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Piercy cherishes chance to compete in elite field

The idea of winning $10 million for one weekend of playing golf always has been a fantasy for Scott Piercy.

But it’s no longer a dream. The Bonanza High School product is in the 30-player field for the Tour Championship, which starts today in Atlanta. Piercy, who won the Canadian Open in late July and has earned $2,375,630 this year, was the last player to qualify.

But now that he’s in, the 33-year-old has the same opportunity as Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the 26 others, including Henderson’s Nick Watney, who is ranked No. 3, heading into the opening round at East Lake Golf Club.

Former UNLV stars Adam Scott (No. 21) and Ryan Moore (No. 28) are also in the field.

Whoever wins the FedEx Cup playoffs earns a $10 million bonus. A lot of things have to fall into place for Piercy to be the last man standing. But his focus is on playing well and worrying about the things he can control, like keeping the ball in the fairway and making putts.

“I always wanted to be in this position,” said Piercy, who will be in this morning’s first group playing with John Senden at
8:35 a.m. “I’m playing well, and it’s nice to see the results from all the training.”

Piercy played his college golf at San Diego State and turned pro in 2001. He spent the first nine years grinding it out between the PGA Tour and the then-Nationwide Tour. But after making some adjustments to his swing a couple of years ago and starting to cash bigger checks, Piercy’s confidence started to grow.

“The last 15 months have been pretty strong,” he said. “I know where the ball’s going and it’s taken the guessing game out of play.”

Piercy won the Reno-Tahoe Open a year ago for his first Tour victory. That helped give him some financial peace of mind.

“I had gotten frustrated,” Piercy said of his inability to break through before last year. “I had the talent, but I just hadn’t been as consistent as I needed to be.”

But as he found more comfort with his swing and trusted his mechanics, Piercy began to elevate his game. Twice this year he shot a 10-under-par 62. The second time helped him eventually win the Canadian Open and get him into position to make the top 30.

“I’m really proud of the consistency I have now,” Piercy said. “Being a dad, you have to be patient. I know I don’t have to kill it off the tee. I’m a little older and a little wiser now. I wish I had this knowledge and patience back when I was 20 (years old).”

In years past, Piercy would be getting ready to play the Tour’s Fall Series, which includes the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. But he won’t have as much time to prepare this year as he goes after the big money. Still, Piercy figures to be someone to keep an eye on when the Shriners Open begins Oct. 4 at TPC Summerlin.

“It’s a course I’m pretty familiar with,” said Piercy, who has been in contention two of the last three years but failed to close the deal and wound up tied for 14th in 2009 and tied for 10th in 2011. “It’s a great tournament for a great cause, and you always want to win at home.”

Piercy said a win at TPC Summerlin would be the fairy-tale ending to his best season as a pro. But first things first.

“It’s exciting to be in this position,” he said of his current top-30 status. “It’s all new to me. I just want to take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy the weekend.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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