Most people are having a brutal 2020, but Torey Edwards is having one of the best years of his life.
The Long Beach native has bounced back from quitting the game of golf a decade ago and was named Southern California Golf Association Amateur Golfer Of The Year after winning the SCGA Mid-Am Championship in September.
Edwards, 38, won the Moore League Individual title while at Wilson High School. He also reached the NCAA Tournament while at Long Beach State, but his seven-year professional career ended in 2010 when the lifestyle wore him down.
“I think I was a little immature and not ready for professional golf,” Edwards said. “I didn’t have the success I thought I could have. When you get to the next level it’s more about navigating the professional ranks and traveling every week. For me, it just became a job. It took a little bit of the love out of the game when it becomes your livelihood. I wasn’t enjoying the process of getting better at golf.”
After seven years of playing in more than 10 Canadian and American tours, Edwards put his clubs away and became a financial advisor in Long Beach. He said the time away from the course allowed him to reset and get his competitive juices flowing again. The Long Beach Open in 2016 helped him gain confidence when he was one putt away from reaching a playoff.
Injuries slowed down his improvement, but Edwards has everything clicking in 2020 after he won the Long Beach City Open last year. He also finished fourth at the SCGA Amateur Championship, shot a 66 at Torrey Pines, and posted his second round of 58 after doing it in 2008 at Recreation Park Golf Course.
Two months ago, Edwards took a lead into the final day of the SCGA Mid-Am Championship and held off a talented group of amateurs for the one-shot win. His former Long Beach State coach Bob Livingstone, who is now the SCGA President, handed Edwards the trophy after getting to watch his entire last round as the rules official.
“He just played solid all day and whenever he needed to make a good shot he did,” Livingstone said. “He answered the call.”
Livingstone added that he’s noticed a major difference in Edwards’ perspective and how he approaches the game.
“He sees golf where it belongs,” Livingstone said. “He doesn’t put too much pressure on it and has fun. He’s looking at a lot of good years as an amateur or mid-amateur golfer.”
“I have no interest in playing professionally,” Edwards said. “Twelve years from now if we want to maybe think about a Champions Tour run or something like that, maybe, but right now I love that my job (as a financial planner) allows me the ability to play in some of these amateur tournaments. I dig this world of golf as opposed to being on the road for 40 weeks a year.”
Edwards was born and raised in Long Beach where he attended Lowell, Rodgers and Wilson. He played multiple sports at Wilson, but chose golf over soccer because of the emergence of Tiger Woods.
“Once he burst onto the scene and went pro out of college and signed that massive contract with Nike, all of a sudden golf became a little sexier than it traditionally had been,” Edwards said.
He was also motivated by his friend and teammate John Merrick, who eventually played on the PGA Tour. Edwards beat Merrick for the league title when they were seniors by posting a pair of rounds in the 60’s, and stuck with his commitment to LBSU despite getting a ton of new scholarship offers.
“I love Long Beach and it worked out well,” Edwards said.
After growing up playing Recreation Park Golf Course, Edwards etched his name in the history books by shooting a club record 58 in 2008. Local legend Paul Goydos held the original record of 61.
“It’s special to have that be at Rec Park,” Edwards said. “I know a million people there. It’s just such a one-off special accomplishment.”
That turned out to not be true because late last month Edwards shot a 58 during a tournament at Annandale Golf Club in Pasadena. He made a 20-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to cap another historic round.
“It’s hard to explain but everything kind of fell into place,” Edwards said. “You have to be in such a good zone and putting so well.”
“The 58 is just like other milestones,” he added. “The first time trying to break 80, or the first time you shoot par… you can get in your own way by thinking about the result and then you hit it out of bounds or make an unexpected double bogey. You have to stay in the moment and play each shot.”