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From Argentina to The Open: Zack Fischer's path to major success

4 Min Read


From Argentina to The Open: Zack Fischer's path to major success

    Zack Fischer went to the United Kingdom the Wednesday before The Open Championship and spent Thursday in London. He got to Royal Liverpool, the site of the major championship, on Friday and played it like a kid. He hit drivers all over the place. He hit out of bunkers left-handed, tried a couple foolish shots, and got all that wide-eyed trial and error out of his system early. He had a blast.

    “It was just me and golf and my dad, who walked inside the ropes with me,” said Fischer. “I sat there on 18 with the wind blowing and the grandstands and the leaderboard and I was just looking on in amazement.”

    Fischer, who won the Visa Argentina Open presented by Macro in December to earn a spot in The Open, ended up making the cut at Hoylake – the first time in his career he found the weekend at a major. He decided to skip this week’s NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank after a heavy week across the pond – plus plenty of logistics to return home – but has a laser-like focus on the balance of the Korn Ferry Tour season.

    And he’ll be armed with the kind of experience only a major championship can offer.

    “The weekend was definitely disappointing,” Fischer admitted, “but I just told myself there were 80 guys who were hoping to be in that spot to finish […] after making the cut.

    “I’ll just have memories I’ll cherish forever.”

    Fischer opened the week with a tidy even-par 71.

    “I played really, really well the first round,” Fischer said. “I shot even par and had an out-of-bounds ball that was literally out by an inch. You take that away, make the par, and I’m 2 under. And I had a three putt. I could have been right there near the lead after the first round.”

    The second round Fischer said he “battled”, and to make the cut was “incredible.” Although eventual winner Brian Harman was running away with the championship at that point, Fischer was only a half-dozen shots behind second. If he had a good day on Saturday, he said, he could have really made some noise.

    “But Jon Rahm stole that away from me,” Fischer said with a laugh of the Spaniard, who shot a tournament-record 63 in the third round, “I’m blaming it on him.”

    Fischer said there were plenty of cool moments throughout the week, but none cooler than when he played the par-3 17th on the weekend. The new, short hole – converted as such in a recent course renovation from a par 4 to “Little Eye” – featured tons of fans all week long. Everyone, Fischer said, started a slow clap that reached a cheering crescendo when he got to the green.

    Not only were the general spectators cheering Fischer on, but he had his whole family with him, plus his swing coach and his wife. It was a big family get-together, Fischer said.

    The way Fischer got to The Open was a unique enough tale, too.

    He had never teed it up on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, but during a lull in the Korn Ferry Tour season, he asked his wife if heading to play in Argentina was an option. It’s a pricey adventure at the end of a long year – even one where Fischer notched four top-10 finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour the 11 months prior.

    Still, Fischer’s wife said yes and off they went.

    “Our season ended in September on the Korn Ferry Tour and I did some Monday qualifiers, but we had all this dead time until January, so I started looking at how I could try to keep my game somewhat sharp,” said Fischer. “We were looking at (Argentina) and I was like, ‘I’d like to go down there because I feel like I could compete pretty well.’ I played well in South America whenever we played Korn Ferry Tour events, and I booked my ticket.

    “Honestly, the only reason I went down there was to try to qualify for The Open. And it all worked out.”

    Fischer finished at 18 under in Argentina and topped Linus Lilliedahl of Sweden by one shot to earn the exemption. Fischer ended up two-putting from 50 feet to secure the one-shot victory after Lilliedahl nearly chipped in on the 72nd hole to force a playoff.

    While Fischer has spent some time trying to find his footing – he lost Korn Ferry Tour status in 2017 before gaining it back four years later – his big victory in Argentina and his four-full-rounds experience at The Open will hopefully be the spark he needs to earn PGA TOUR status for the first time.

    He teed it up alongside the likes of Viktor Hovland, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, and Rickie Fowler in practice rounds and he realized he wasn’t too far away.

    “I got to see those top-ranked players in the world first-hand, and it definitely gave me confidence seeing their games and comparing them to mine. They’re human and they hit bad shots too, and it reassured me the guys on the Korn Ferry Tour are really, really good,” said Fischer. “The week was just so cool. It was amazing.”

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