Jared Wolfe wins The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar
January 22, 2020
By Preston Smith, PGATOUR.COM
- January 22, 2020
- Jared Wolfe moved to No. 1 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List with his victory at Royal Blue GC. (Kevin Bires/Contributed Photo)
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Jared Wolfe entered the final round of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar with a one-shot lead at 15-under, looking to secure the first win of his Tour career. The Kentucky native, who had great success on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica the last three years, took advantage of his opportunity with a final-round 69, good for an 18-under 270 total and a four-shot victory over Brandon Harkins.
Wolfe took control of the tournament lead in the late afternoon during Tuesday’s third round, with birdies on three of his final four holes securing a one-shot advantage over Harkins entering Wednesday’s final round at Baha Mar’s Royal Blue Golf Course.
With wind gusts over 30 mph on a day when only two players broke 70, Wolfe did his best to keep a steady ship as three days of red numbers turned into veritable survival on day four. The former Murray State golfer turned in 1-under 35 with a workman-like eight pars and one birdie on the par-4 fifth.
Cruising through his back nine with pars on Nos. 10 through 13, Wolfe stepped on the tee of the par-3 14th – the signature, borderline island green at Royal Blue – with a three-shot cushion, and promptly hit his tee shot in the water. To his credit, he took a drop in the drop zone and nearly holed his wedge shot, leaving a docile tap-in for bogey.
“My caddie and I were going back and forth on what to hit on that shot. Ultimately, he was right. I don’t know if I caught a gust or if it was just a mis-club altogether,” said Wolfe. “But then on the shot from the drop zone, it looked awfully good from where we were. I thought it was going in.”
The clutch save, which kept him two shots clear of the field with four holes to play, set up a torrid finish for Wolfe, who birdied 15, 16 and 18 to cap off a dominant performance and a four-shot win over Harkins.
“No argument, it’s definitely the biggest win of my career. It was so cool to finish the job, especially in style with a birdie at the last,” he said. “I knew coming into today if I played as well as I know I can, someone would have to do something special to catch me. I turned out to be right on that. I’m just very blessed to be in this position.”
Wolfe returned to the Korn Ferry Tour this year thanks to his play on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, as a win at the 2019 Buenaventura Classic and back-to-back top-3 finishes in his last two starts allowed him to finish third in “Los Cinco” to secure status for the 2020 season. The victory was the third of his career on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, where he learned how to compete and more importantly, how to win.
“PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, it’s just amazing to even have that opportunity. When I was coming out of college, we didn’t have that option,” said Wolfe. “I feel like PGA TOUR Latinoamérica specifically prepares you for the travel. Five of the first six events on this Tour are out of the country, so it prepares you well for that. Obviously being in position to win down there set me up today to finish the job.”
While Wolfe learned how to win while playing abroad, last fall, he learned perspective when his wife Kelsey gave birth to their first child, Khloe.
“I’m taking my wife and daughter on the road this year. We were trying to figure out finances, obviously she’s not working right now. She’s done such an amazing job while I have been on other Tours out of the country helping support and save money,” said Wolfe. “I feel so much more secure now for the year and better as far as her and Khloe joining me on the road. As far as our family and going forward, we’re all really excited and now we can try and go get that Top-25.”
Harkins, who held the lead throughout much of Tuesday’s third round, spent a portion of Wednesday within striking distance of Wolfe, but a double-bogey on the tough par-4 16th dashed his chances of catching him atop the leaderboard.
The 33-year-old rallied thereafter, birdieing 17 and hitting his approach on 18 to 10 feet and converting the putt for a closing eagle and a final-round 72. With the finish he moved to No. 3 on the Regular Season points list, trailing only Wolfe and last week’s winner, Tommy Gainey.
The runner-up finish marked Harkins’ best on Tour since a solo-second at the 2017 Ellie Mae Classic, which helped him lock up his first PGA TOUR card that year. He spent 2017 through 2019 on TOUR, recording four top-10 finishes before a 164th-place finish in last year’s FedExCup standings put him back on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020.
Billy Kennerly, Curtis Thompson and Nick Hardy finished T3 at 13-under 275, five shots back of Wolfe.
Kennerly posted the day’s low round with a 5-under 67, thanks in part to a birdie on his 72nd hole. Kennerly and Wolfe were the only two players in the field to break 70 in the final round.
The T3 finish for Kennerly was his best on the Korn Ferry Tour since a T2 at the 2017 KC Golf Classic. The former Clemson University golfer, who has played on Tour since the middle of the 2017 season, now has eight career top-10 finishes.