The Dufner-ness of Jordan Gumberg - Tucson News Now

The Dufner-ness of Jordan Gumberg

Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - Confidence is not lacking in Wildcat sophomore golfer Jordan Gumberg.

"He believes he is one of the best golfers in college golf," says head coach Jim Anderson. "He likes to compare himself to Jason Dufner in the way that he plays. He just wants to be out there and go through his deal."

When I ask Jordan if he is the next Jason Dufner he says, "Hope so." Then he pauses and asks, "Jason Dufner?"

I say, "Yeah."

He says, "I don't know about Jason Dufner but I'd like to be the next Jason Day."

Fair enough. I point out what his head coach told me, about mental toughness and all. That gets him thinking. 

"That's true. That's true," he says. "He doesn't let his highs get too high or his lows get too low. He just kind of has one facial expression for the entire round. I think that's kind of how I am in a way. I don't really let too many things bother me."

Maybe that's why Jordan has finished as team leader in the last two tournaments. In fact, the Tennessee transfer has been Arizona's best player in four tournaments stretching back to last fall. His best finish? A tie for 9th in the fall season opener at the Saint Mary's Invitational in Pebble Beach, California. Through two rounds of this week's Cowboy Classic, Jordan once again leads Arizona at 6 under, good enough for a tie for 4th.

Between the fall season and now, however, there had been some hiccups that forced Jordan to rethink his approach. It was a gradual decline the culminated in January when he finished the Arizona Intercollegiate in sole possession of 67th place.

"I kind of had to refocus and start fresh," said Jordan. "I noticed that you don't have to do as much as you think you do. You don't have to go out there with the mindset that. 'I'm going to shoot 62 everyday.' You have to go out and make the best that you can."

"He's done a very good job maturing in a very short amount of time," said Anderson. "I think that's really a credit to him and the process that he believes in."

Maturity is tough to come by when you're a college sophomore. And yet, Jordan's philosophy on the course would have you believe that it's possible.

"If you're 2 over," he said, "just say 'Let's get a couple shots back and get back to even or 1 under.' If you can do that every day, you're going to be a pretty damn good college player."

Of course his Jordan's goal stretches farther beyond the college ranks. And if it's the pros he's aiming for than that mentality, that Dufner-ness, will come in handy. Although when it comes to modeling his actual game after a pro, that's a different story.

"Rory McIlroy," he tells me. "I like the way he plays his game. I don't hit it as far as him but I like the way he approaches golf."

So, not Dufner?

"I don't model my physical game after Dufner." 

Again, fair enough.

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