Before he registered a career-best T-2 finish earlier this month at the Wells Fargo Championship, Aaron Wise said his “time was going to come eventually” in regards to a victory. Little did he know it would come in his very next start just two weeks later.
Despite a four-hour rain delay, Wise left no doubt in the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, carding a bogey-free, six-under 65 to win the AT&T Byron Nelson by three strokes over Marc Leishman. It was Wise’s first career US PGA Tour win, and it comes in just his 26th start.
“It’s awesome, I get to plan my schedule. This is huge for me,” said Wise, who at 21 became the youngest winner on tour since Si Woo Kim won the 2017 Players Championship. “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.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 21, 2018
While the T-2 at Quail Hollow followed by this victory may seem like a surprise, it’s not to those who have followed Wise’s quick rise to this position. He’s won at every level he’s competed in, including taking the NCAA individual crown in 2016, the 2015 Pacific Amateur, and racking up wins on both the Mackenzie andtours. Those experiences, plus a close call at the Wells Fargo, came in handy today in Dallas despite the fact that he would be a senior at Oregon University this spring if he hadn’t turned pro after his sophomore year.
“Just a tonne of self belief. It was always there, but to do it on a stage, to know I’ve done it really helped me today,” Wise said. “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 US Tour as well as an invitation to next year’s Masters.
Leishman shot a final-round three-under 68, one that included an eagle at the par-4 fifth and four birdies. But bogeys at the second, 10th and 15th holes wound up being the difference. It’s his sixth finish of ninth or better this season, and his second solo runner-up, the first coming in October when he lost to Justin Thomas in a playoff at the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea.
Branden Grace posted a nine-under 62 that featured an eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-par stretch to finish his round and put him in a tie for third with J.J. Spaun and Keith Mitchell at 19-under 265. Ryan Blaum, Kevin Na and Jimmy Walker tied for sixth at 16-under 268.
Adam Scott’s tournament gave him both joy and exasperation. The former Masters champion notched his best finish in 11 months with a three-way tie for ninth place, but he needed that tie to be two-way in order to break back into the top-60 in the Official World Golf Ranking, which as of this latest weekend of events would have given him automatic entry into the US Open next month. As the numbers reveal, it was that close:
Scott, who hasn’t missed any of the past 67 Majors, still has avenues remaining to be at Shinnecock Hills. There is another top-60 world ranking entry cut-off on June 11 and he also has the option of teeing it up in sectional qualifying in a fortnight.
He spoke after his round:
Adam Scott needs two-way T-9 or better @attbyronnelson to secure US Open spot. Currently T-10. His chances aren’t looking good — but he gets another shot next week @fortworthinv pic.twitter.com/jBKvWpMynO
— Mike McAllister (@PGATOUR_mikemc) May 21, 2018