As Grant Hirschman made his way around the course at TPC Southwind, a group of supporters who’ve watched him chip and putt since he was a little kid in Collierville followed his every shot.
His mother, Lisa, and several family members wore Oklahoma hats that had “Go Grant” on the left side. A few more in the group had Oklahoma shirts.
Just one week ago, Hirschman played with the Sooners in the NCAA men’s golf championships. Now, he was in his first PGA Tour event surrounded by people that watched him grow up, at a venue that he’s played for years.
“This is what he’s always dreamed of,” said Lisa Hirschman. “It’s a culmination for him since he was on the Junior Tour at 6 years old.”
“After that I was good,” Hirschman said Friday. “I knew going into it that first hole would be nerve-racking and today I was fine.”
Close to 30 high school classmates and teachers from St. George’s showed up Thursday. Hirschman had a smaller group of supporters during Friday’s second round, but they made their presence known during two of Hirschman’s best moments.
When he converted a 37-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 14th hole following a bogey on No. 13, his family shouted “Way to go, Grant!” as he briefly acknowledged them.
“It’s definitely motivated me a little bit to get them cheering, so it’s been fun,” Hirschman said.
Adding to the familiarity is caddie Jonathan Fly, who might just be Hirschman’s secret weapon. Fly and his family not only live in the Southwind community surrounding the golf course, but the Memphis alum also received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the 2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Hirschman has leaned heavily on Fly’s experience.
“He knows this place probably better than anybody here and he’s been telling me where to hit it and that’s all I can ask for,” Hirschman said.
His father, Kerry, said that starting next week, Hirschman plans to play on the Mackenzie Tour, which is Canada’s professional golf tour.
For now, though, Hirschman is just happy to be back home.
“It’s definitely been nice to sleep in my own bed playing in my first pro event,” he said.