q-School consistency, Allen’s biggest achievement may have come in 2009 when he turned


50 and was offered a sponsor exemption for the


Senior


PGA


C hampions hip. Relying on


the


instruction of teacher Mike Mitchell, a new physical fitness routine that includes stretching and massages,


a long putter and a laid-back approach, Allen faced those same intimidating faces at old-school Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland. Allen started with 74 and came back with three scorching rounds in the 60s to win his first Champions Tour start at a major.


h t


“It was amazing euphoria, I couldn’t even sleep that night,” Allen said. “This was something that I’ve been working for, for quite a while. And I’ve been very close to it for quite a while.”


Now he faces expectations. The five majors within a two-month window offer double Charles Schwab Cup points. So a big lead like Allen’s 350-point advantage can disintegrate faster than you can forget Allen’s name. Last year, Lehman had a similar large lead at this point in the season and barely beat Mark Calcavecchia for the Charles Schwab Cup title, leading you to think the 2012 title will come down to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship Nov. 1-4 at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, AZ. Also in June was a spot earned through qualifying for the U.S. Open, a dream he has held since scoring


he D in DOUBLE POINTS


The five major championships over the next two months offer double the amount of Charles Schwab Cup points for top-10 finishers. Here are the majors and their double points for first place (points are based on every $1,000 earned being the equivalent of one point). The season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship also awards double points to the entire 30-man field.


DATE


MAY 24-27 JUNE 7-10


JUNE 28-JULY 1 JULY 12-15 JULY 26-29


www.pgatour.com TOURNAMENT


SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIP REGIONS TRADITION


CONSTELLATION SENIOR PLAYERS U.S. SENIOR OPEN


SENIOR BRITISH OPEN FIRST-PLACE POINTS


720 660 810 940 632


an autograph from Arnold Palmer at the 1966 Open at The Olympic Club. “I feel I can still play on the PGA


TOUR, but this is wonderful,” Allen said. “I’m having a great time, able to make a good living and enjoying what I do. I love coming out here on a day like this and you play hard, you practice, and this is what it’s about. I mean you’re a little nervous, yeah, but that’s what’s fun.” ■


PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2012 43


Michael Allen qualified for the U.S. Open at his home course, The Olympic Club.


© GETTY IMAGES/ GREGORY SHAMUS/ MICHAEL COHEN; PGA TOUR/ CHRIS CONDON; COURTESY GARY KELLNER/DIMPLED ROCK


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