When Zach Sucher arrived at the 2019 Travelers Championship as a late Korn Ferry Tour sponsor invite, he did so against what many may have perceived as unlikely odds.
The Atlanta, Ga., native entered the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season competing on a Major Medical Extension with six events available to earn 347 FedExCup points. In his three TOUR starts prior to TPC River Highlands, two finishes outside the top 30 and a missed cut resulted in just 25 points.
Ironically, the 2017 Travelers Championship was Sucher’s final event before going 13 months without hitting a golf shot, a result of left knee and ankle surgery.
In round one, the eternally optimistic Sucher birdied four of his last five holes to post a bogey-free 6-under 64 and claim a share of the lead, his career-low score in 37 TOUR starts.
Sucher would back it up with a 65 in round two and head into the weekend leading by two at 11-under 129.
In round three, back-to-back double bogeys at Nos. 11 and 12 would lead to a 1-over 71 and leave him six strokes back.
Undeterred, Sucher would return Sunday, birdie four of his last six holes, good for 67, and claim a share of second place with Keegan Bradley.
With the finish, Sucher collected 245 FedExCup points, bringing his total to 270. In two remaining starts, he required 77 points to satisfy his Medical Extension. Although he would come up short, Sucher used the 2019 Travelers Championship as the validation needed to know he can compete on the PGA TOUR. In addition to the morale boost, the finish also gave him a little financial breathing room. He ended up earning conditional status on the TOUR after finishing No. 144 in the FedExCup standings, which ensures him 15-17 starts during the 2019-20 PGA TOUR Season.
“After my medical leave, we had seven months with no income at all,” Sucher said. “We had to take out credit cards. With some good Korn Ferry Tour finishes, I got out of that, a huge relief. But it’s been a lot of highs and lows. Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around it. This is the first time I’ve been in this situation. Obviously, I would’ve liked to win, but it gives me a huge boost of confidence knowing I can hang out here.”
This article first appeared in the PGA TOUR June-November 2019 issue, which can be read here.