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Lost stroller, found game: Patrick Fishburn flying toward TOUR dreams

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Lost stroller, found game: Patrick Fishburn flying toward TOUR dreams

After runner-up in Chicago, moves to 15th on Korn Ferry Tour standings

    Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley

    The first time Patrick Fishburn’s wife, Madison, traveled with their two kids earlier this year – the pair welcomed a second son, Ty, in December – they were en route to Kansas but had to stop in Atlanta. Somehow, someway, the airline lost the stroller, even though it was checked at the door of the plane. Madison was left to haul the two boys through the sprawling Atlanta airport. A rough start.

    “Since that point,” Fishburn said, “we’ve made a direct-flight-only rule.”

    The good news about this week’s Utah Championship by Zions Bank? No flight required. It’s a sleep-in-your-own-bed kind of week for Fishburn, and after finishing runner-up in a playoff at last week’s NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank, Fishburn is hoping a return home is just the late-season spark he needs to earn his first PGA TOUR card.

    Fishburn moved from 39th to 15th on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List thanks to his second-place finish last week, and he said the experience cultivated confidence as the season winds down. Just three events remain before the four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals; the cumulative top 30 at season’s end will earn 2024 PGA TOUR membership.

    Trace Crowe bested Fishburn with a par on the second playoff hole at The Glen Club, after both finished 25 under, one stroke clear of Ryan McCormick.

    “All of us were pushing each other to bring out our best stuff,” Fishburn said. “I hit all the shots I needed to win. Second playoff hole, maybe got a little too confident and tried to take on the flag from 250 (yards) with a 2-iron, but I was feeling really good with my game and my swing. That was probably a bit of a mental mistake, but, I guess, I’m glad I got to the point where I had so much belief in myself (that) I could pull off a shot in a situation like that, rather than fear of failure.”

    Fishburn needed a closing eagle just to earn a playoff spot in Chicago, and he did just that with a dramatic 35-footer. Walking from the 17th green to the 18th tee box, Fishburn told his caddie he would play for eagle. He hit 2-iron from the second cut of rough onto the green, and he liked the line from the get-go.

    “I had the confidence I would maybe make it. Once it was about 8 feet away, it looked like it was going only one place,” Fishburn said with a laugh, “so that was pretty cool. It was a fun atmosphere for sure.”

    Patrick Fishburn sinks a 36-foot eagle putt to force a playoff at NV5 Invitational

    Fishburn has picked up the pace, results-wise, as the summertime has chugged along. It’s a stark contrast to the early portion of the season, which he began with five straight missed cuts. He spent many Saturdays on the range, trying to figure things out before a Sunday flight to the next event.

    Reflecting now, however, Fishburn realizes that working through a few things was essential.

    An equipment switch took some time to dial in, he said, and he switched to a different golf ball – albeit from the same brand – just before the Veritex Bank Championship. Feeling more in control of things, he finished third in Dallas and was off to the races.

    The Utah resident spent more time at home this past winter than in his usual wintertime spot, Scottsdale, but it was for good reason. When Ty – his second son – was born in December, Ty had some breathing problems and needed to spend time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to get special care. Fishburn wanted to make sure he was home with his young son – who is doing great now.

    It just took a bit for the game to coalesce, certainly an agreeable trade-off.

    “Went to the Bahamas straight from hitting on an indoor facility and all of a sudden its blowing 30 (mph) and we’re hitting off Bermuda grass I wasn’t used to. It took some time to figure out the game, but Dallas kind of helped me turn the corner and ever since then my ball-striking has been very consistent all year, and that’s been the key for my game,” said Fishburn, who ranks second on Tour in greens in regulation.

    Fishburn has since notched six top-20 finishes and is inching closer to earning a TOUR card for the first time. A return to Utah may be just what he needs to take things across the finish line.

    While there is the built-in comfort of playing just 30 minutes from his home, Fishburn said he’s unlocked a mental trick lately, too – just slow down. He’s now striving to think about non-golf topics between shots. Looking back, he realized he was getting “so fatigued” because he was often stressed and anxious, thinking between shots. He’s walking slowly after weeks of “sprinting” up the fairway, he said, and he’s playing some of the best golf of his life.

    Making the week in Utah, where he finished runner-up last year, even sweeter? Several friends and family will be out supporting him, people who have been part of his golf journey for more than a decade, playing money games at Ogden Golf & Country Club.

    “Whenever I play in Utah, I’m way more loose and relaxed. I’ve got people who are following me who have supported me for a lot of years,” Fishburn said. “When you have an attitude of gratitude, it’s a good mindset.”

    And he hopes this week will offer a direct flight to the PGA TOUR.

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