Will Wilcox stopped by Golf Channel’s Morning Drive to chat with Charlie Rymer about his ace at The Players Championship, life on the PGA Tour, and growing the game of golf
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida–The 42nd playing of The Players Championship kicked off on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, and it marked the very first time with Will Wilcox in the field.
The first round started for Wilcox at 7:26AM off the first tee with Cameron Tringale and Daniel Summerhays. The players were met by benign conditions and soft greens making the difficult stadium course more easier than typical conditions.
Will made three consecutive birdies on holes 7, 8 and also on number 9 after nearly holing his third shot with a wedge from 83 yards. A par on 10 and Will was back to the races with consecutive birdies on 11, getting up and down from the green-side bunker, and 12 hitting another wedge 2 and a half feet for another tap-in birdie.
Will closed the first round with four under par 68, a great start in his very first Players Championship. He is off for his second round on Friday at 12:41PM
After his first round, Will spoke with Kelly Hawkins from the PGA Tour:
New Orleans, Louisiana–Wet and wild conditions met the PGA Tour for the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Rain delays on Friday, Saturday and Sunday forced the hand of tournament and tour officials and the event was shortened from the standard 4-round 72 holes to 3-rounds and 54 holes and a Monday finish.
Will Wilcox shot rounds of 70-69 to comfortably make Friday’s cut, however the weekend delays would test the patience of all players in the field. Wilcox birdied his first hole on Saturday, hitting a wedge to 5 feet and sinking the putt. On the par 5 second hole, Will hit the fairway with his driver and then proceeded to rip a three wood from the fairway from 274 yards away. The ball ended 6 feet 7 inches from the cup for eagle. Play was then called for the day with severe rain, thunder and lightening throughout the bayou area.
Will returned Sunday morning for a 7:30AM start, and sank the eagle putt quickly escalating him to 3-under par thru the first two holes of his third round and tied for fourth. Wilcox then played holes 3 thru 11 even par before play was called for the day.
Standing on the 12th tee at 7AM Monday, Wilcox set out to complete his third and final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. A hot start produced birdies on the 12th and 13th holes moving Will up the leaderboard and inside the top 20. A bogey on 15 and three pars to finish on holes 16, 17 and 18 left Wilcox in a tie for 15th for the week.
Will’s upcoming schedule includes the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina this week before heading to Ponte Vedra, Florida the following week for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
The PGA Tour travels to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina this week for the RBC Heritage. Players were greeted by chilly, blustery conditions for rounds one and two with winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour and temperatures in the 50s and 60s.
Will Wilcox got off to slow start in his opening round on Thursday. Teeing off on the back nine first, Wilcox found himself 4 over par thru his first 8 holes in the difficult conditions, including a double bogey 5 on the difficult par three 14th hole–the most difficult on the Sea Pines lay out. Ever the fighter, Wilcox battled back on his final nine holes with birdies on 1, 3, 6 and 9. Thanks to a score of three under par 33, Will was able to post a very respectable score of 1 over par 72. A practice session on the range after the round showed signs of progress in his ball-striking and an optimism for Friday’s second round.
The weather forecast for Friday called for blustery winds, and potential rain throughout the afternoon. A 1:20PM tee time awaited Mr. Wilcox off the first tee, and thankfully the rain held off for much of the day. Thru three holes, Wilcox had yet to make a par with a bogey-birdie-double bogey start for 2 over par thru three holes. Pars on holes 4 thru 7 settled the round, before Will made birdie on the difficult 8th hole from 10 feet after sticking it from 198 yards. Will played aggressive on the short and narrow 332 yard par four 9th hole, hitting this tee shot just short of the green and converting the up and down for his second consecutive birdie. Will made the turn even par for the day, and 1 over for the tournament just inside the “cut-line”.
A solid day of ball striking continued on the back nine as Will made stress free pars to open his final nine of the day on holes 10 thru the difficult 14th par three. An approach shot into the par 5 15th to 17 inches set up his fourth birdie of the day. On the difficult par four 16th, Will drained a 24 foot birdie putt from across the green to the front left hole location for two in a row to get him to minus two for the day and a tie for 33rd place. After missing the green long and right on the tricky par 3 17th hole, Will made a tidy up and down from 45 feet for par.
A bogey on the 18th, his final hole, left Will 1 under for the day and even par for the event–tied for 39th place…just 6 shots off the lead with 36 holes left to play.
A 10:09AM tee time awaits for Saturday’s third round.
After two missed cuts to start 2016, at the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge, Wilcox took a week off to spend time with partners at the PGA Show in Orlando, FL and focus on knocking off the off-season rust.
Wilcox arrived in Arizona last Monday feeling as though he still had work to do, but confident that he was headed in the right direction. A Tuesday practice round, combined with a few extra hours on the practice facility proved fruitful as Wilcox started to feel more and more confident with each round as the Phoenix Open progressed.
Hard work pays off, as Wilcox fired his best round of 2016 at the perfect time during Sunday’s final round at TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Wilcox started the final round in a tie for 31st place. A final round of six under par 65 was good enough for the lowest score of the day, and included seven birdies! Wilcox birdied three of his final five holes to finish in a tie for 6th place! The finish moved him up to 122nd in the world rankings.
Highlights from the Waste Management Phoenix Open included the following stats:
- 2nd in field in Strokes Gained Putting
- 3rd in field in Sand Saves
- 6th in field in Greens in Regulation
- 6th in field in Total Strokes Gained
- 8th in field in Total Birdies
- 19th in field in Total Driving Distance.
Wilcox upcoming schedule includes the next three PGA Tour events: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles and the Honda Classic in West Palm Beach, Florida.