The way Dublin native and PGA Tour rookie Chris Wilson sees it, the extensive travel required of a Midwesterner to play during the early months of the PGA Tour's annual schedule wasn't the reason for his struggles.

The way Dublin native and PGA Tour rookie Chris Wilson sees it, the extensive travel required of a Midwesterner to play during the early months of the PGA Tour's annual schedule wasn't the reason for his struggles.

"Flying beats driving," he said of the grueling January-April stretch in which tournaments are held everywhere from Hawaii to Arizona to Florida and various points in between. "Being on the mini-tours (including the Hooters Tour in 2008 and '09), I found it was much harder driving, obviously."

Wilson, a 2003 Dublin Coffman High School graduate, made just four cuts in his first 10 starts with earnings of $45, 250 through the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April. Still, the 25-year-old has had his moments, and several of those came during the tour's West Coast swing.

His best finish through 10 events was a tie for 52nd place in late January at the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif. He carded scores in the 60s in three of the five rounds to finish at 14-under-par 346 in his second start of the season and third of his career, with his PGA Tour debut coming at last year's Memorial Tournament on a sponsor's exemption.

Three weeks later, Wilson made another cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He tied the back-nine record at Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of four used during the tournament, with a 30 en route to a second-round 67 on one of the world's most recognizable courses.

He finished 2-under at Pebble Beach to tie for 56th and 1-under to tie for 61st at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun in El Camaleon Riviera Maya, Mexico. Armed with considerable length off the tee, he was tied for 31st in driving distance (283.1 yards) as recently as mid-April.

"I wish the golf was a little better, but so far the experiences I've had playing out here has been really great," he said. "It's been awesome, everything I thought and hoped it would be."

He voiced the same reaction when asked of his performance at last year's Memorial, where he carded rounds of 79-77 to miss the cut by eight strokes.

"The golf was tough, but the experience was unforgettable," Wilson said. "It's a huge reason I finally got my (playing) card."

That came, officially, when Wilson survived qualifying school on his third try last December. He made it sound as if playing Muirfield Village Golf Club in front of hometown fans last spring, however, was far more difficult that navigating his way through six intense rounds during the final stage of qualifying school. Wilson shot 72-74-67-67-71-69 for a 12-under 420 total at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. He tied for 12th place as 25 players either earned or earned back their playing cards for 2010.

"If I can play on that stage, everything else pales in comparison," he said at the time in Florida, referring to the Memorial. "I felt more pressure at the Memorial than I did here today."

His former coach at Coffman, Jim Duffy, isn't surprised to see Wilson now contending against the best players in the world. Wilson played in the Division I state tournament all four years, qualifying as an individual when he was a sophomore in 2000. As a team, the Shamrocks placed third in 2002 and seventh in both 1999 and 2001. Wilson was a top-10 individual finisher at the state meet three times.
Several players from those teams received college scholarships as Wilson did from Northwestern University, where he graduated with a degree in communications studies in 2007. Ryan Siekmann, who remains a close friend, went on to play at Ohio University, for example.

"Whether he shot 70 or 80, even then you could really appreciate the skills Chris had," said Duffy, who is now retired and living in northeastern Ohio. "We knew that was his goal. He was always very driven, a self-motivated kind of player. He was mature for his age, and he liked to practice. That's a big key right there.

Wilson, a former Big Ten medalist, was the second alternate for the Quail Hollow Championship earlier this month in Charlotte, N.C., where he didn't make the field. He was entered in the next event, the Valero Texas Open, and also said he would play the May 20-23 HP Byron Nelson Championship. Ditto for the St. Jude Classic June 10-13. He's trying to qualify for next month's U.S. Open as well.
"I'm playing as much as I can," said Wilson, a former Ohio Amateur champion who is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds.

During his time off, Wilson, one of 18 rookies playing on the PGA Tour this season, is writing an occasional blog for During a March 18 entry, he estimated his travel at 18,370 miles, although up to that point he had spent only 20 nights in a hotel.

"I knew a lot of people close to tournaments I stayed with, BIG thanks to all of them," he wrote, adding that he had just returned to central Ohio and slept in his own bed for the first time since Jan. 3.

Fans also can follow Wilson on Twitter under the name "TheRealCWilson." He has more than 850 followers, and he made sure to tweet while playing a round at Muirfield Village on April 15, after paying his taxes earlier in the day of course. Wilson even included a picture of his ball in the cup after holing out from 139 yards at the par-4 10th hole for an eagle.

Wilson, who also played baseball and basketball growing up in Dublin, is an only child and still resides at home with his parents, Bobbie and Ed Wilson, when he isn't living out of a suitcase somewhere.

"I couldn't survive without them - financially, emotionally or spiritually," Chris said. "I have the best parents a guy could have in my situation."