Home game for Pierceson Coody to kick-start run at TOUR card
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Veritex Bank Championship the first of eight straight planned starts between Tours
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Earlier this week, Pierceson Coody ran into Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski on the putting green at Maridoe GC, their home club in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. They were each practicing, grinding, but stopped their routines to chat for a bit. Pavelski, a 17-year National Hockey League veteran, was prepping for a road trip to Detroit.
The next night, Pavelski recorded his 1,000th career NHL point in a win at Detroit. Coody had a rare tournament Monday with no need to travel. This week, he gets to work from home.
The Korn Ferry Tour’s Veritex Bank Championship is contested at Texas Rangers GC in Arlington, a half hour or so from Coody’s residence in Plano. It’s a fitting place for Coody to commence a busy stretch of eight consecutive events, as he eyes his first PGA TOUR card on two potential paths.
Coody, No. 1 on last year’s PGA TOUR University Ranking, has seen success on multiple circuits this season. He won the Korn Ferry Tour’s Panama Championship in February, his third start back from a fractured left hand that forced him to withdraw from last summer’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, necessitating surgery to remove a bone. It was his second win in 14 Korn Ferry Tour starts, adding to his five-stroke win at the Live and Work in Maine Open last June.
During the Korn Ferry Tour’s recent five-week spring break, Coody played three TOUR events, making two cuts and finishing T14 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, including a Sunday pairing with Justin Thomas at Bay Hill.
The University of Texas alum has seen a lot in his first 10 months as a professional golfer, and things aren’t exactly about to slow down. He’s planning to play each of the next three weeks on the Korn Ferry Tour, as well as three consecutive weeks following the circuit’s two-week break. During that break? He has two TOUR sponsor exemptions allocated, at the Wells Fargo Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson.
After being sidelined from competition last fall as he recovered, he’s ready for it. He’s only 23, after all. Energy abounds. Bring it on.
“I’m really excited that I’ve had the (TOUR) opportunities, and I have the opportunity to get my PGA TOUR card out here as well,” Coody said Tuesday. “I know that focusing on good golf is all that matters, and I have the right people around me that are guiding me and helping me build a schedule that’s going to be a lot of events, but great opportunities and I’m really excited about them.
“Getting to play the TOUR events, I wish I had a little bit more success to build some more points, but it’s two bites at the apple. If I have an incredible week out there, something like Akshay (Bhatia) did, have a second or even rattle off a win somehow, then I’m a PGA TOUR member. That would be incredible, but I know that good golf out here, I get to the same place, and just trying to stay super patient. I know it’s early in the season.”
Coody has accrued 65.771 non-member FedExCup points across four TOUR starts; he’s 109.457 points shy of the Special Temporary Membership threshold (a solo fifth in a standard TOUR event is worth 110 points).
He currently holds 500 Korn Ferry Tour points, good for No. 8 on the season-long points race into the Veritex Bank Championship. The top 30 at season’s end will earn 2024 PGA TOUR membership.
Coody’s win in Panama (worth 500 points) has been offset by four missed cuts, two on either side. The inconsistency is a byproduct of his return from injury, Coody believes, and he credits the short game for pushing him to the top in Panama, where he began Sunday in 24th place but carded a final-round 66 in demanding conditions and defeated Sam Saunders and Mac Meissner in a playoff.
He knows that all it takes is one good round to propel another run. This week in his home metroplex, he looks forward to taking a fairways-and-greens approach and beginning to stack results.
“Hand surgery is such a unique thing; the club feels different in my hands. The way I move through the ball is different,” Coody said. “Everything’s just a little imbalanced, so the weeks that I’ve played well, I’ve short-gamed it really well. I’m still waiting for one of those great ball-striking weeks. This would be a great week to kick it off. Fairways, greens, and create momentum that way.
“I’m not one of those people that really falls too high or too low at any time … golf is such a funny, interesting game that one great round can propel you into shooting a couple more, and you find yourself there on Sunday. So just trying to find a lot of that momentum.”
No place like home to do so.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.