Arizona golfer has improved his game to become among the nation's best

By Curtis Acosta

Arizona Daily Wildcat

He's a 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior from Phoenix. His nickname is Lurch, after the Frankenstein-type character in "The Addams Family". Unfortunately for Dick Tomey, he is not the newest Arizona football recruit, but one of the best collegiate golfers in America.

Tim Beans stands quite tall on the golf course, both literally and figuratively. This spring, Beans has been Arizona's best performer, and has emerged as a team leader for the Wildcats.

The outlook wasn't always so rosy for Beans. His college career began at Tulsa University in a not-so-illustrious fashion. Thinking that the jump from high school to college golf would be easy, Beans had a rude awakening his freshman year.

"I went to Tulsa and it was a nightmare. I played awful," Beans said. "It was so bad."

After having difficulties adjusting to Tulsa, both on and off the golf course, Beans decided to return to his home state and compete for Arizona. One of the people responsible for Beans becoming a Wildcat is his teammate, roommate and friend, Ted Purdy.

"He (Purdy) said, 'Come on Tim. You've got to come here,'" Beans said. "We're friends and I thought it would be neat. Ted played a big part in my decision."

After struggling in his first couple years of collegiate golf, Beans was determined to find success this year. The pivotal moment for his dramatic turnaround came last summer in Phoenix.

For the first time since he started playing the game as a 4-year-old, Beans took time to learn the subtle details that separate an excellent golfer from an ordinary golfer. He gives most of the credit to John Ruiz, a pro who took him aside and reworked his swing.

"For all my life I had no clue about how to swing a golf club. I just went out and played golf with all I had. This summer was a blessing. ... At least I hope it was a blessing," Beans said. "I know so much more about the golf swing and everything. It's amazing."

The results have also been amazing. Beans was a threat to win both the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate and the John Burns Intercollegiate, finishing in the top 10 in both tournaments. His success has also ranked him among the top 20 candidates for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy.

Even with all of these personal accomplishments, Beans has kept everything in perspective.

"You get a little success and people think you're great. It's so weird, ... same person, same guy," Beans said. "I did the same things two months ago, but I wasn't playing very good, and people thought I was an idiot. You're successful and everyone thinks you're smart."

Beans has been near the top of the leader board, playing against the highest competition in the nation for most of Arizona's tournaments this year. But there have also been times where Beans has been less than spectacular. In either case, the results haven't shaken his confidence and his belief that he can play with the nation's top competition.

"I feel comfortable right now. I feel good," Beans said. "I understand that if I play this week and I don't play well it's so hard,

but I have to put away the bad things and focus on the good things."

Like any athlete, Beans has a dream, and strangely enough, he had a preview of it while watching the musical "Phantom of the Opera".

"The applause afterward reminded me of what it would feel like walking up the 18th green at Augusta, in the final round of the Masters," Beans said. "If I could experience that, that would be it."

And if his dream of a Masters Championship never becomes a reality, Beans is aware of the things he has accomplished and has enough respect and pride for the way he is now playing the game to keep him satisfied.

"Even if I don't make the tour," Beans said, "which is not how I am thinking at all, being able to hit the golf ball like I've been hitting it it thrills me."

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