Time away from the golf course didn't seem to faze Fort Dodge Country Club pro Judd Gibb.
In fact, given his performance earlier this week in the Quad Cities, it may have even helped.
Despite being rusty relative to his normal standards, Gibb quickly found a rhythm on Monday during the Mizuno Golf 36 Hole Classic in Coal Valley, Ill. The 45-year-old Gibb, a 1987 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate who moved back to town last spring, virtually lapped the field in capturing the tournament championship with a 12-under par total of 130.
"Everything was working for me; it was just one of those days," laughed Gibb. "It's funny because I had cut my finger the Saturday before and didn't pick up a club for a week. I did get a quick nine in before (Monday's competition), but that was it.
"If I could tell you what I did differently why I was able to go so low on this particular day, I'd bottle it."
Gibb won the event by an impressive seven strokes, finishing well ahead of Humboldt graduate and Davenport Country Club pro John Panek. Despite being interrupted by two lightning delays, Gibb recorded an impressive 15 birdies on the par-71 Oakwood Country Club layout in the unique two-round, one-day tournament format.
"I've always enjoyed this event," Gibb said. "And I like this golf course a lot. They used to host the John Deere Classic here, and I played in it the last time they had it (at Oakwood in 1999).
"(The Mizuno Classic) has been at Deere Run (in Silvis, Ill.) the past five or six years, but they moved it here (for 2014). A lot of the big names (from Iowa) play in this, so it's always good to see how you measure up."
Oakwood's layout was at 6,600 yards for the tournament, which "definitely helped me compete with the younger guys," according to Gibb.
"It pains me to admit that I'm getting old, but when you can reach the par-5s in two and have wedges into some of the par-4s (as Oakwood allowed), that bridges the gap a little.
"I didn't make a ton of putts; in fact, I don't remember anything outside of 15-20 feet going in. But I obviously made a lot from (short range). Oakwood is a Pete Dye course designed around the same time as the Des Moines Golf and Country Club (where Gibb was an assistant), so the greens felt very familiar and comfortable to me."
Gibb was a self-proclaimed "basketball dad" this past winter, mostly following his son's traveling team and working very little on his game relative to his typical routine.
"In the past, I've spent a lot of time during the winter hitting indoors," Gibb said. "I did visit my mom in Tuscon (Ariz.) a while ago and played a little there, but that's about it. I'd like to say that this (score) is the result of a lot of hard work in the offseason, but there's also something to be said for time off and recharging your batteries."