As the FedEx Cup Playoffs roared on last week there were other stories that flew under the radar. Here are three stories you might’ve missed.
Brandon Wu is headed home to Winged Foot
Six weeks ago, Brandon Wu had yet to make a start this season on the Korn Ferry Tour. Today, he’s making arrangements for next month’s U.S. Open.
With his come-from-behind win at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, Wu punched his ticket into the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, which is just down the road from where he grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y. It will be his second consecutive U.S. Open appearance.
“It hasn’t even set in yet,” Wu said. “I’ve run through the scenarios so many times the past few days, you know, what it would feel like going home, getting to play and getting to tell my friends that I can play this year. It’s hard to believe. I’m just really happy.”
After failing to secure starts at Q school last winter, it has been a struggle for the Stanford grad to secure starts during his first year as a professional. But when he finally got his chance, he took advantage. A T9 finish during his first start of the season jump started his run, and it only got better from there. He finished T2 two weeks ago in Boise before putting everything together last week.
He began the day five shots back of the leaders, but a closing seven-under 65 gave him the clubhouse lead at Victoria National. As the other contenders faltered down the stretch, Wu’s dream of playing at Winged Foot were realized.
Austin Ernst rallies in Arkansas
Austin Ernst knew she needed to go low during the final round of the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship to have a chance. She did just that as she carded a 63 on the final day to claim her second LPGA Tour title.
“I kind of thought at the beginning of the week that 20 under would win and I think that’s what I got to, so guess I was right on that one,” Ernst said. “But you knew that out here you needed to attack and you couldn’t be afraid.”
The win is Ernst’s first in six years, as she last found the winner’s circle at the 2014 Portland Classic, and comes after a lackluster 2019 in which she only registered one top-10 finish.
“Oh, man, it feels good,” she said. “I have worked really hard. I think this break was fantastic for me. Helped get my confidence back. I had a rough year last year. I played so well in 2018, and, man, just feels so good right now.”
Golfer makes history in Oklahoma
The 16-under 55 Hughes posted at South Lakes Golf Course in Jenks, Okla. ties the Guinness world record held by PGA Tour player Rhein Gibson. The magical round included 10 birdies and three eagles, one of which was a hole-in-one on his second hole of the day.
“To do that on any golf course and record that score, it’s just pretty mind blowing,” Hughes said. “It gives you a lot of confidence. It gives me a lot of confidence.”
Hughes sandwiched the hole-in-one with pars early on, and then he got hot. He birdied the next five and then eagled the 9th to make the turn in 26. That’s when he knew he had something special cooking.
“At that point, shooting 26 on the front nine, I was thinking this is starting to get a little absurd,” Hughes said.
He continued his heater on the back as he birdied the 10th to reach 10 under before cooling off with just one birdie on his next four. Hughes then played the final four in five under to tie Gibson’s record.
“It’s remarkable to be on such a short list of people who have shot in the mid- to upper-50s,” he said. “It’s incredible. I’m just blessed to be able to shoot a score like that and be a part of history in some sort of way. It’s very humbling.”