Adam Wennerstrom didn’t need long to shake the rust off.
Roughly four years removed from having played in a competitive golf tournament, Wennerstrom fired a 2-under 69 to finish in a tie for third and one shot back at the first qualifier for the Firecracker Open on Monday at Lions Municipal Golf Course.
“Today, the goal is just to qualify,” Wennerstrom said. “You’re just keeping everything out in front of you. Keep it simple.”
Wennerstrom, who played his college golf at the University of Texas, was on the team when the Longhorns won the national championship in 2012. It was a monumental moment in UT’s proud golf history. The program claimed its third national title and its first since legends Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite led the Longhorns to back-to-back wins in the early 1970s.
That championship team in 2012 is best remembered for having three-time major winner and world No. 5-ranked Jordan Spieth on it.
Six years have passed since then, and the 28-year-old Wennerstrom, a Lake Travis High School alumnus, is now the CEO of Austin-based ACW Real Estate Solutions. But his passion for playing competitive golf still looms large.
“I wanted a little break after college and after playing professionally. It’s kind of feeling about the right time,” Wennerstrom said. “The one thing that’s kind of got me motivated about playing amateur golf is that you can go win the U.S. Mid-Am and you got a ticket to the Masters. So that’s kind of the ultimate goal.”
Wennerstrom gained his amateur status back in March and now has his sights set on making a name for himself in the Austin amateur golf circuit. He said he wants to play in plenty of local events this summer and see where his game is at, then eventually start to play in bigger tournaments.
“You have some opportunities to really put your name out there and get back,” Wennerstrom said. “I want to get back into Austin golf. I feel like I kind of got lost in the fray over a couple years. Like hey guys, I’m still a good player. I’m still in Austin, and I want to be part of some of these things. I want to be a part of that conversation again.”
Monday’s Firecracker qualifier at “Muny” was Wennerstrom’s first audition back into the Austin golf scene conversation, and he certainly made the most of it.
Wennerstrom played his first 10 holes in 1 over and was in fine position. But then he started to turn it on. He made three consecutive birdies to vault him to 2 under on his round.
“That really settled me in,” Wennerstrom said. “It’s like, OK, now I can go after it. The golf course is gettable for sure. You hit good golf shots, you can take advantage of it.”
At the difficult par-4 16th, a hole that the legendary Ben Hogan once claimed didn’t have a fairway, Wennerstrom’s approach shot landed just short of the green. But he failed to get up and down and made a bogey to fall back to 1 under.
“I like where (my game) is,” Wennerstrom said. “Just overall, I responded really well to a couple tough spots, gave myself a lot of good opportunities. I feel like I can put a really good number out at the Firecracker and give (myself) a chance. And ultimately, if you’re an Austin golfer, you want to put your name on that trophy.”
For the full results from Monday’s Firecracker Open qualifier, click here:
The 2018 Firecracker Open takes place June 30-July 2 at Lions Municipal Golf Course.