Perspective comes with age, and Las Vegas’ Craig Barlow, now 50, has gained knowledge and wisdom during his life and career. He used it to earn low medalist honors and qualify for the 2023 U.S. Senior Open to be played June 27-July 2 at Sentry World in Wisconsin.
“I am definitely excited, and I look forward to taking the experiences that I’ve had in the past to Wisconsin in seven weeks,” said Barlow, the day after shooting 6-under 65 at the U. S. Senior Open qualifier Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland. “It will be nice knowing what to expect and realizing things that I would like to do differently. To now have another crack at trying to use experience on my side will be cool. Every U.S. Open I played in was definitely a learning experience. I always felt like I tried harder than I needed to and I tried to be too perfect. You have to play good golf, but it’s just golf. A U.S. Open is about being smart when you’re out of position and trying to take advantage when you are in position. It is easy to get caught up in trying to do too much in those things.”
Barlow played in six U.S. Open events during his PGA Tour career when made 170 overall cuts. He made three cuts in the national championship, with a best finish of T26 in 2006. This will be his first PGA Tour event since the 2018 Sanderson Farms when he missed the cut and his first PGA Tout Champions event.
Since retiring from the PGA Tour, he has enjoyed his time as the director of instruction at the High-Performance Golf Institute at Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas. Leading up to the Open, he will teach some, get in a little better shape and hone his game.
While he admitted that he is a different player on the course, he also understands that off the course and in between shots he has evolved.
“I read a quote the other day that said, ‘Try to find something beautiful in every day,'” Barlow said. “During this event, I was looking at the trees and I remember it was beautiful weather. I think that only comes with age. When you are 30 years old, you don’t look at things like that. I am going to go there just smiling and excited and appreciating everything. No doubt, I want to play well and I will grind, but there will be more to it than that.”
Leading up to the qualifier, Barlow was playing well. He shot 63 during Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame Day at Las Vegas National Golf Club and then 66 at TPC Summerlin the following day.
Then he arrived early in Portland and stayed with his college roommate, Jay Poletiek who is a member at Columbia Edgewater. Poletiek had arranged a couple money games, and Barlow shot 63 the first day to win a lot of money and then 68 to win a little more.
“I know I’m still capable of playing good golf, but I don’t have any intentions of playing full-time anymore,” said Barlow, looking ahead to the Open. “But I could screw that up if I have a great week at the Senior Open.”