The PGA Tour’s regular-season finale had a little bit of everything. There was an early start, dramatic twists and turns, electrifying aces, devastating three-putts and one wild six-man playoff. (That’s right, six.)
There can only be one real winner — and that was Kevin Kisner — but there were more little victories to be had on Sunday at the Wyndham Championship, since it was the last chance for golfers to sneak into the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings, earn a spot in the playoffs and, more importantly, keep their PGA Tour card for another year.
So it was a perfect Sunday for Chesson Hadley to have himself a day.
Hadley, who needed to go low to get into the top 125 and retain his card, went off early and shot a blistering eight-under 62, which included an opening-nine 29 highlighted by the first hole-in-one of his career.
He started the day 132nd in the FedEx Cup standings and was 126th, one place out of the final spot, when he finished his round. He still needed some help. Before he knew his fate, Hadley stopped to talk with CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis.
“It’s a … it’s been a tough year,” Hadley said, fighting tears. “It’s been a tough last few years and, gosh, I’m a terrible crier. And to just have something good happen today was special. That was my very first hole in one ever. That is not a joke. I’m 34 and played pro golf for like 11 years, and that was my first one. This was just a treat. It’s about as close to home as I get. I’m on the outside looking in right now, but I know some things can change. But it’s just good to feel something good happen.”
This is where Justin Rose comes in. Rose was projected at 115th through 17 holes on Sunday, but he three-putted the 18th hole for bogey and dropped down. When he missed that five-footer for par, it pushed Rose to 126 and Hadley to 125. It stayed that way for the rest of the day as Hadley locked up a card and spot at next week’s Northern Trust, the first of three playoff events.
Let’s go back to that brilliant, raw, endearing interview Hadley had with Balionis.
“It’s emotional because I care,” he said. “I’m not just out here for fun. This is my job and I love it, and I care very deeply about it, and that’s why I’m emotional. [Long pause.] I’m about of pretty of a crier as this leap that you guys are about to see. Hopefully Amanda can go ahead and bring me back to something positive so I can kind of smile a little bit, because this is going downhill quick.”
Hadley, who is 6-4 and 175 pounds, was referring to his hole-in-one celebration.
“I looked like a baby giraffe like jumping into the air,” he said, as he watched it back. “Guys, pro golfers get such a bad rap for us not being athletic, and I promise you I’m a good athlete, but it’s probably going to be hard for you guys to believe that after seeing this jump, but anyway. I was excited.”
Hadley finished T15 at the Wyndham. His next stop? Liberty National and the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Check out his full interview with Balionis below. It’s worth your time.