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Texarkana's Fischer wins Argentina title to earn British Open invite

Texas High graduate captures first championship during 11-year pro career December 10, 2022 at 10:01 p.m.
Professional golfer Zack Fischer of Texarkana tees off during one of his Korn Ferry Tour events this year. Fischer has competed in 116 Korn Ferry tournaments during his 11-year pro career. (Submitted photo)

Zack Fischer knew his 33-year-old body couldn't take much more.

After playing his second round of 18 holes in the Visa Argentina Open golf tournament on the Nordelta Golf Club Course in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fischer didn't know if he would continue. He didn't know if he could continue.

First, there was the grueling 10-hour jet-lag induced flight from Houston to Buenos Aires, then the summer-like temperatures (mid-80s) and the Texarkana golfer was having to carry his own clubs because he didn't have a caddie. Plus, he felt a little sick (it would later turn into an upper-respiratory infection that required a visit to the doctor).

"I finished somewhere around 5 o'clock and I was in bed before 7," Fischer said. "I was so tired, weak and exhausted that I didn't know if I should withdraw or continue in the tournament."

But Fischer has always been a competitor.

A fighter.

He doesn't know when to quit.

He didn't quit. He played on.

Fischer got a caddie for the final two days of the tournament. He took a three-stroke lead into the final round, but saw that evaporate into a two-man tie through 11 holes.

On the 72nd and final hole, the Korn Ferry Tour member two-putted from 48 feet, sinking a clutch, 4-foot par putt he had to make to avoid a playoff, to secure his one-stroke victory in the 116th playing of the Visa Argentine Open.

"It was an amazing feeling when it dropped in the hole," said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Fischer.

With the victory on PGA Tour Latin America came the trophy from the tournament that dates to 1905 and an invitation to the 2023 (British) Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in England.

"It's huge. The fact it gives me a chance to play in The Open championship, which is the oldest tournament in the world, is so cool. I'm just over the moon right now," Fischer told reporters following his first professional win and the opportunity to spend a week in England this July.

Fischer said he quickly realized the difference culture in Argentina as compared to the United States, especially the languages.

"Most of the players, officials and caddies spoke Spanish there, and my Spanish is horrible," Fischer said. "It was a major obstacle -- just speaking and communicating -- with them what I was trying to say.

"Some of them spoke broken English and I was loosely able to understand some of them."

"That was the first time Zack had played in the PGA Tour Latin America," said Ronnie Fischer, Zack's father. "He knows his bread-and-butter has been the Korn Ferry Tour, but he ventured out and won his first professional title. We're all extremely proud for him, not only because he won the tournament, but everything he had to overcome to win the tournament. That speaks loudly for his competitive spirit."

Fischer has played 116 career Korn Ferry Tour tournaments, made eight PGA Tour appearances and played twice on PGA Tour Canada. He has three career third-place Korn Ferry Tour performances, and he tied for 14th at the 2019 Valero Texas Open in San Antonio for his best PGA Tour showing.

Fischer has some deep ties to San Antonio. When he competed in the 2019 Texas Open, he stayed at the house of mentor and friend, Bill Rogers, a legendary PGA golfer with Texas High roots, just like Fischer.

"I communicate with Bill almost weekly," Fischer said. "He's offered me great advice and encouragement over the years. He's also a very special friend of mine."

Rogers' only PGA major championship came in The British Open in 1981, when he won seven PGA events to runaway with PGA Player of the Year honors. He also was a member of the USA's winning Ryder Cup team in 1981.

And although Rogers was born in Waco, Texas, the city of Texarkana claims him as one of its own in the world of professional golf.

"He's definitely a legend in the golf world," Fischer said. "He's one of a kind and one of the nicest people I've ever met. Ever."

Rogers, 71, served as an assistant golf coach for Texas-San Antonio for several years before becoming a volunteer coach for UTSA.

Fischer was a Texas High golfer, leading the Tigers to the state tournament his senior year.

"We didn't win, but we made it to state, which was an accomplishment in itself," Fischer said.

Fischer continued his golf career playing for Texas-Arlington.

"I finished 36th overall in Korn Ferry Tour points this past season," Fischer said. "If you make the top 25, you can qualify for your PGA Tour card, which means you don't have to qualify for every tournament you want to compete in. Having that PGA card is very important, and that's something I'm hoping to earn."

Competing with the best golfers in the nation and world was a knew awakening for Fischer. He knew the PGA Tour was hard, but he didn't know how hard.

"It's so different, and it's hard to explain," Fischer said. "There's golf on the local scene, area and regional tournaments, sub-PGA Tour events and the big-time PGA Tour, or 'The Show.'

"To get to 'The Show,' you have to beat the best of the best. Everything is so fast, kind of like college football and NFL football. In college, you have some outstanding players on a team. In the NFL, the majority of players are outstanding. Everything is super fast and everybody is super talented."

The size of an official PGA hole is 4.25 inches in circumference and the size of a PGA golf ball is 1.68 inches around. Simply put: you have to knock the ball into the hole.

"Believe me, it's not as easy as it looks," Fischer said. "You're playing against the golf course first and your competitor second. If you make a good shot or a bad shot, it's your responsibility. The mental game is so important."

Fischer credits his dad for helping him through some dark times during his pro golf career.

"He's been incredibly supportive of me and my golf game every year," Zack said of his father. "He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.

"When things were going in a down direction and everything seemed to be closing in on me, Dad, was always there to cheer me on, to keep me going and keep my striving to get things turned around.

"Sometimes your biggest enemy on the golf course is yourself, and sometimes your biggest friend is yourself. You have to focus your energy and positive feelings from your inside."

And Zack credits his entire family for his support structure.

"I've been so fortunate to have a family like mine, including my mother, my wife and my child," he said. "It's so easy to try to become the perfect golfer, but everybody knows nobody is perfect and never will be. Once you realize that, you can build on your strengths."

Zack and his wife Katie are the proud parents of a baby girl, Hallie. "She was born in Little Rock and she's about 2 1/2 years old, so I guess she's a toddler now," Zack said. "She's growing up so fast.

"Having a child has changed my life is so many ways," he continued. She's truly been a blessing."

Zack's golf season concluded with the Argentina Open. He won't be playing competitively until next year.

"I'm just at home enjoying family and the holidays like everybody else," Zack said. "Getting ready for Christmas and everything is a delight, especially with a little girl."

Zack mentioned another Texarkana golfer, Geoff Jones, has been a strong influence and advisor.

"He's been one of my coaches for like 22 years now and he's been a tremendous help to me," Fischer said. "He gave me the internal belief that I could compete in the world of professional golf and he knew firsthand about the struggles most golfers go through because he had experience them himself."

Zack's goal is to become a full-time player on the PGA Tour. To compete in all the major PGA stops and to even one day don a green golf jacket that is presented to the winner of The Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

"Man, putting on a green golf jacket would be a dream come true," Fischer said. "That would be the ultimate."

  photo  Zack Fischer, a pro golfer, and his wife Katie hold their daughter Hallie for a family picture. (Submitted photo)
  photo  Zack Fischer, Texas High standout

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