With a clutch up-and-down on the 72nd hole, Perth’s Curtis Luck outlasted the field to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, finishing the week at 11-under 273. Theo Humphrey, Taylor Montgomery and Cameron Young finished in a tie for second at 10-under 274.
“Yeah, it’s actually a really deep breath of relief,” Luck said after the win. “Golf’s really tough. It’s probably not gone 100 percent to plan with the way I wanted to when I turned pro, but yeah, I’ve just stuck with it and I’m still working hard. Obviously, to get a win out here is massive because not only does it give me status for the next couple of years out here on the Korn Ferry Tour, it just shows that I’m able to compete, which is nice.”
Luck, who held the 36 and 54-hole leads at Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet course, emerged victorious from a crowded leaderboard that saw five players tied for the lead at one point on the last day.
Entering the final round with a one-stroke advantage, Luck couldn’t seem to find his rhythm on the front nine. After seven consecutive pars, he dropped a shot at the par-3 eighth to fall back to 10-under. On the 11th, he dropped another shot with his second bogey of the day and fell off the top of a crowded leaderboard.
“Yeah, it was a tough day from start to finish,” he said. “Unfortunately, I made a couple of bogeys, but I just rolled with them and dug deep to finish.”
After pars on holes 12-14, Luck made his charge back up the leaderboard with a birdie on the 15th. At the par-4 16th, he drained a lengthy birdie attempt to regain the solo-lead at 11-under.
The drama would unfold on the 18th as Luck found himself one stroke ahead of playing partner Young on the tee. Humphrey and Montgomery had both posted the clubhouse lead at 10-under 274.
Luck’s drive on the 18th hit a tree but still managed to find the fairway. Young, who began the day one stroke off the lead, took an aggressive line, leaving himself a short pitch shot into the 401-metre par-4.
Luck’s approach missed the green right and found the greenside bunker leaving him a difficult up-and-down. From just short of the green, Young stuck his second shot inside seven feet, leaving him a great look for birdie.
After a difficult bunker shot, Luck faced a similar-length par putt to post 11-under for the week but was still outside Young’s birdie attempt. As he had done all week, the West Australian drained the par attempt, leaving Young with a chance to force a playoff. Despite his best effort, Young’s putt slid past the hole and secured Luck the win.
“Yeah, it was an intense hole,” Luck said of the 18th. “I thought I hit a good tee shot down there and just clipped one of those trees and shot it out backwards into the fairway. And I just, I hit a poor iron shot. I wasn’t trying to do anything special, just middle of the green and hit a poor iron shot.
“Fortunately, yeah, I made a wicked up-and-down and put the pressure back on Cam, who as I said, I’m certain that if I missed, with how good a player Cam is, he would have rolled that thing straight in and shut us all out.”
With the victory, Luck moved to 18th on the points list. He also put himself in great position to secure one of the five spots in the 2020 US Open awarded at the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series.
— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) August 23, 2020