How almost missing a flight led to James Hahn winning a tournament

For every frequent flier, there comes a time when you’re sweating to catch a flight. It’s an anxiety-inducing exercise that no one wants to experience, but if you fly enough, you’re sure to find yourself hustling to get on a plane before the doors close for good.

James Hahn flies near weekly with his schedule as PGA Tour pro, so this song and dance is nothing unusual. However, one near-miss was more consequential than most.

As Hahn explained on the most recent episode of GOLF’s Subpar, in 2012 he was in contention on the Korn Ferry Tour late on a Sunday, but all the while he had eyes on the clock, hoping to catch a cross-country flight after the event.

As luck would have it, Hahn ended up in a playoff by day’s end, helping his chances that he’d win the tournament, but hurting his chances he’d catch his flight for a U.S. Open qualifier.

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After matching pars with his opponent, Scott Parel, on the first playoff hole, Hahn came to the second playoff hole and decided it would be the last hole of the tournament.

“We’re in the middle of the fairway and we’re debating whether we want to go for it or lay up,” Hahn said. “I asked [my caddie], ‘Hey, what time is it?’ … I’ve got a flight to catch.”

When his caddie told him the time, Hahn realized he was on a tight deadline. With that information in hand, he decided to go for the green. Either he’d execute the shot, birdie the hole, and win the playoff, or he’d hit in the water and lose. But he wasn’t going to miss his flight.

“Regardless, it needs to end on this hole,” Hahn recalled.

While Hahn didn’t quite hit the shot he had in mind — he flared it well right of the green — the ball did not find the water, and he was able to get up-and-down for birdie. When Parel failed to card a birdie of his own, Hahn was the champion.

“I’m telling the guys, ‘I gotta get out of here. We’ve got to do this trophy presentation,’” Hahn said. “So we do it within 15 minutes and I catch [my] flight.”

To hear more from Hahn’s appearance on Subpar, check out the full interview below. Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.