Bryan wins Digital Ally Open in three-man playoff
Rookie earns third title of 2016 and secures instant promotion to PGA TOUR
August 07, 2016
By Royce Thompson, PGATOUR.COM
- August 07, 2016
- Wesley Bryan hit what he called the shot of his life on the second playoff hole, en route to birdie and the win. (Mark Higgins/Contributed Photo)
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Wesley Bryan is headed to the PGA TOUR after winning the Digital Ally Open in a playoff over J.T. Poston and Grayson Murray. The 26-year-old from Columbia, South Carolina birdied the second extra hole to notch his third Web.com Tour victory of the season. Bryan becomes the 11th player in Tour history to earn a three-win promotion to the TOUR since its inception in 1997.
“If you had flashbacked nine months ago and told me I was going to be in this position, there is no chance I was going to believe you,” said Bryan, who earned a first-place prize worth $117,500 on Sunday. “Wins are hard to come by. There are a lot of players playing a lot of great golf, like you saw with J.T. and Grayson today. Just to be able to do it three times is something I thought was not even possible until this year.”
All three players birdied the first extra hole to extend the playoff. On the second hole of sudden death, Bryan knocked a 6-iron from 194 yards to 3 feet from the cup. Murray and Poston both missed their birdie tries, allowing Bryan to tap in for the win.
“I hit probably the best shot of the day, definitely the best shot of my career,” said Bryan, about the clutch tee shot on the par-3 17th hole. “It went 193 yards and had I a 2- or 3-footer for the win, and it was fantastic.”
Wesley Bryan interview after winning playoff at Digital Ally Open
Bryan has had an interesting journey to the PGA TOUR. He started as a trick-shot artist, earning quite the living performing with his brother George, who caddied for him in his first victory this season. Last summer is when Bryan’s mindset changed and he decided it was time to focus on tournament golf and pursue his goal of playing on TOUR.
“I didn’t dream of being a trick-shot artist on YouTube,” Bryan said. “I wanted to be a PGA TOUR player so that’s kind of when I put my head down and went to work.”
Bryan’s efforts on the practice range have paid off this year. The Tour rookie has three wins, is No. 1 on the money list and headed straight to stardom. The way Bryan has captured his three trophies is impressive. Each victory has come in a different set of circumstances.
In Lafayette, Bryan came from behind on Sunday to earn his maiden win. His second triumph was a little easier down the stretch as Bryan closed with a 67 and cruised to a four-stroke victory at the El Bosque Mexico Championship presented by INNOVA. He took over the top spot on the money list after his success in Mexico.
And lastly, this week in Overland Park, the former South Carolina Gamecock fought his way back from three shots down at one point on the back nine to get into a playoff. He birdied both holes in sudden death, including the 3-foot putt that earned him his third trophy and locked up his TOUR card.
Bryan will undoubtedly draw upon his experiences this season on Tour when he finds himself in contention on the next level.
“I feel like I’ve been through it all in the sense of winning,” Bryan said. “If I find myself in that position out there, I know that I can hit the shots when I need to. The only thing that’s going to change is the name of the tournaments and the names on the leaderboard.”
Wesley Bryan wins after two-hole playoff at the Digital Ally Open
* Sunday weather: Partly cloudy. High: 80, Low: 68, Winds: N-NE 6-12 mph.
* This week’s event is the 18th of 21 Regular Season events on the 2016 schedule. The top-25 money winners following the season-ending WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz at the end of this month will earn PGA TOUR cards for the 2016-17 wraparound season.
* Wesley Bryan’s first-place check for $117,500 pushes his single-season total to $449,392.
* He remains No. 1 on the money list for the 13th consecutive week this year (out of 18 events).
* He increases his lead on the money list to $172,121 over No. 2 Ollie Schniederjans ($277,271).
* Bryan earns fully exempt status for the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season by virtue of his third win.
* Bryan has seven top-10s this season including three victories (Chitimacha Louisiana Open, El Bosque Mexico Championship, Digital Ally Open).
* Bryan becomes the 21st player in Tour history to win three times in a single season, and the 11th player in Tour history to earn a three-win promotion to the PGA TOUR since its inception in 1997 (Carlos Ortiz – 2014).
* Bryan’s third victory comes in his 13th start on Tour. Jason Gore (2005) was the quickest to earn a three-victory promotion to the PGA TOUR (11 starts).
* Bryan leads the Tour in putting average (1.629), birdie average (4.70) and is second in scoring average (68.98).
* Bryan’s final-round scoring average is 69.10. He has never posted a score over par on Sunday and has five rounds in the 60s, including his three wins (68 – Chitimacha Louisiana Open, 67 – El Bosque Mexico Championship, 67 – Digital Ally Open).
* Bryan is one of 11 first-time winners this season on Tour. He accounts for three of the six victories by rookies on Tour this year.
* The third-round leader/co-leader has won six of 18 stroke-play events this season, most recently Wesley Bryan at the Digital Ally Open.
* Players who entered the week on The 25 bubble and where they finished:
Rank Player Position 21 Matt Atkins CUT 22 Brandon Hagy 9 23 James Driscoll CUT 24 J.T. Poston T2 25 Jason Millard DNP 26 Bhavik Patel T20 27 Xander Schauffele CUT 28 Zack Sucher T15 29 Ryan Blaum T23 30 Josh Teater T15