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Willie Mack III shoots 66 at Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School, one step closer to PGA Tour

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Willie Mack III is one step closer to his dream of being a regular on the PGA Tour.

The 34-year-old APGA Tour Player of the Year and mini-tour legend hit an eagle and three birds on his first seven holes in the final round of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School, guaranteeing a start in the first eight tournaments of the season.

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“It was a long time ago,” he said, speaking on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio’s “Hitting the Green with Sobel and the Caddie.”

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Mack, who started the day with T-41 and was already on probation by going through the second stage of the Q-School for the first, was due to drop on Monday as #11-40 (and a tie) starts in the first eight events, while like #41 and above will probably get multiple starts depending on the final number.

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Mack quickly flew out of the net and parried the final 11 holes to score a 5-66 and 72-hole total of 7-under 277 at The Landings in Savannah, Georgia.

There are currently only three black golfers on the PGA Tour: Tiger Woods, Cameron Champ, and Joseph Bramlett.

Mack, who played at Bethune-Cookman, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, Florida, has competed in six PGA Tour career tournaments with a sponsorship exemption and has appeared in four previous Korn Ferry Tour starts (single-cut, T-62 on 2021 BMW Charity Pro-Am).

Along the way, the family’s home went into foreclosure twice (although they never lost it), and Mac slept in his car for a year and a half to save money. Photos of his car on fire on Interstate 95 went viral and while he saved his clubs, he lost everything else.

“I know the sacrifices my dad and mom made for me,” he said. “I knew I didn’t want to give up because of them, so I just kept going and I’m glad it worked.”

On August 2, 2018, the PGA Tour invited eight members of the APGA Tour, including Mack, to the TPC Sawgrass and visit the PGA Tour Academy where golf director Todd Anderson, whose students included Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker, held court. . This experience changed the course of Mac’s professional career.

“(Anderson) said I had a game I could play on the Tour,” Mack recalled. “He said I hit the ball just like them. It meant everything to me.”

Mack credits the APGA Tour for helping him develop as a player and knows that his success will resonate with future players.

“Just the fact that I can go out and play well, I think gives them a lot of confidence to do the same in the near future,” he said.

Eight starts is a start for Mac, but there is a long way to go. He knows that the shortest path is to win three times next season and earn the “Battleground” to reach the big leagues or finish in the top 30 and get an award. PGA Tour card for 2024.

“My dream is to win three times and go straight to the PGA Tour,” he said. “That’s my goal, and if not, then definitely get into the top 30 in terms of prize money and get on the PGA Tour.”

He’s one step closer to making it a reality.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek.


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