Real estate agent shoots back-nine 28 to make Champions field
Don Bell is a busy guy.
As a full-time real estate agent near Daytona Beach, Fla., Bell closed on three houses last week. The 54-year-old was still working his day job Tuesday afternoon during a phone interview with GolfChannel.com.
“I was just emailing a relocation company, they were asking questions,” Bell said. “I’m sending ads off. So I’m working, answering calls, returning emails as we speak.”
His week got even busier when he shot a back-nine 28 during a PGA Tour Champions Monday qualifier to crash the party at this week’s Oasis Championship.
Bell’s name didn’t stick out among a field that included major champions like Larry Mize, Shaun Micheel and Todd Hamilton during Monday’s qualifier at The Preserve at Ironhorse in West Palm Beach, Fla. He also didn’t turn many heads when he went out in even-par 36. But a 75-foot birdie on his 10th hole sparked an incredible run of golf for Bell, who birdied seven holes in a row and eight on the back nine en route to a 64 that gave him medalist honors and one of four qualifying spots available for this week’s event in Boca Raton.
“I was trying to forget the good, because I didn’t want that good to mess me up,” Bell said. “People always talk about forgetting the bad shots. I’m like, ‘I’ve got to forget the last birdie I made so that I can go make another one.'”
Bell tried his hand at professional golf after graduating college, playing on various developmental tours around the world and even making a PGA Tour start at the now-defunct B.C. Open in 2001. But as he grew older, he realized that golf as a full-time pursuit might not be for him.
“When I was 38, I knew I needed to make money. So I got into real estate,” he said. “I’ve been selling real estate for the last 16 years.”
Bell explained that he plays 4-5 times per week near his home in Port Orange, Fla., going out in the first group in the morning and playing in under 3 hours before heading to work. He has rekindled his competitive spirit since turning 50, qualifying twice as an amateur for both the U.S. Senior Open (2015, 2018) and Senior Open (2014, 2017). His success in Monday’s round will allow him to attempt up to 11 more Monday qualifiers this season.
But first he has earned another tee time against some of the best on the over-50 circuit, and he expects that by Friday morning his day job will be put on the back burner. At least for a couple days.
“If I could afford to do more golf and less real estate, I would definitely do it,” he said. “I want to stay positive, but I want to be realistic. It’s a tough balance of not getting too high on expectation but still thinking you can win.”