Illinois State senior golfer David Perkins is giving professional golf a shot.
After a break-out junior season where he averaged two under par, Perkins is looking to do the same again in his senior season. Through four events this season, Perkins is averaging one over par. Earlier this season, Perkins earned conditional status for Professional Golfers Association Tour Canada in early March.
“Every time I tee up I know I can play well and compete against anyone,” Perkins said. “That’s been a big key to my success over the last few years.”
So far, his numbers have not been as good as his junior season due to a spring start instead of the typical fall start time. Head coach Ray Kralis thinks he is still one of the best to play at ISU.
“Regardless of what happens this year, his career even to this point is so complete,” Kralis said. “He’s gonna be one of the best Redbirds in history.”
Kralis has played a big role in helping Perkins develop into a better golfer.
“He’s helped me see the game from a different perspective,” Perkins said. “Him showing me that side of the game. At the end of the day we’re playing a game and we should be happy to be doing that.”
Along with his coach, his teammates have played a big part in motivating him.
“They play a key role in giving me motivation and wanting to do well,” Perkins said. “Not only play good for myself but for the team as well.”
No matter if they are together as a team or competing on their own, they are always there for each other.
“Whether we’re playing our own individual events in the summer or playing as a team, we always have each other’s backs,” Perkins said.
Perkins is a leader for his teammates, wanting to see them have just as much success as he has had.
“He’s a tremendous teammate, cares a lot about his teammates,” Kralis said. “Despite golf being an individual game, he’s as interested in their success as he is [in] his own.”
Confidence has been the big key in improving his play. Knowing that he can compete with anyone and understanding that he cannot get shaken up has helped him grow.
“His belief in himself. His confidence level and his ability to keep his energy high on the golf course,” Kralis said.
Perkins has developed a different mindset that has helped improve his game and take it to the next level.
“It’s been big picture stuff when it comes to playing this game and what we do,” Perkins said.
Being able to understand it is not going to be easy and you are going to have to overcome obstacles is something that Perkins has grown to understand.
“You deal with a lot of adversity,” Kralis said. “He handles adversity and whatever comes at him so well.”
Perkins has been able to improve in all aspects of his game since coming to Illinois State.
“He’s a disciplined young man,” Kralis said. “He’s improved a little bit everywhere.”
Along with being willing to be open about his struggles has helped him to grow.
“He’s willing to be vulnerable," Kralis said. “He knows what his weaknesses are and he’s working to make those into strengths.”
For Perkins he is not sure exactly when he will begin his professional journey but hopes to start shortly after his collegiate season ends.
“I plan to turn pro pretty soon after our season ends," Perkins said.
Perkins will be up in the Canadian tour where he will begin his professional career.
“He’s fully committed to making that dream a reality," Kralis said. “I think he has a great chance to make it.”
His coach is one of his biggest supporters and thinks he can continue to improve and make some noise in the pros.
“He is so complete, and with the success he’s had on the national level, I see him continuing to rise," Kralis said.
The Missouri Valley Championship will be on April 26 and 27 where Perkins and his teammates will look to continue on to nationals