Keeping Score

Hayden Buckley gains last spot and then 1st place

Given a spot in LECOM Suncoast Classic with only minutes to spare, Buckley wins 3-man playoff for 1st Korn Ferry Tour title

10: Length, in feet, of the putt that Hayden Buckley made on the first playoff hole for a birdie and victory at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic on Sunday in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Buckley completed quite a week that started when he was first alternate into the field on Thursday morning. With two holes remaining at Lakewood National Golf Club, he trailed Billy Kennerly by two strokes, but Kennerly finished with a double bogey and a bogey, opening the door for Buckley (70), Dawson Armstrong (67) and Taylor Montgomery (67) to tie at 13-under 271 after 72 holes. “I didn’t want to play two holes; I’m tired and my legs hurt,” Buckley said with a laugh after he needed only one extra hole for his playoff victory. “It’s hard to believe. To get up there and do what you know you have to do, knowing it will change your life, it’s hard to put into words. It’s just a lot of relief, knowing I can plan a schedule. I have a whole year no matter what and I can compete for a [PGA] Tour card.” Only 15 minutes before the 7:17 a.m. tee time for Thursday’s first round, Buckley learned that he had gained entry via the final spot. He raced to the range to hit 10 balls and then made it to the tee, opening with a 68. He followed with 65, 68 and 70. Buckley, 24, won in only his 17th career start on the Korn Ferry Tour. He won once in 12 starts in 2019 on the Mackenzie Tour. Buckley is a 2018 Missouri graduate who started his college career as a walk-on and left Mizzou with the program’s lowest stroke average (scores).

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