There are 156 players in the field for the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National and every one of them has a story to tell. However, chances are, none of them compare to the story of Britt Pavelonis.
Britt Pavelonis is just one of 156 but his story is as unique as his golf swing.
"Once you get started, it just becomes a part of you," said Pavelonis. "It's taken me all over this country and into Canada and I have friends and people I stay with in just about any state."
He drove about an hour to arrive at Victoria National for the United Leasing Championship after qualifying Monday afternoon. But that doesn't mean his travels were just as short.
"It's been a long, long part of time," Pavelonis said. "It's been a long time to get here and do that."
He says it's been long because of where he's going and even longer because of where he's been. He left the game 15 years ago, leaving behind a part of him to concentrate on his family. For a short time, he traded away his irons for the iron bars of state corrections.
"I worked at a maximum security prison for the Illinois Department of Corrections as an industry superintendent," said Pavelonis. "It was a different world but it took me away to see the other part of life and taught me how to get back to what I wanted to do."
Pavelonis knows he will never be the longest off the tee nor will he be the softest around the green. However, his decision making will always be on par.
"You can make that one mistake like those guys did and land in prison," said Pavelonis. "I can make that mistake out on the golf course that takes me out of the tournament. Is the risk worth the reward? That's what I learned out of all of it."
There's more to life than 18 holes. It has more than it's fair share of bad shots, deep bunkers and near misses. For Pavelonis, it's much like the early morning hours of February 29th, 2010.
"My home is in Harrisburg, Illinois," said Pavelonis. "When I stepped out into the family room, I looked outside and said uh oh, I know what this is."
"It's a tornado. By the time I realized it, it was already over."
The EF4 tornado tore away a third of his house and leveled his parents house two blocks away. Tornadoes never come at a good time let alone the busiest of times.
"I was supposed to have a meeting that Friday with some guys who were supposed to help me with my golf," said Pavelonis of his potential sponsors. "I was supposed to start my season the next week. That ended up falling apart because I couldn't meet with them that Friday and they didn't have it in their heart and decided not to help me out."
Just because he doesn't have sponsors that doesn't mean he doesn't have fans. Some of those fans are now his roommates.
"My parents are still living with me," said Pavelonis. "I never thought, being 40, I'd be living with my parents. But as my dad likes to remind me, he's living with me."
He's just one man out of a field of 156. As Pavelonis finds hope in 18 holes, he will never walk the course alone.
"Now I know, so what if I hit a few bad shots. My friends and family are still there. They will never leave me."