Aussie Endycott rockets to maiden five-shot victory at Huntsville Championship

Harrison Endycott was not ever sure he would win in the United States, or ever win again for that matter.

Harrison Endycott wins the Huntsville Championship (PGA Tour/Getty Images)

Media release via PGA Tour

The 25-year-old Australian last won in 2016, when he was still an amateur, and Endycott described much of his roughly five-year professional career as “frustrating” multiple times this week. All those frustrations were put to rest Sunday at The Ledges, as Endycott closed out a five-stroke victory at the Huntsville Championship with an even-par 70, capping the final round by draining an 11-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to finish at 16-under par.

Endycott carried a five-stroke lead into the final round, the largest 54-hole advantage on the Korn Ferry Tour since April 2019, and he turned it into the largest margin of victory in a Korn Ferry Tour event since PGA TOUR rookie Cameron Young’s five-stroke win at the 2021 NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank.

“I’ve just worked so hard, I’ve just had a lot of disappointments in my life,” Endycott said via the Korn Ferry Tour’s 72nd hole livestream. “I never thought I’d win over here. There was a time where I (asked), did I ever think I was actually going to win again? It’s very special. I can’t believe I just got it done this week. I’ve been so frustrated at golf for a long time, and it finally happened.

“It’s just a long journey here, and we dealt with a lot of real hardships, our family. Sadly, I lost my mum to cancer in 2012, and sadly last week I lost my grandmother, too. The timing of this win is just really special.”

Endycott built the five-stroke lead with an opening 7-under 63, tying an 18-hole tournament scoring record which held up the entire week, followed by a 3-under 67 and 6-under 64. Playing in the final group Sunday, Endycott opened with back-to-back two-putt pars and saw the lead grow to seven strokes as playing partners Ben Taylor (two bogeys) and Quade Cummins (bogey at No. 2) hit speed bumps.

Following a three-putt bogey at the par-3 third, Endycott faced a pivotal moment in the round as he hit his second shot into right greenside fescue at the par-4 fourth. He hit a provisional, which bounded off the cart path and beyond the fifth tee. Either ball brought a big number into play. Thanks to a little assistance from Cummins, he walked away with par.

“That was the worst wedge shot I’ve ever hit in my life… and then I fly the (provisional) left,” Endydcott said. “Quade was up there looking for my golf ball and found it probably on the buzzer, so I got lucky there.”

Another three-putt bogey and the par-3 ninth, along with a run of pars through the par-4 13th still left Endycott at 14-under par and vulnerable to a late charge. Cummins made birdies at Nos. 8, 10, and 11, reaching 11-under par and pulling within three strokes. Taylor made a double bogey at No. 9 and turned at 4-over par, but rattled off four consecutive birdies at Nos. 10-13 and pulled within three as well.

“I gave both the guys a little bit of a look,” Endycott said. “I wasn’t playing bad. I just wasn’t getting it going. I just hung in there and did what I had to do.”

Birdies at the par-4 14th and 16th pushed Endycott’s lead back to five strokes, and a meaningless bogey at the par-4 17th was negated with a birdie at the 18th.

“Sometimes it’s easier to chase,” Endycott said of playing the final round with a large lead. “I won an amateur event where I was four back and got it done. Sometimes that’s easier than having a five-shot lead or six-shot lead.”

Endycott concluded a decorated amateur career with five individual victories in the 2016 calendar year, highlighted by a win at the prestigious Porter Cup, and a team win for Australia alongside future PGA TOUR winner Cam Davis and future Korn Ferry Tour winner Curtis Luck at the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship. Shortly after a top-10 at the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur, Endycott turned professional and debuted at the New South Wales Open Championship in November 2017.

Endycott’s next two seasons (2018 and 2019) were spent on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, where he ended both without much in the way of improved status, but gained incredible perspective on life as a professional golfer.

“It’s challenging off the golf course and toughens you up as a player,” Endycott said in a November 2018 interview. “I learned how to manage myself away from the golf course… learning how to get away from the money. This time (in 2017), I was always looking at how much I could make, whereas (Latinoamérica) Tour taught me how to get into contention more.”

Endycott eventually moved to Scottsdale, Arizona and earned Korn Ferry Tour membership via Final Stage of the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. As a rookie last season, Endycott logged three top-10s, including a season-high T4 at the 2021 Visit Knoxville Open, and six top-25s across 35 starts. After the high point of Knoxville, Endycott bottomed out with nine missed cuts and a withdrawal in his final 10 starts of the season, leaving him 81st on the 2020-21 Regular Season Points List, six spots outside the top 75 for fully exempt status in 2022.

The Sydney, Australia native tried to improve his status at Final Stage of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, but finished T80 and failed to do so.

Endycott opened this season with a T19 at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, but finished T32 or worse the next five starts.

Even with a run of lackluster form coming into the Huntsville Championship, where Endycott finished T13 last year, he was not frustrated with the results, but the fact he played quality golf nearly all of 2022 and had nothing to show for it.

Prior to Sunday’s win, the closest Endycott came to a professional victory was a runner-up finish at the 2018 Victorian Open, an Australian state open championship sanctioned by PGA Tour of Australasia. Endycott watched as Simon Hawkes birdied the 72nd hole and forced a playoff, which he lost. Endycott posted a T2 on PGA Tour of Australasia in 2019, but finished six strokes behind the champion.

“I’ve had a lot of disappointments in my life, but this is definitely not a disappointment,” Endycott said. “It’s just a really, really emotional win for me.”

Losing his mother to ovarian cancer as a 15-year-old boy back in 2012 took a heavy toll on Endycott. For three to four years after her passing, Endycott struggled to comprehend the sudden loss. Two key figures who helped Endycott through one of the most difficult times of his life were Ben and Mark Patterson, a father-son duo who coach him and operate out of his home club in Australia, Avondale Golf Club.

“Sadly, life is just cruel. You’ve just got to embrace great moments,” Endycott said. “Hits home a little bit not being able to do it in front of my friends and family, but I’m very blessed to be able to get it done this week.”

Endycott’s win launched him from 103rd to 12th on the 2022 Regular Season Points List. With 573 points, Endycott is primed for a legitimate run at his first PGA TOUR card, but the regular season is only through 10 of 23 events and he knows more first-time winners await their own moment atop the mountain.

“I’m trying to figure out how to eat humble pie a little bit right now,” Endycott said. “We’ve still got a golf tournament to get ready for next week.”

The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season continues Thursday with the first round of the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation, hosted by The Grove in College Grove, Tennessee.

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