Note to professional golfers on the Korn Ferry Tour: A par on the 18th hole at Hillcrest Country Club on a Sunday at the Albertsons Boise Open is a perfectly acceptable score.
Just make a pair and then see what happens.
That’s essentially what former Vanderbilt player Will Gordon did in the first hole of Sunday’s three-way playoff, which also included Philip Knowles and MJ Daffue. Knowles and Daffue fought hard on the 18th green.
Gordon’s pair gave him a two-stroke first playoff win at the Boise Open since 2014. The tournament was the first of three Korn Ferry Tour Finals events in which Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour golfers hope to secure PGA Tour cards. for the next season.
“I’m so excited,” Gordon said of his first win on the Korn Ferry Tour. “I really can’t believe this, honestly.”
In fact, it was an almost unbelievable turnaround.
Gordon, the 2019 SEC Player of the Year, started the round tied for 13th and seven strokes behind the lead. But he jumped up the leaderboard by carding an eagle on the second hole of the par 5 and then posting five consecutive birdies on the back nine en route to an 8 under 63, which tied him with another golfer in the best round of the tournament. day.
Gordon posted a total of 21 below. And then came the wait. He started nearly two hours before Knowles, who led after each of the first three rounds.
“I went to the locker room and left,” Gordon said. “Honestly, I was just hoping to get a chance.”
Eventually, Gordon made his way to the driving range as Knowles played the 18th hole. Knowles, who hit 61 and 64 in the first two rounds, was on track to hit 1 under 70 in the final round. He walked into the 18th tee box with a one-shot lead and a tournament win in his hands.
But Knowles’ approach ended up on the back edge, well above the hole in the tricky 18th. Her shot came out hot and she didn’t calm down until he was well past the hole.
“I was like, ‘Unless he does a 30-foot, we have more golf to play,’” Gordon said.
That 30-foot shot didn’t go in, and so the three-man playoff began.
As the three golfers approached the 18th green on the first hole of the playoff, Gordon was well below the hole and Knowles and Daffue were above it. Gordon went first and his putt was about 18 inches from the hole.
“I basically knew I had 4 (pair), and so I thought, ‘Maybe one of these guys can’t do it,’” Gordon said.
In fact, both were wrong. And again, and again. Knowles and Daffue came out of the playoff hole having carded double bogeys.
And Gordon walked away with a trophy and the winner’s check for $180,000.
“It happened so fast,” Gordon said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can double-tap from 18 inches. This is really cool.’ … I’m really happy with how it worked out, obviously, and I’m happy to be back on the PGA Tour.”
After an extended stint on the Korn Ferry Tour, Gordon secured his return to the PGA Tour, where he made 43 appearances, including a tie for third at the 2020 Travelers Championship.
As for Knowles, he didn’t get the victory he so desperately wanted. But he earned his first PGA Tour card and easily his best result as a pro.
“I know I have a PGA (Tour) card… and I don’t even know what that really means,” Knowles said. “I have so much to learn.”
One lesson is already in the books, however.
“I learned that I can win here… even if I haven’t crossed that line,” Knowles said. “I’ve played a lot of golf and I have two more weeks (in the Korn Tour finals). So I have to leave here with my head held high.”
GRADES: Daffue earned his PGA Tour card before reaching the Boise Open via the regular season points list. … Sunday marked the second year in a row that the leader’s play on the 18th green left those in attendance breathless. Last year, Aaron Rai held on to the lead before seeing his back fringe kick go through the hole and onto the front of the green. He settled for a double bogey and lost by one shot to eventual champion Greyson Sigg. … The Korn Ferry Tour Finals resumes on Thursday with the Children’s Hospital National Championships in Columbus, Ohio.