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Golf alumnus swings with PGA`s best

Chris Perry

The Ohio State golfer Chris Perry esteemed as the 1984 College Player of the Year struck gold in this year when he finished fifth on the PGA Tour with $2,145,707 in earnings, but Perry said he can improve.”I’m excited for what I’ve done, but I know I can improve. I’m 38 years old and I hope to play well for another 7 to 10 years. I just want to maintain my confidence level,” he said. Perry came to OSU in the fall of 1980 as one of the top high school golfers in the country, he said.Perry chose OSU for a variety of reasons, including the climate, which was similar to his native Minnesota, he said.He was worried about the year-round golf schedules of southern schools, he said.”I didn’t want to get burned out,” he said. Perry liked OSU because it had its own course and the team was very competitive, he said.”Because the team was so strong I think I was only offered a partial scholarship from Ohio State for my first year,” Perry said. “I pretty much knew right then that I wanted to go to Ohio State.”Perry was an All-American his sophomore through senior seasons and won the 1983 Big Ten tournament. He also set the OSU record for wins in a career with 14 for which he was named 1984 College Player of the Year.OSU men’s golf coach Jim Brown said “Perry was one of the better players I’ve ever coached.””He was very competitive, worked hard and always did what was necessary to become a professional golfer,” Brown said.His wife, Katharine Solacoff, was a member of the OSU women’s team, he said.Perry graduated in 1984 with a degree in education, but knew that he never really wanted to be a teacher, he said.He was focused completely on becoming a professional golfer, he said.Perry finished 13th in the PGA qualifying school for the 1985 season, earning his PGA Tour card, he said.Over the next eight years he played on tour but was unable to win a tournament.He lost his tour card for two years all the while playing in tournaments through sponsor exemptions while trying to get his card back through the qualifying school again, he said.”Since the fall of 1993 I have been working out to get stronger and since that time my game really has began to improve,” Perry said.In 1994 Perry decided to play the Nike Tour full-time to try and regain his confidence, he said.He wound up leading the Nike Tour in money that year and hence regained his PGA Tour card.In 1998 Perry finally broke through at the B.C. Open capturing his first PGA title. Perry’s greatest year on tour, however, was this year.”At the beginning of the year my three goals were to finish in the top 30 on the money-list, win a tournament and to make the Ryder Cup team,” Perry said.Perry finished the year with $2,145,707 in earnings which was fifth on tour. He missed his other two goals, but just by the narrowest of margins.Perry was in the hunt for a spot on the Ryder Cup team until the last points earning tournament of the year. Captain Ben Crenshaw considered Perry for one of the two captain’s picks but “the fact that I hadn’t been on the team before hurt my chances,” Perry said.”I’m disappointed that I didn’t make the team on my own because playing in the Ryder Cup would have been the highlight of my year,” Perry said.Perry didn’t win a tournament this year but did finish second twice and finished in the top ten 14 times and out of the 30 tournaments where he made the cut he finished in the top 25 twenty-one times.He has made 27 consecutive cuts which ranks second on tour.His all-around ranking, which is a compilation of eight various statistical categories, is seventh.Perry now lives in Powell, Ohio with his wife and their three children; Andrew Christopher, 6; Emily Ann, 3; and Natalie Kay, 1.He keeps in contact with the OSU golf program and with coach Jim Brown, and he tries to play a couple of times a year with the team, he said.In the past he has also given motivational speeches to the team at Brown’s request, he said.In 1993 he was inducted into the Ohio State Hall of Fame.

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