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Former All-Star baseball pitcher John Smoltz chases full-time PGA Tour Champions card

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz is aiming to earn a spot on the PGA Tour Champions this week as he competes at the qualifying tournament in Arizona.

Smoltz, an eight-time All-Star who enjoyed a 22-year baseball career, is part of the 78-man field vying for a top-five spot at TPC Scottsdale, which would see him win his first Champions Tour card.

But despite his sporting pedigree, the former pitcher knows that he has a huge task in front of him.

“I don’t live in a false reality,” said Smoltz, according to the PGA Tour. “This sport is really difficult. I’m not trying to think that this is something that I could do for a whole year or not … but it’s fun to attempt it.”

The 1995 World Series champion finished tied for 14th in the first stage of PGA Tour Champions Q-School in Valrico, Florida last month to gain a spot in this week’s final stage tournament.

Smoltz finished the week with a one-over 289, his best performance in Champions Tour qualifying across four attempts.

He has already played in nine Champions Tour events, and earning a Tour card would be a notable achievement in his already impressive sporting resume.

“To me, this has been an incredible journey, just to see where I can take my golf game,” said the 56-year-old Smoltz, who played for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals during his MLB career.

“It helps me to become a better golfer. I just want to become a better golfer.”

Smoltz tees off at 10:52 a.m. local time (12:52 p.m. Eastern Time) at TPC Scottsdale on Tuesday as he begins his qualifying attempt across 72 holes.

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