With his wife and two children just yards away, Jason Meece had a pretty good few days on the golf course.
Add family to a blistering final round on Saturday, and it capped a great week for the 34-year-old, who's playing some of the best golf of his professional career.
Meece played in the OK Kids Korral Championship at Belmar Golf Course in Norman last week. The tournament, hosted by country music star Toby Keith, was a stop on the Adams Golf Pro Tour, a Dallas-based tour which partners with non-profit organizations in the mid-south region to raise money for charitable organizations. The tour also serves as a training ground for professional golfers with PGA aspirations.
Golfers like Meece, a 1997 Ardmore High School alumnus who's been a pro since 1999. Meece spends as much as half the year on the road playing golf, so he takes every opportunity he can to play close to home.
"I've played in some Adams Tour events before," Meece said. "As far as travel goes it's a lot more reasonable to me. The purses aren't as big, but if you break it down, it makes a lot more sense because it's close to home.
"Plus I was able to have my family come up three out of the four days. It was a huge deal for me, seeing them out there supporting me like that. No matter how bad I play, they're always gonna greet me with a smile."
Meece finished in a tie for 10th (68-71-71-66—276), jumping from 28th place on the final day Saturday with a 4-under 66. His final round was the second-best score of the day among the 44 golfers that made the cut.
Sitting at 1-under with two holes to play, Meece birdied the Par 3 eighth and eagled the Par 5 ninth to finish with a flurry.
"I shot 65 last round in Miami (Okla.), so I knew it was possible for me to have another low round," said Meece, who scored his second top 10 finish in as many weeks. "I've made phenomenal strides in the last few months, just knowing if I keep working hard it's gonna show."
Meece won a team state championship with Ardmore as a senior in 1997, placing second individually. After playing a year at the University of New Mexico and another at Paris Junior College (Texas), Meece turned pro and played professionally from 1999-2006 before taking a five-year hiatus from the game from 2006-2010.
Now he's back on the hunt for a spot on the PGA Tour. He's currently on the NGA Tour, formerly the Hooters Tour, which plays most of its tournaments in the southeast. The NGA Tour is rated as the No. 3 professional golf tour in the country behind the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour. Meece will also play at the PGA's Texas Open qualifer Thursday in Dallas.
The NGA Tour has been a stepping stone for current PGA players Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Zac Johnson, among others. Meece was also a part of a recent NGA Tour initiative which had its golfers donate 5 percent of what they earned at the Three Ridges Golf Classic (Knoxville, Tenn.) to the Moore tornado relief effort.
In his youth, Meece honed his skills at Lakeview Golf Course, where he said he "learned how to shoot for birdies," and he still finds time to play in club tournaments in Ardmore. Meece also acts as a mentor to area golfers, such as Ardmore alumnus and Oklahoma Christian golfer Trey Payne, and University of Oklahoma golfer Chad Smith. At Belmar last week, Payne caddied for Meece the first three rounds and Smith took the bag on the final day.
Meece figures it's the least he can do to give back to a state and golf culture that has provided him with a chance at a successful professional career.
"It's going well," Meece said of his ongoing comeback. "When I started the year, I was 36 pounds heavier. I made an equipment change back in March. I'm just staying patient, working hard and I'm starting to see a lot more results."
Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD
Follow Meece on Twitter: @Jasonm03