KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
Veteran Brunner primed to maximize guaranteed starts in 2022
January 12, 2022
By Isaiah Jenkins , PGATOUR.COM
- January 12, 2022
- Brad Brunner, 33, secured guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts for the first time via Final Stage of Q-School. (Andrew Wevers/PGA TOUR)
Nothing gets Brad Brunner’s heart pumping more than a good race. When he’s not using the latest car cleaning products on his new Ford Mustang, he might be found on the drag strip with a few buddies enjoying a night out. But the race Brunner is truly striving to win is his personal lifelong goal of earning a PGA TOUR card via the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I feel like I’m more comfortable than I’ve ever been out there over the years,” Brunner said as he readied for the season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. “I’m ready to move on. The Korn Ferry Tour is a great Tour, but I want to get onto the PGA TOUR.
Brunner has been on the Korn Ferry Tour since 2016 and finished T19 at Final Stage of last fall’s Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn guaranteed starts in 2022.
What sort of mojo does the savvy veteran need to carry that play into the upcoming season? It could very well be one of the world’s favorite foods: pizza.
“I try to stay away from it, but I had a thing where if I ate some pizza the night before, I would shoot 60s every time. I would say it holds true 90 percent of the time,” Brunner said with a laugh. “The problem is you can’t eat pizza every night, so I’m trying to eat a little healthier.”
Pizza might not be Brunner’s only gateway to the PGA TOUR. A healthy addition: good practice during the offseason.
“Been doing some offseason work with my coach Matt Killen,” said the University of North Florida alum. “Swing feels better, so I’m looking forward to next season and putting it to work.”
Killen is a well-respected coach. He’s widely known for his work alongside golf professionals such as Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas. But another key component in Brunner’s preparation for the season lies mentally. He believes mental preparation is necessary and a key factor in order to reach the PGA TOUR.
The 33-year-old also attributes the mental game to a season-best ninth-place finish at the 2020 Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS.
“The funny thing before that event, about two weeks prior I ended up getting in touch and worked for two whole days with Bob Rotella on some mental stuff,” reflected Brunner. “It’s just as important as anything else really ... being in the right place mentally and really being an athlete.”
Brunner’s strengths are his driving accuracy and course management skills. At Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School, Brunner averaged 4.2 on par-5s. He attributes this success to taking a different approach than the rest of the field.
“At Final Stage, guys would hit driver off the tee, and it would be a little tight and a couple of them were three-shot holes for sure, so you weren’t getting home in two,” Brunner explained. “I would play a 2-iron off the tee to get it in play and knock it down there, get myself an opportunity to hit on the green, make birdie both days.”Brad Brunner is known for famously recording a 58 at Babe Zaharias GC in Tampa, and he'll aim to channel that firepower in 2022. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Over the past two years, Brunner has been tinkering with his driver. In 2018, he placed sixth in total driving on the Korn Ferry Tour. Since then, Brunner has done some work searching for a new driver, as the model he previously used is no longer being manufactured.
“The driver I was playing, the company didn’t offer it anymore, so I had to go find something else,” Brunner said. “After 2018, my accuracy went down, so I have some new equipment, some PING stuff that is really promising. So, I’m looking forward to using that.”
Brunner has also been steadily working on his bunker game, an area he felt needed improvement after last season’s performance.
“My bunker game, I would say, has one of my weaknesses for a while,” Brunner said. "Last year, I made a couple changes with my coach and it feels like it’s an asset now. Overall, I feel like it’s good and learning each year more and more, getting more comfortable and I’m looking forward to a good year, some good results.”
Brunner has two career top-10s on the Korn Ferry Tour and is still chasing his first career victory. His offseason work has him confident heading into 2022. The 11-year pro is aiming to finish inside the top-25 on the 2022 Regular Season Points List, which in turn would result in Brunner earning his PGA TOUR card.
“Our main focus is top-25,” Brunner said. “I don’t think there is any reason why I can’t do it. I think I’ve just got to be myself and do the best I can.”