A-List Season: Former Baylor School golfer Luke List having best year of pro career

Luke List watches a shot on the second hole on the South Course at Torrey Pines during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

LUKE LIST QUICK QUOTES

On his longest drive: “It was in Miami at a Web event, and it hit the cart path four or five times, so it’s like 415 (yards) or something.”On favorite actor Larry David doing his Bernie Sanders impersonation: “It’s scary how spot-on it is. It doesn’t get any better than that guy. I loved ‘Seinfeld,’ and the fact he’s doing that on SNL is pretty incredible. The guy is so talented.”On Vanderbilt football and an over/under of 4.5 wins for 2016: “I’ve got to go over. There has been a little lull since James Franklin left, but I think they have a tremendous squad. It’s a tough conference, but they’ve got all the intangibles there to keep building things the right way. I’ll go with .500 and a bowl game.”

Former Baylor School and Vanderbilt University golfer Luke List never has had more to juggle, both personally and professionally.

If recent results are any indication, he's handling things beautifully.

List finished tied for 10th this past weekend at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., after tying for 20th the week before at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. The 31-year-old has earned $442,247 on the PGA Tour in 2016, making this his most successful season since turning pro in 2007.

"Obviously I've had good results already, and that's kind of attributed to several different things," List said. "When I was on the PGA Tour in 2013, I was going through a couple of swing changes and fighting an injury and just wasn't playing my best golf. You can lose some confidence quickly out here when you're missing a lot of cuts, and I feel like I'm much more mature now on and off the course.

"I've missed some cuts this year, but I know that I'm playing well."

List is taking a break from the fairways this week to get married in Augusta, Ga. Then it's back to work, as a honeymoon will have to wait.

His stellar start has come on the heels of a tragic 2015, which contained the unexpected deaths of his father, Mark List, and former Baylor golf coach King Oehmig. List's parents had been working with children at a camp in Maine last summer when his father became ill and died suddenly.

"It's been such a whirlwind since last August with my dad," said List, who was a recent guest on "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 FM. "He had such a huge role in my upbringing and my golf and my progression to where I am now. We talked a lot about my rounds, and I miss that. I think about him every day, and I don't think that's ever going to go away.

"I wasn't playing well at Pebble Beach recently, but that was one of my dad's favorite spots, and being able to think about him in a positive light helped me. I'm just trying to make him proud by doing the best I can."

The big-hitting List's best finish so far this season occurred in late January, when he tied for sixth at the CareerBuilder Challenge in LaQuinta, Calif. Jason Dufner won that event, and Phil Mickelson tied for third.

That result earned List $194,300, his largest professional paycheck, and he has added $220,067 the past two weekends. He currently isi 69th among the PGA Tour money leaders and 85th in the FedEx Cup points.

"Luke has always been someone I've looked up to," fellow Baylor grad and PGA Tour professional Harris English said Tuesday. "He sort of helped pave my way at Baylor. It's awesome to see him have such a great start to the year, because he's one of the most talented players I've ever seen.

"He's poised and ready to make a run for many years on tour."

List had a strong 2012 on the Web.com Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour), earning $363,206 and qualifying for the PGA Tour the following year. He earned $264,401 in 2013, making nine cuts in 24 events, but then suffered a disappointing 2014, earning just $34,294 in 17 events on the Web.com Tour.

This season's start could have been even better had List not missed cuts at the Sony Open in Honolulu and the Waste Management Phoenix Open by one stroke, but even that reflects the consistency and maturity he admits he didn't always possess in his first PGA Tour go-round.

"I've always felt like I had the talent level," List said. "I thought the results would come sooner, but that's not everyone's path. I had to mature a little bit across the board, and I see things now in a different light. I've got really high goals and have set my terms a little differently than from before, whereas before I was just excited to be out here and was a little bit unsure about everything.

"I was figuring my place out a little bit, but now I know I have the goods to be here."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.