In order to win on the PGA Tour, you need a few things to go your way. Of course, you have to be playing some of the best golf of your life, but it’s almost as equally important to get the right breaks at the right times.
That’s precisely what PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise did this week at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Following a four-hour rain delay on Sunday, Wise found himself in a dogfight with his playing partner Marc Leishman.
Holding a one-stroke lead over the big Aussie and having birdied his two previous holes coming to the ninth tee, Wise yanked his drive dangerously down the left side of the hole, which was guarded by a hazard. Instead of taking the normal trajectory the ball was headed on and resulting in a penalty, Wise’s drive hit a drainage cover, which kicked the ball right allowing him to stay in play.
(Press the next button on the Instagram embed to see the putt Wise made for birdie)
On-course analyst Peter Kostis summed up the fortunate bounce with his call.
“Uh oh, this one is headed left for Aaron Wise…,” he began as the ball took off. “That’s well left and, oh! It hit a sprinkler or a drainage (cover) and it helped it kick right, otherwise, it was headed towards not very nice places.”
Kostis summed up the hole thusly after Wise knocked in his 16-footer for birdie, “Champions take advantage of their breaks.”
The birdie allowed Wise to build a two-shot cushion, which would be increased with his fourth consecutive birdie coming on the next hole. Leishman bogeyed the par-4 10th and never was able to really push Wise throughout the back nine.
“Through that stretch (of 7 through 10), I thought I talked to myself and kind of made myself trust my putting,” Wise said. “I’ve made great putts. These greens out here are really tricky and for me the roll putts in on 8 and 9 really kind of separated this stuff and 10, too.
“I saw people were kind of getting close even though I was 2-under at the time through 6. I saw people were close and that kind of turned it more into a match play scenario between me and Marc once I separated myself because Marc was playing well as well.”
Leishman finished in solo second place three shots behind Wise. Branden Grace, Keith Mitchell and JJ Spaun all tied for third at 19-under par.