Former TCU golfer JJ Killeen prepares for PGA Tour

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on December 27, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 27 at 11:34 PM

FORT WORTH — Former TCU golfer JJ Killeen has been spending a lot of time on the golf course this winter.

"I'll be out here most of the afternoon," Killeen said. "Probably six or seven hours a day, and then work out in the morning, too."

Killeen is about to take the biggest step of his career. He will leave in a few days for Hawaii to play in the Sony Open, his first PGA Tour event.

"It is really cool," Killeen said. "It's special to share that with my family. My wife, she taught for a while and worked. We had our daughter so she supported me and my family plus my parents, it's really cool. We're kind of all enjoying it together; looking forward to working really hard, because I know it's going to be tough to stay out there."

Plus a trip to Hawaii in the dead of winter is never bad trip, whether it's business or pleasure.

"Yeah, that's not bad," Killeen said. "That's a good place to take the family. It'll be a great course. The weather will be good. I'm sure it'll be cold back here, so it'll be nice to play there. I'll have family coming over there to watch me, too, so we'll have a great time."

Two months ago, Killeen was one of 25 golfers to pick up their PGA Tour cards.

"It's great to have this position on tour," he told the new group of PGA golfers that day. "A lot of guys really deserve it. Congratulations to everybody."

Killeen won two tournaments on the Nationwide Tour in 2011, and was the tour's top money-winner. That brings certain guarantees.

"You get into most tournaments, and you get into the Players' Championship, which is a really big incentive there," Killeen said. "I'm looking forward to playing in that. That's a really fun tournament. I know there will be a ton of people at that one, but I'm looking forward to playing at the Nelson and the Colonial, too."

Killeen helped TCU win four straight conference titles, but it took him another six years to qualify for the PGA tour. That makes him a 30-year-old rookie when the tour starts a new season.

"it's always been a goal of mine to play out there, but until it happens — until you win a tournament that you've made enough money to get your card — it's a special kind of feeling," Killeen said. "It's something I’ve always wanted to do as a kid, so in my mind I’ve already succeeded in doing that, so that's really cool."

And with TCU on one side of his bag and a picture of his 17-month-old daughter Olivia on the other, it'll be hard for him to go wrong.

"I've always got to support the Horned Frogs. I actually just got my season tickets for next year, so I’m pumped about that," Killeen said.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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