Brad Adamonis stood outside the scorer’s trailer at the Travelers Championship at the Tournament Players Club at River Highlands in Cromwell, Ct. looking like a kid who had gotten his first bicycle.
The 35-year-old Rhode Island native had reason to smile after just recording his biggest payday as a professional, a check for $194,500 he received for finishing in a tie for sixth place at 13-under-par. It was his first top 25 of 2008, his first year on the PGA Tour, and it more than doubled his year’s earnings, which stood at $432,998 after The Travelers, good for 132nd place on the money list.
The cash was, of course, nice for a guy who has knocked around golf’s minor leagues since turning pro in 1996. But for the Cumberland, R.I. product, putting four stellar rounds together was perhaps even a bigger reason to smile. He fired rounds of 64 (which tied him on the opening day of play for first place), 68, 68 and 67 to finish five strokes in back of tournament winner Stewart Cink.
“Playing four good rounds certainly gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year. I was able to handle my nerves, which was a big plus. It was great to play well in front of my family and friends. My goal is to continue to play well because I need as many points as I can get to get into the Fed Ex Cup playoffs.”
Adamonis, who had about two dozen supporters from Rhode Island and elsewhere cheering him on during the final round, came into The Travelers in a bit of a slump. After a fairly solid start to his PGA Tour rookie campaign (he earned around $100,000 and made the cut in six of his first seven starts), he missed the cut in five of six tournaments before teeing it up at River Highlands. He said a little tip from his father, Dave, might have straightened him out.
“We were playing in a father/son tournament when dad noticed that I was leaving my clubface open. It was a small thing, but I began hitting the ball better right way and it has carried through. Dad started me in golf and has watched me since I first began to play. So he knows my swing inside and out.”
Adamonis, who coached the Johnson and Wales University golf team out of North Miami, Florida to the 2005 NAIA national championship, enjoyed a solid year in 2007 as a member of the Nationwide Tour. He won the WNB Golf Classic, his highest previous payday. He comes from a golfing family, and is brother Dave, oversees the United States Challenge Cup of the Junior Golf Organization.
The 6-2, 215-pound graduate of Cumberland High School (R.I.) and Miami (Ohio) University, where he received a degree in sports management, can hit the ball a ton, as witnessed by his mammoth, 340-yard drive on the final hole of The Travelers.
Adamonis is pleased to be among a gaggle of Tour pros that hail from the Ocean State. They include PGA Tour stars Brad Faxon, who missed The Traveler’s with an injury, Billy Andrade and Brett Quigley and Champions Tour standout Dana Quigley. So what it is about the little state that produces so many top golfers.
“I know I grew up following Faxon and Andrade and got inspired watching them play,” said Adamonis, who now calls Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Home. “Those are the guys I watched growing up. Another plus is that we have a great junior program that gives opportunities to a lot of kids to get into the game.”