Five years ago, a golfer named Colt Knost from Southern Methodist University (SMU) made a daring decision. The young man, who had won the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Amateur Public Links earlier that year, forwent invitations to the first three major championships of 2008 and instead turned pro.
The decision, much scrutinized at the time, finally seems to be paying off. Knost finds himself just one shot off the lead going into the final round of the 2012 RBC Heritage and just one good round from his first tour victory.
The 26 year old has been in good form this week and carries a great deal of confidence into the final round.
Still, it is been far from an easy road getting here.
Knost struggled mightily out of college. The former Mustang actually did quite well on the Nationwide Tour in 2008, winning twice and finishing sixth on the money list to easily earn his PGA Tour card.
Knost found little success after that though. He missed 13 of 24 cuts in the 2009 PGA Tour season, went back to the Nationwide Tour in 2010, got his card back in 2011 and immediately reverted to his 2009 form by missing an even worse 15 cuts in 27 events.
Back to Q-school at the end of 2011, Knost played his way into position to secure his tour card before seemingly blowing his chance with a double bogey at the final hole of the qualifying tournament. Reduced to tears at losing his opportunity at a spot on the PGA Tour in 2012, Knost finally caught a break, eking by to graduate Q-school and join the tour.
Five months later, he has a fantastic chance at his first victory.
The rise of Knost is a feel good story for a guy who was the toast of the amateur world before falling into a gigantic rut on the pro circuit.
He lost his game and he lost his confidence playing against the best set of golfers in the world.
Now, Knost is feeling right at home. He has already been a markedly improved player in 2012 before this week, making six of eight cuts thus far and placing tied for third at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, just two shots short of a playoff.
The SMU grad has already made more money already in 2012 than he did in all of 2011, but a win this week would mean a whole lot more.
After five long years, a victory would remind those of just how good a player this young man can be. He wouldn't be just an amateur flash in the pan anymore, but a talent to watch out for in the pros.
However, regardless of what he does Sunday, Knost has already proven that he belongs. He has put three great rounds together and stands just one below the top of a PGA Tour leader board with 18 holes to go.
It is far from a certainty that Knost will win tomorrow, but being in contention and having faith in his game demonstrates that this long-lost world-beating amateur has finally found his place on the PGA Tour.