Navarro pursuing his links dream
Davidsonville native will play on Minor League Tour
Former University of Maryland teammates Chris Navarro and Justin Feldman combined to win their first tournament as teammates on the Minor League Golf Tour, which operates in the Palm Beach area of Florida.
Their win came in the tour’s Holiday Team Championship held Dec. 12. The event was shortened by rain but was ruled official since nine holes had been completed.
The duo’s 10-under score of 46 was the best in the field by a stroke, earning them the victory and a winner’s check of $700 each.
It was just the seventh event for Navarro, who hails from Davidsonville and attended Archbishop Spalding before later competing for the Terrapins’ golf team.
The duo later placed 14th in the seasonending par-3 tournament, giving Navarro first-year earnings of $715.63.
“I just started in October, so I still do not have much experience, but winning a check is a big morale booster,” said Navarro, who came to compete on the Minor League tour at the urging of Feldman and a couple other former Maryland teammates.
“They told me about how much fun the tour was and how there were as many as three events a week, and [they] talked me into giving it a try. I just arrived [from home in Davidsonville on Friday] to start the 2020 season.”
The 2020 season — the Minor League Tour’s 17th — began Jan. 2. Navarro did not compete in the tournament.
While at Spalding, Navarro won three MIAA individual championships and helped anchor the 2014 and 2015 MIAA team champions. One of his teammates on those teams was the current Long Drive Tour Champion, Kyle Berkshire.
“He’s really stolen the show,” Navarro said of his former high school teammate who won the 2019 Long Drive championship in only his second year on that tour.
“We had four guys on that (Spalding) team that went on to play D-I golf.”
After high school, Navarro attended Maryland, where he played on the golf team for three seasons. Navarro’s career at Maryland, in his own words, was “well below my expectations.”
“I didn’t play well at all,” he said. “I struggled. It never clicked for me. I was in a slump the whole time I played there.
“I loved my teammates and my coach, and I had a couple good tournaments, but I never played up to the level I know I can play.”
In 2019, the 22-year-old Navarro did not compete with the Terps while he tried to fine-tune his game. He hadn’t made up his mind on what he wanted to do next. He just knew it had to involve playing competitive golf.
He “turned professional” in October and began playing for purses on the Minor League Golf Tournament, with a spot on the PGA Tour his ultimate goal.
“My dream has always been to play golf on the [PGA] pro tour, so my plan is to start here,” Navarro said, noting that his financial backing is mostly from money he has saved with some support from his parents.
“Looking back, I had a very disappointing career at Maryland,” he said. “I went from being successful in high school to playing badly in college, [and] I got mad.
“The fact was that I didn’t play well when it mattered. And when I didn’t improve, I got madder. Now, my game is going pretty well.
“Winning definitely helps get the confidence up. The key is to play consistently. If I play like I know I can play. I can compete.”
There are additional parts of Navarro’s Plan A — currently there is no Plan B that does not include golf, he said.
Navarro has moved full time to Palm Beach and is based out of TPC Sawgrass, where he has a lot of friends also chasing their dream. He has hired a swing coach,
Todd Anderson, and is working on the weakest part of his game — his putting.
Navarro plans to play in as many Minor League Golf Tour events as he can and, if he is playing well enough, he will attend the Canadian PGA Q School, where he hopes to qualify for his Canadian PGA Card. Having that would allow him to compete in the premier events in Canada.
Navarro’s next move would be to compete on the more competitive Korn Ferry Tour — another PGA-sanctioned “minor league” tour — to hone his game further. And after that?
“I plan to 100 percent go after my PGA Tour card eventually,” Navarro confirmed, insisting there is no time frame. “We will see how it goes.
“If I can compete — I think I can — it will give me encouragement. If I get to the point where I see guys who have success whom I have played with and competed with in the past, [that’ll be beneficial to me].”
As to how long he’ll pursue his dream, Navarro said there is no definite timetable.
“I’ll make the decision based on how I progress, but I need to give it the time,” he said. “I need know for sure.
“It’s early. I’m happy with the decision and looking forward to the next step.”
The Minor League Golf Tour was founded in 2004 by Scott Turner. The majority of the tournaments are held in south Florida from Jupiter to Miami.
More can be found out about the tour by accessing its web site at www.minorleaguegolf.com.
Davidsonville native Chris Navarro, an Archbishop Spalding grad and a former Maryland golfer, is now on the Minor League Golf Tour, which is based in Florida.