Fremont, BYU alum Patrick Fishburn plays well, works on putting as Korn Ferry Tour season nears end
FARMINGTON — Professional golfer Patrick Fishburn has often flirted with the cut line at Korn Ferry Tour events such as this week’s Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club.
This year, the tall, redheaded Fremont High and BYU alumnus is flirting with a top-10 finish in the tour’s penultimate regular-season tournament.
Fishburn shot a 3-under-par 68 in Friday’s second round, moving to 9-under for the tournament which, as of press time, had him tied for sixth place, two shots off the lead and multiple shots clear of the projected cut line.
“I rolled the ball really well with the putter, just had a few edgers and a few that didn’t go in compared to yesterday. All in all, it was a pretty solid round,” Fishburn said.
Fishburn was even-par through the first nine holes, then caught fire for three straight birdies on holes 11-13 and birdied the 15th.
When the Fremont High and BYU alumnus, and the dozens of fans following him, walked from the 16th green to the 17th tee, the leaderboard just to the north of the cart path looked like this for a brief moment:
T1. Patrick Fishburn, -10
T1. Zac Blair, -10
Two Utahns, two Fremont High alums, two BYU alums were in the lead of a pro golf tournament in their home state.
Then Fishburn’s familiar struggles manifested again.
He had a makable par putt on the 17th hole that would’ve preserved his 10-under score and lipped it out, similar to the makable par putt he lipped out on the final hole of Thursday’s first round.
Speaking last week, Fishburn said he’d switched to an arm lock putting grip, where one of his forearms is braced along the putter to theoretically prevent his wrist from moving.
“It was probably the last thing to try, I’d tried everything. I haven’t been putting that well this year, my ball striking for the stats that we have is always in the top-10 range, but my putting is always bottom five,” Fishburn said.
If the arm lock doesn’t work out, Fishburn guessed his next strategy would be to close his eyes when he putts.
According to Korn Ferry Tour stats, Fishburn ranks seventh in greens-in-regulation percentage (73.96), 19th in average driving distance (314.4 yards) and 133rd in putting average (1.804 putts per green in regulation).
Fishburn came into this week’s tournament ranked No. 71 in the KFT standings. With one regular-season tournament left (next week in Omaha, Nebraska), Fishburn needs to finish in the top 75 to qualify for the KFT Finals.
PGA Tour cards are awarded to the top 25 players of the three-event finals series, which begins in Boise, Idaho, in two weeks.
By the time Fishburn finished his second round, the sun had long been out at Oakridge and the wind had started blowing, predictably firming up the greens which, Fishburn hoped, would make things harder for the afternoon wave.
Things were indeed harder for the afternoon wave, but not because of dry and windy conditions. Play was suspended twice due to “inclement weather” in the area, taking the tournament all the way to twilight.
SELECTED LEADERBOARD (AS OF 7 P.M.)
Projected cut: -5
T1. Michael Kim, (-11)
T1. Kevin Velo, (-11)
T3. Zac Blair (-10)
T6. Patrick Fishburn (-9)
T28. Austen Christiansen (-7), former BYU golfer
T35. Peter Kuest (-6), former BYU golfer
T85. Daniel Summerhays (-3)
T133. Carson Lundell (+1), current BYU golfer
T148. David Timmins (+3), current BYU golfer