At one point on Saturday at TPC River Highlands, Zack Sucher had built up an incredible five-shot lead over the rest of the field at the Travelers Championship.
While that lead dwindled fast, disappearing in just a few holes on the back nine, the 32-year-old is still leaving Connecticut a changed man.
Sucher finished with a final round 67 on Sunday, thanks to four birdies in his final six holes and a chip-in par on No. 18, to finish in a tie for second place. Though he came up short of the ultimate goal — Chez Reavie won the tournament at 17-under par, snapping an 11-year drought on the PGA Tour — Sucher is beyond ecstatic.
A chip-in on the 72nd hole gave @ZackSucherPGA a T2 finish @TravelersChamp.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 24, 2019
He leapt from No. 222 in the #FedExCup standings to No. 126.
The top 125 reach the FedExCup Playoffs. He's never qualified. pic.twitter.com/Zu7vuoqT5h
“It's amazing. It's life changing to be honest,” Sucher said, via the Associated Press. “It changes the rest of our year, it changes our plans and we have a lot of work to do to figure what else we have to do now.”
Sucher’s win not only jumped him from 222nd to 126th in the FedExCup standings — just outside the mark to qualify for the playoffs — but it brought home a big check, something Sucher hasn’t seen in his professional career.
Sucher’s second place finish earned him $633,600. Before Sunday, Sucher had earned just more than $850,000 total in his six years prior in professional golf — mainly on the Korn Ferry Tour, which replaced the Web.com Tour this weekend.
Perhaps the toughest stretch during that time, however, was during the 2017 season, just his second on the PGA Tour.
Sucher struggled early, missing 11 of 14 cuts. When he did make the cut, he never finished better than a tie for 42nd. Things got worse after the Travelers Championship that year. Sucher was forced to undergo surgery due to lingering ankle issues started impacting his knee. He had to step away from golf completely for 13 months, and went without any income for 210 days while waiting for the PGA Tour disability policy to kick in, according to the Golf Channel.
“We had seven months with no income at all coming in two years ago,” Sucher said, via the Golf Channel. “During that, we had to take out some credit cards.”
The last few months, though, Sucher found success on the course again. He finished in a tie for fourth at the Dormie Network Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour, and backed that up with a tie for second at the Rex Hospital Open earlier this month — which secured his Korn Ferry Tour card for next year.
He still has work to do to remain on the PGA Tour. He will use his final two starts left on his medical exemption at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the John Deere Classic, and is just 77 points shy of retaining his Tour card.
Sucher, though, isn’t worried about the points or where he stands in the golf world.
He’s just happy his family is in a better place again.
“To be honest, I'm not sure what all this does for points-wise, for next year,” Sucher said, via the Golf Channel. “I don't even know how that works.
“I know that like two months ago we had credit card debt. So I know we don't have that anymore.”
Chez Reavie ends 11-year PGA Tour drought with win at Travelers Championship
Chez Reavie’s first win on the PGA Tour came at the 2008 RBC Canadian Open.
Then, nothing for 11 years. Reavie kept coming up short.
Finally, though, the 37-year-old broke through.
Reavie picked up his second career win on Sunday at the Travelers Championship after going 17-under par, beating the field by four strokes. Zach Sucher and Keegan Bradley finished in second at 13-under, and Vaughn Taylor took fourth at 12-under. Brooks Koepka, fresh off his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open last week, finished in a tie for 57th at even par.
“It means everything,” Reavie said, via the Associated Press. “I went through some injuries, had some long years there in the middle. But it was great, because it gave good perseverance and good perspective of what life is and what golf is.”
Reavie’s Sunday was not his best by any means. He finished just 1-under par on the day. It was his Saturday, though, that put him in position to surge ahead.
The Wichita, Kansas, native fired seven birdies on his back nine in the third round to finish with a 28, jumping him to the front of the pack at TPC River Highlands. On Sunday, he just had to hold on until a birdie on No. 17 finally did the trick — sealing his first win in 3,983 days.
“I had to stay patient today. Keegan was playing great and I kept missing putts,” Reavie said, via Golfweek. “It felt like I was hitting good putts and they just weren't going in. Finally, I made one on 17 to turn the corner.”
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