Since turning pro in 2016, he’s split time between sub-level professional tours in the U.S. and Canada. The 25-year-old finally captured his first and so far only professional win at the Freedom 55 Financial in Vancouver last June.
Niebrugge recently spoke about his golf career by phone from his current home in Jupiter, Florida.
From our May 2019 special Milwaukee Golf issue
How did it feel to get that first professional win?
“I had a pretty good lead going into the last 18 holes, which was a bit strange because I hadn’t been in that situation in a while. I was able to handle my emotions pretty well. It was great to get a win under my belt. Overall, it was a pretty solid year. I got to where I wanted to be, having [exempt] status on the Web.com Tour.
Has the challenge of bouncing between tours made you start thinking about life after golf?
Oh, no. Not at all. I feel like I have pretty good ability to play golf. Ultimately, the main goal remains to get on the [PGA] Tour and compete with the best.
Are you earning enough money to continue?
The last couple years, I haven’t been out to make money. It’s more about gaining experience. I’ve had a couple of sponsorships (TaylorMade and Adidas) since turning pro. There’s a family friend in Mequon who has helped me out. This past year, I got Rite-Hite, a Milwaukee-based company, to put a logo on the side of my hat.
What’s life on the road like?
I like staying with host families. You get to meet people. Otherwise, you are just sitting in your hotel room. I think it’s a lot of fun traveling, especially when you are playing good golf.
When you reflect on your performance at St. Andrews, what comes to mind?
During the win in Canada, I thought back to The Open and how I was able to handle whatever came my way, how fun and memorable that week was. My whole family was there. It was pretty special.
How were you able to hone your golf game during Wisconsin winters?
I played basketball. I didn’t play golf that much in the winters. It was nice to take a break. Being in Florida now, it’s all golf all the time.