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Good Sports: Tommy Masters from the Valley qualifies for the US Senior Open

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Tommy Masters of Fresno has been teaching golf for more than three decades.

“I moved to San Joaquin Country Club full-time in late 1996 and have been here ever since,” he said.

Masters, a standout junior golfer in Virginia, skipped college to turn professional.

“Of course, that wasn't the right decision on my part, but I don't regret any of my decisions,” he said.

After years of traveling on mini-tours, Masters gave up his career for a job in sales.

“In my late 20s, I fell in love with the game again, quit sales and started teaching,” he said.

Back on the pitch, the urge to become a professional returned.

Masters competed on both the Canadian Tour and the Nike Tour in the early 1990s before moving to Fresno to resume his teaching career.

“Had family down here in Clovis and just decided it was time for a change,” he said.

What has never changed, however, is Masters' desire to play on the big stage.

“I was trying to qualify for the Senior Open,” he said.

For years, Masters has tried to get into the US Senior Open via a local qualifier – one day, 18 holes to advance.

Two years ago, Masters reached a low point.

He had given up in the middle of his qualifying match at Sunnyside Country Club because his son was harassing him.

“It was the only time in my life that I left the golf course after about 14 holes while my son was working as a caddy,” he said.

After taking a break last year, Masters would return for another try.

“I'm going to do it this year,” he said. “I'm just going to take my son as a caddy no matter what I shot. I'm just going to show that I'm a man and I'm going to fight for every shot.”

After 18 holes, Masters not only qualified, he also won a medal with his lowest score of 69 and qualified for this year's US Senior Open.

“It was a difficult day – the most emotional golf day of my life,” he said

It took decades, but the game that gave him so much finally gave something back.

“I just consider it a gift in my life,” Masters said. “It was a wonderful moment for me.”

In late June, Masters heads to his first Open in Newport, Rhode Island, with his son back at the ball and a wealth of life lessons under his belt.

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