Rookie Wise storms to maiden PGA Tour win
Aaron Wise marked himself out as name for the future on the PGA Tour earlier this month at Quail Hollow.
But few would have expected the 21-year-old to fulfil that promise quite so quickly after the rookie stormed to a record-breaking maiden tour victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Wise lit up the Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas all week long and his final round 65, with no bogeys, held off Marc Leishman to claim victory in a tournament record 23-under par final total.
WISE BEYOND HIS YEARS
The NCAA champion in 2016 with the Oregon Ducks, Wise’s rise through the professional ranks has been meteoric.
Already with wins on the Web.com (2017) and Mackenzie (2016) tours, the big-hitting youngster caught the eye a fortnight ago in the Wells Fargo Championship.
There he finished runner-up to Jason Day but in southern Dallas this week, Wise went one better.
His achievement is all the more impressive when you consider that five of the world’s top 25 – including Champion Golfer of the Year Jordan Spieth – were in attendance and Leishman kicked off proceedings with a stunning 61 on Thursday.
Tee off times were delayed by two hours on Sunday due to inclement weather, but even that could not ruffle young Wise who started the final day in a share of the lead with Leishman.
And after becoming the youngest PGA Tour winner since Si Woo Kim at The Players last year, the American could not hide his delight.
"It's awesome, I get to plan my schedule, this is huge for me," said Wise, who rises to 18th in the FedEx play-off rankings and 66th in the world rankings.
"The majors, getting up there in the FedEx Cup, definitely in the playoffs now. It's huge, it's a dream come true to win this one.
"I felt oddly calm all day long and to pull that off and play as good as I did today, bogey free, it was awesome.
"I was more nervous yesterday, oddly enough. It's pretty incredible to get this win."
With the win, Wise earns a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour as well as an invitation to next year's Masters.
BRANDEN BACK IN GOOD GRACES
Open fans will never forget Branden Grace’s stunning 62 at last year’s Open Championship.
The 30-year-old South African stunned Royal Birkdale in the third round last year to record the lowest total in men’s major history.
And he was at it again on Sunday in Dallas – firing another 62 to equal his best-ever and end up in a tie for third with J.J. Spaun and Keith Mitchell at 19-under.
Spieth meanwhile shot a 67 to finish 11 under, tied for 21st, and his wait for a first tournament win since last year’s Open goes on.
"Felt like I played better than I scored," Spieth said. "Typically when you say that, it just means putts didn't go in."
ADRIAN’S A KNOCKOUT
Adrian Otaegui claimed the second European Tour title of his career after defeating Benjamin Hebert in the final of the inaugural Belgian Knockout.
After a first two days of normal 18-hole stroke play, the tournament switched on the weekend to nine-hole knockouts.
And the 25-year-old had already downed Jorge Campillo and David Drysdale to reach the final of the nine-hole stroke play format, where he posted a score of three under to secure a two-shot victory.
"I'm very happy," Otaegui said. "We both played very good golf and I'm just very proud of my week."