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T.J. Vogel cards second-lowest final round, earns first Korn Ferry Tour win at Club Car Championship at The Landings Club

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T.J. Vogel cards second-lowest final round, earns first Korn Ferry Tour win at Club Car Championship at The Landings Club

    Written by Zach Dirlam @KornFerryTour

    3 things to know | Final Round | 2022 Club Car Championship

    SAVANNAH, Georgia – T.J. Vogel, who first earned Korn Ferry Tour membership ahead of the 2014 season and made his 104th career start on Tour this week, earned his first win in an official PGA TOUR-sanctioned event Sunday evening at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Club. Vogel carded a final-round 5-under 67, tied for the second-lowest score of the day at The Landings Club’s Deer Creek course, securing a one-stroke victory over outright 54-hole leader Mark Anderson and Ryan Blaum.

    “I’ve worked so hard for this, I have so many people to thank, and I’m just happy,” Vogel said on the Korn Ferry Tour’s livestream coverage of the 72nd hole. “I finally proved to myself I could do it. I was out here as a young pro, but not quite ready at that point. I moved back, worked my way back up and just progressed. I felt like my progression was very slow, but I felt like I always kept moving a little bit up, a little bit up, and this is a big step here.”

    Vogel sat three strokes off the 54-hole lead but quickly thrust himself into the championship picture with an opening birdie and an eagle at the par-5 third. Then came a run of three consecutive birdies, as Vogel drove the green and two-putted the 265-yard par-4 fifth, reached the 563-yard par-5 fifth in two and two-putted, and capped the run with a chip-in from a short-sided position at the par-4 seventh.

    “I missed the green to the left, which is the way you couldn’t do it, but I made it,” Vogel said. “Really tough chip… just bumped it into the hill (with a 50-degree wedge).”

    A bogey at the par-4 ninth dropped Vogel to 5-under par for the day, and on the back nine he remained there with bogeys at Nos. 13 and 15 countered by birdies at Nos. 14 and 16. Vogel saved par from the greenside bunker at the par-3 17th, and two-putted for par from inside of 20 feet at the par-5 18th.

    As Vogel stepped onto the 18th tee, he and Anderson shared the lead at 17-under par. Anderson bogeyed the 16th and 17th and fell two strokes behind, leaving him with a wedge from inside of 100 yards for a tying eagle attempt on No. 18. Anderson’s wedge shot missed 3 feet right of the pin.

    “In the middle of the back nine, I kind of knew where I was and had a couple squirrely shots, but I was able to recover,” Vogel said. “I had a really tough bunker shot (at No. 17) and I was like, ‘I need to get this up and down.’ I didn’t really have a choice. I hit a great shot, made the putt… after that, I felt really good. That’s a tough hole and anything can happen.”

    Vogel certainly ranks as one of the season’s most unexpected winners, as his last top-five finish in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event came on PGA TOUR Canada in June 2017.

    Vogel’s journey to the winner’s circle began when he signed with University of Southern California as a standout junior golfer. In his first season with the Trojans, Vogel was 2010 All-Pac-10 First Team and the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. After a rocky sophomore season, Vogel, who grew up in south Florida, transferred to the University of Florida. Vogel was a 2012 All-America Third Team selection as a junior and turned professional following his senior season in the summer of 2013.

    Vogel qualified for Final Stage of the 2013 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, where he earned conditional membership with a T73 finish. Vogel missed 14 cuts across 27 starts on Tour in 2014 and 2015, but he retained conditional membership with return trips to Final Stage after both seasons.

    Much of Vogel’s 2016 season was spent on PGA TOUR Canada, where he finished 26th on the Order of Merit. The following year, he finished 10th on the Order of Merit and earned another trip to Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. After only three starts in 2018, Vogel finished T16 at Final Stage for guaranteed starts in 2019.

    Those guaranteed starts teed up Vogel’s best season on the Korn Ferry Tour, as he finished No. 53 on the points list and was fully exempt for what became the 2020-21 combined season. Vogel recorded the best finish of his career, a T7 at the LECOM Suncoast Classic in February 2020, but he only managed six top-25s following the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus and he finished 97th on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List.

    Vogel was exempt to Second Stage of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, and he breezed through the Plantation, Florida site for yet another ticket to Final Stage – which was held at The Landings Club’s Marshwood and Magnolia courses – last November.

    Although Vogel left The Landings Club without guaranteed starts, he got into two of the first three events of the season on his number. A T19 at the season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay and T10 at The Panama Championship moved him up the priority ranking once the reshuffle took effect following the fourth event, earning him entry to the last three events on his number.

    The win for Vogel struck quite a personal chord, as he and his fiancée, Alison Ramos, can now afford their dream wedding. The first thing Vogel did after the win became official was call Ramos. The two have been together almost nine years.

    “She works so hard at home,” Vogel said of Ramos, who is a physical therapist. “We’re trying to do our best (in California) to pay for our wedding and to buy a home, just progress in life. I can’t thank her enough for her sacrifices, because she’s worked really hard and it’s inspired me that I need to get it together and do my part.”

    With the win, Vogel moves to No. 7 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, which puts him ahead of three other players already with a win on their records this season.

    “We all want to move up to the (PGA) TOUR, and this helps a lot,” Vogel said. “Still got work to do, but this is a huge steppingstone. It gives me the relief that I know I’m going to be around for at least a couple years giving myself a chance to move up and really make some money.”

    The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season continues Wednesday, April 13 with the first round of the Veritex Bank Championship in Arlington, Texas, with the event being contested at Texas Rangers Golf Club.

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