Originally created 09/27/00

Fields happy being amateur again



You may have heard the name Todd Fields, but you can't remember where. Here's why:

The 27-year-old Fields, who led South Carolina to victory in the Regions Cup Matches that ended Sunday, was the head pro at The Club at Jones Creek for eight short months starting in October 1997.

Since leaving Jones Creek, Fields said the past 28 months "have been like a journey."

Let's see, he caddied at Augusta National for members and their guests, then caddied in eight events on the LPGA Tour in 1999 for Amy Benz, then caddied at the Golf Club of Tennessee in Nashville.

In July, he moved back to his hometown of Aiken, where he has been helping Aiken Golf Club owner and head pro Jim McNair Jr.

At the Aiken Golf Club, formerly Highland Park Golf Club, Fields handles memberships, merchandise and even works on the golf course.

As a former pro, Fields also has been helping Todd Burke, an assistant pro at the Aiken Golf Club, learn the ropes.

"It's like I'm in the business, but I'm not," Fields said. "I get to play amateur golf. It's a great combination."

When Fields got the Jones Creek head pro job in 1997, he was all of 25 years old.

"Being that age and working 70 hours a week, I didn't have a life," Fields said. "I'd always been a good player, and I wanted to play. I couldn't stand being in the shop on a 90-degree day and not being able to go out and hit it. I'd have to wait until 5 p.m. and play eight holes and go home. I couldn't do that."

After telling his father of his unhappiness, Fields' dad told him "to walk in and tell them you've had enough," Fields remembers.

That's exactly what he did.

"I told my general manager, and I was out of there in a week," Fields said. "I've never regretted it. I've struggled, but I'm glad I didn't end up staying."

When Fields regained his amateur status in March, that made him eligible for Regions Cup tournaments.

His Regions Cup debut came in mid-June, when Fields tied for second place in the Persimmon Hill/North Augusta Exchange Club Classic. He also had a tie for third at the W.M. Gregory Classic and a tie for fourth in the Perry Watson Memorial. In his other start, Fields finished tied for 24th in the Orville White Cup.

Fields ended up fourth among South Carolinians in the Regions Cup points standings, earning a spot on the South Carolina Regions Cup team. Golfers earned points based on top-20 finishes in Regions Cup events.

In the Regions Cup Matches, won by South Carolina 27'-27, Fields was the only player to earn the maximum six points.

"I surprised myself," Fields said of his season. "The competition in the Regions Cup is tremendous, so I thought I'd be one of the top 10 or 20 players."

In the first day of the Regions Cup Matches, Fields and Rick Swanson teamed to shoot 10-under par and sweep their 4-ball match with Gregg Gadapee, a former Regions Cup player of the year, and Rob Bissell. In the singles, Fields swept Crane Garren.

Fields and Swanson met in August at the Perry Watson Memorial tournament, where they hit it off immediately. It was Swanson who went to South Carolina captain Lad Wright and asked to pair him with Fields in the Regions Cup Matches.

"We have the same kind of swing and same attitude and temperament," Fields said. "Rick had a feeling that we'd be good partners. It couldn't have been a better matchup. I'm glad Lad let us play together."

LADY JAGS FUND-RAISER:

Friday is the deadline to sign up for the second annual Lady Jags' Scholarship tournament at Forest Hills Golf Club. The 18-hole captain's choice event is scheduled for Oct. 7. Entry fee is $65 per person. There will be a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

The tournament is sponsored by the Augusta chapter of the Executive Women's Golf Association and the CSRA Women's Golf Association. The groups are raising money for Augusta State's NCAA Division I women's golf team, which will field its first team in the 2001-2002 school year. Last year's tournament raised more than $3,500. This year, the two groups are hoping to raise $7,000. To sign up, pick up an applications at an area golf course or call (803) 510-3253.