A back nine of three-under 32 has put a determined Harrison Endycott just a round away from PGA TOUR promotion at the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season finale in Nebraska.
With his father Brian in attendance to witness the realisation of a lifelong dream, the 25-year-old from Avondale Golf Club bounced back from an outward nine of one-over to post two-under 69 in round three of the Pinnacle Bank Championship and move into a share of 41st.
Winner of the Huntsville Championship earlier in the season, Endycott’s special addition to the gallery has only heightened the emotion surrounding his quest.
The former Golf NSW High Performance team member had bogeys at two, six and nine against birdies at four and seven on his outward nine. He dug deep to make three birdies in the space of four holes from the 12th to strengthen his position settled the nerves somewhat.
Nineteenth in the standing at the start off the week, and projected to finish in 21st after the third round, Endycott simply needs to preserve his place on the leaderboard to guarantee his place in the top 25 on the regular season points list.
If Endycott holds his position it will likely be enough to secure one of the ten remaining cards to be distributed at the completion of this wek’s tournament.
A further 25 cards will be awarded at the end of the three-week Korn Ferry Tour Finals which begin next week but given he is so close, Endycott will want to wrap up his card at the first available opportunity.
It has been a decade since Endycott lost his mother to ovarian cancer and there will not be a dry eye anywhere at The Club at Indian Creek if he and his father get to celebrate a PGA TOUR card on Sunday.
Davis On the Edge at St Jude
Roseville’s Cameron Davis sit in 67th place and in need of a solid final round in the opening week of the Fedex Cup playoffs at the St Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis.
Projected to finish in 67th place, with the top 70 advancing to next weeks tournament, Davis is one of three Aussies on the ‘bubble alongside Adam Scott (64th) and Marc Leishman (69th).
All eyes; however, are on freshly crowned Open Champion, Cameron Smith, who with a victory this week will become World number one.
The equation is simple: Win the FedEx St Jude Championship on Sunday and Smith becomes the No.1 player in men’s golf.
Making his first start since his Open Championship triumph at St Andrews, the Queensalander posted three-under 67 on Saturday to sit in a share of third at 11-under par.
At the venue where he very nearly won 12 months ago, Smith is just two strokes back of American JJ Spaun.
Given that current world No.1 Scottie Scheffler missed the cut, a victory would see Smith move ahead and become just the fourth Australian to ever reach the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings.
“That would mean a lot,” Smith said of the prospect of becoming the No.1 player in the world, joining Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Jason Day as the only Aussies to achieve the feat.
“I mean, that’s what we’re all here to do.
“That’s been one of my goals since the start of the year is to try to get to that top spot and try and chase it down.”
Smith was tied for the lead standing on the 72nd tee in last year’s WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational only for an errant tee shot and subsequent bold play that backfired dropping him down into a tie for fifth.
Despite the lack of play since The Open – and more than a couple of Claret Jug-centric celebrations – Smith said the familiarity with the golf course has allowed him to pick up where he left off.
“I knew that I felt comfortable around here, which is a massive confidence boost starting the week,” said Smith.
“A lot of work last week with my trainer. The body felt good and the game is still feeling good, so yeah, can’t wait for tomorrow.
“Didn’t get off to the greatest start. Hit lots of good putts that could have gone in early in the round, they just weren’t dropping.
“As the day went on, the putts started to drop a little bit. Just really solid all in all.”
Out in even par, Smith made a birdie from 15 feet to start the back nine on the front foot, two-putting from 31 feet for birdie at the par-5 16th and holing a 14-footer at the last to move within two of the lead.