Mullinax earns victory at Orange County National Championship presented by Knight 39
October 11, 2020
By Preston Smith , PGATOUR.COM
- October 11, 2020
- Trey Mullinax held off Brandon Wu and Stephan Jaeger with a final-round 69 on Sunday. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – After entering the day with a three-stroke lead, Trey Mullinax ended up coming from behind on Sunday to claim the victory at the Orange County National Championship presented by Knight 39. The 28-year-old birdied Nos. 16 and 18 en route to a one-stroke win over Brandon Wu and Stephan Jaeger on the Panther Lake course at Orange County National.
“It means a lot; it’s been a long time and it’s been a long year with COVID-19 doing some crazy things,” reflected Mullinax. “After my injury to come back and win, it means the world…It was a weird day, but I knew it was going to play a little bit harder with the wind and if I could shoot something under par I would have a chance.”
Mullinax saw his lead evaporate after a 1-over front nine but got back on track with a 25-foot birdie at the 10th.
“I knew that I wasn’t hitting it great, and I was just looking for a turning point,” said Mullinax. “Making that putt on 10 was huge. I hit great shots from there in on 11, 12 and 13.”
After the turnaround, he hit one of the biggest putts of his life at the par-4 16th with a 40-foot bomb to draw back even with the lead and set up a two-putt birdie to win it at the last.
“It was a pretty big putt,” laughed Mullinax. “I didn’t know where I was, so I think that kind of freed me up on the putt. I knew 17 and 18 were scorable. So I just wanted to give myself a look on 16. I hit such a good putt, dead center, perfect speed. It’s up there with my national championship putt in 2014.”
Mullinax famously sunk an eagle putt to clinch the national title for the University of Alabama in 2014 before turning pro. He has had an up-and-down couple of years, including a freak injury when a Pro-Am partner hit him with an errant shot at the Charles Schwab Challenge last summer. He has competed primarily on the Korn Ferry Tour this year and after a slow start has now earned three top-10s in his past five starts.
“It feels good to be back winning,” said Mullinax. “It’s been a while for me, I think since 2016. It was a grind out there today. I did not have my best stuff. Today’s my mom’s birthday so I talked to her the other night and I told her I was going to go out and try to win it for her. So Mom, happy birthday.”
In the end, Mullinax’s 2-under round on Sunday was enough to hold off Brandon Wu and Stephan Jaeger. Wu, who has now earned five top-10s in his nine starts this season, made a late charge with seven birdies countered by a bogey in the final round. Jaeger came up one stroke shy after birdieing three of his final four holes. Jaeger was looking to become the sixth player to earn at least six wins on the Korn Ferry Tour.
The tournament was the final event of 2020 for the Korn Ferry Tour, though the schedule is being combined with the 2021 slate for one extended season concluding in the fall of 2021.