Jaeger wins playoff, secures PGA TOUR return
The German player earned his sixth career title to make it 29 Korn Ferry Tour wins by PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alums
April 05, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- April 05, 2021
- Stephan Jaeger poses with the trophy after his win at the Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin Resort Raven Golf Course. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. – Even for someone who’s won as much as Stephan Jaeger, nerves inevitably creep in come the back nine on a Sunday. Jaeger pulled his drive into the water on the par-4 11th, but saved a bogey, bounced back with a birdie at No. 12, and eventually survived a playoff with David Lipsky to win the Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin and capture the sixth title of his Korn Ferry Tour career.
Jaeger, a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alum, carded a 4-under 66 with six birdies and two bogeys. The Munich, Germany native made his second bogey at the 522-yard 11th, which once again played into the wind was Raven Golf Club’s toughest hole.
“The nerves got to me on No. 11 today, and I hit a bad tee shot and hit it in the water,” Jaeger said. “This golf course will really test you mentally because it’s so intimidating off the tee some holes. Nos. 9 and 11 are probably the two hardest tee shots I’ve ever hit in my life. I got away with a few, and I hit some in trouble, too. The bounce back was really big for me to keep close to the lead.”
Jaeger followed the bogey at No. 11 with a birdie at the par-3 12th, then birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. An 8-footer for birdie at the par-4 18th slid by, leaving the door open for Lipsky.
Lipsky erased a bogey at the short par-4 15th with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 to force a playoff.
Jaeger flew his approach within 15 feet on the playoff hole, No. 18, while Lipsky left himself a relatively long birdie try. Lipsky, who birdied the 18th all four rounds this week, raced his putt 10 feet past the cup and missed the comebacker for his only three-putt of the tournament. Jaeger two-putted for par.
“David is a good putter,” Jaeger said. “It’s just the nerves. It’s a hard game.”Jaeger hugs his caddie, Juan Pablo Solis of Mexico, who is also a former PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Jaeger finished the week tied for second in putts per round (25.75) and seventh in scrambling (16 of 23).
“I didn’t feel like I had the best stuff. I was just trying to figure out how to find something I could play with,” Jaeger said. “I knew my short game was on point. I just tried to keep the ball in front of me, keep it on fairways, keep it in play, and give myself as many opportunities with the putter as I could. It was, mentally, a lot harder than other wins. The other ones, I was on. I never felt like I could miss a shot. I definitely did this week, which makes it feel even better.”
Jaeger’s six career victories move him within one of Jason Gore’s all-time record. Jaeger joins Pat Bates, Matt Gogel, Kevin Johnson, and Sean Murphy as the only players in Korn Ferry Tour history with six wins. Sunday’s win also vaults Jaeger from eighth to second in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings, securing his return to the PGA TOUR.
Jaeger previously graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour following the 2017 season and spent two years on the PGA TOUR. Between those seasons, Jaeger had to earn his TOUR card at the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
Jaeger believes he has the game to win on the PGA TOUR this time around, with consistency being the differentiating factor from his previous stints.
“The two years I was on TOUR, it took me a couple years to get comfortable,” Jaeger said. “I’m striving to get out on the PGA TOUR and feel comfortable every week and get myself in a position to win out there. It’s great to win out here. It’s a great stepping stone. But my ultimate goal is to win on the PGA TOUR, and win multiple times. That’s been my goal ever since I started winning mini-tour events.”
Stephan Jaeger made 16 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts between 2013 and the beginning of 2016. His best of two top-10s was a tie for seventh at the 2013 Puerto Rico Classic on his first Tour start ever. His best Order of Merit finish was 61st in 2014.
Jaeger has six top-10s in his last nine Korn Ferry Tour starts, a stretch which began with a win at the Albertsons Boise Open last August
Erik Barnes was the next best PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alum, finishing solo fourth at 12-under. He carded a final-round 63 with eight birdies and an eagle for his fourth top-10 in 43 starts since the beginning of 2019 and his first top-10 since a T3 at last July’s TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes
Sunday’s Weather: mostly sunny, high of 65 degrees, wind E/SE at 5-10 mph
This week’s purse was $600,000 with $108,000 going to the champion, Stephan Jaeger; he also received 500 Korn Ferry Tour points
The Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin was the fourth event of 2021 and the 27th of the 2020-21 combined season
The combined 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour schedule will conclude with 25 PGA TOUR cards awarded in August at the 2021 Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna, with an additional 25 cards awarded at the conclusion of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Finals