Harrison Endycott cashed in on an unexpected opportunity today to share the lead of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Louisiana Open.
The Sydney golfer, with limited playing status on the secondary US Tour this season, had been an alternate this week but was elevated to the field on Tuesday afternoon when Ryan Brehm withdrew.
Endycott, a member of Australia’s winning Eisenhower Trophy team in 2016, made the most of that opportunity with a fine four-under-par 67 to jointly lead with Americans Max Greyserman and Peter Uihlein.
The windswept Le Triomphe course averaged in excess of 72.5, its highest daily total in more than a decade, giving Endycott an even better look at a result that could change his year.
The Avondale member is making his first Korn Ferry start of 2021 after not making the Suncoast Classic field last month.
The 24-year-old made 17 starts in 2020, his rookie season, with a career-best T8 finish at the Wichita Open.
“It’s a little bit of a question mark going in each week,” said Endycott of being on the alternate bubble.
“Any week out here, a big week is crucial and it can change your life … it’s hard because you don’t know what people (in the field or on the bubble) are thinking or feeling.
“You have to be optimistic, you can’t think you’re not in and that’s why I travelled here – I have to prepare like I am in.”
Endycott made a fast start but gave a shot back on the ninth to turn in two under.
But he rattled off three birdies in four holes from the 10th to kick clear, only to give back a late shot at the 17th.
“It was all about patience today,” he said.
“I was like the 14th alternate last (month), so it’s crazy how it can change.
“I’m very grateful that I’m actually playing this week and trying to make the most of it. It’s always a bonus to play well in the first round. I didn’t get to see too much of the golf course (in practice), so for me to go out and shoot a good number, I really had little expectations today.”
Of the other Australians in the field, Aaron Baddeley carded an even-par 71 to share 34th and Curtis Luck a 72, while Ryan Ruffels, Rob Allenby and Jamie Arnold are within range at 73.
But Brett Drewitt (76) and Mark Hensby (78) will need to go low tomorrow to play at the weekend.