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Adams Havens
Adams Havens chips onto the 8th green Wednesday, June 10, 2009, during Match Play at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal. (The Pantagraph, CARLOS T. MIRANDA)

BLOOMINGTON — It would be difficult for Adam Havens to top his golf experience at the famous TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course last November.

Winning a Bloomington-Normal city tournament might qualify.

The 30-year-old Havens won’t have far to go Saturday when he tees off in the qualifying round for the Bloomington-Normal Medal Play Tournament at Prairie Vista Golf Course. Havens and his wife, Katie, live across the street from Prairie Vista’s 17th green.

Havens teamed with fellow Bloomington-Normal golfers Jordan Carpenter, Brandon Holtz and Dustin Wickenhauser to win the National Fellowship of Christian Athletes Golf Classic title in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.. They shot 46-under-par in a scramble format for 54 holes, going eagle-birdie-birdie on the closing three holes at the Stadium Course.

“I would say the last three holes were the most fun I’ve had in golf,” said Havens, as Carpenter hit his tee shot a foot away on the 17th hole with the island green. “It was the nicest course I’ve ever played. It was so perfect.”

Havens, who shot 64 two weeks ago at Prairie Vista, has steadily progressed into a factor in city tournaments. He played golf for Bloomington High School, but didn’t try out for the team when he went to Southern Illinois University.

Two years ago, Havens made the Match Play championship flight semifinals before losing to eventual champion Kyle Bragg. Havens fell in last year’s second round to Kyle English, who went on to win the title.

“I’ve got a problem with Kyles,” said Havens.

Havens has always been one of the longest hitters in Bloomington-Normal. More importantly, he’s finding the fairway more often.

“It might not seem like it, but I think I’ve slowed down my swing a little bit,” he said. “I finally realized to sacrifice some distance to keep it in play. I don’t lose quite as many dozen golf balls as I used to.”

Havens runs his own marketing firm for public speakers and entertainers out of his house. He got into that business through his father, Rex, and older brother, Jeff, who are both public speakers/comedians.

When the weather is good, Havens can zip over to Prairie Vista and work on his game before returning to finish his business at night. But that isn’t the only reason Havens seems to be playing the best golf of his life.

“When you’re younger you put a lot more pressure on yourself to do well, and if you don’t you beat yourself up,” he said. “As soon as you get maybe the age I’m at now you’re more into having fun and being outside and playing golf. There’s not as much pressure. You just enjoy it more.”

Signup continues: As of Thursday afternoon, about 50 golfers had registered for qualifying. Prairie Vista officials said they would accept signups until 10 a.m. Saturday.

Golfers have to live or work in Bloomington-Normal, belong to a Bloomington-Normal club or be a season-ticket holder in order to play. The maximum entry fee is $83, which includes all tourney greens fees. Matches begin Sunday, with the 36-hole championship flight finale on June 20.

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