Austin Cook played his way into the Shell Houston Open in the Monday qualifier, but he's playing now like a guy on the verge of a breakthrough win.
Cook, who turned 24 in March and turned pro in 2013, is a University of Arkansas product that is in contention at Golf Club of Houston. He got into the field as a co-medalist in the Monday qualifier, shooting 8-under 64 to earn one of four tournament spots.
After a solid 4-under 68 on Thursday, Cook closed strongly on Friday, making four consecutive birdies to earn a spot in the final group along with Andrew Putnam and Phil Mickelson. Where'd this guy come from?
Well, he finished T-130 in Web.com Tour Q-school, so he barely has any status. The Little Rock native is 993rd in the Official World Golf Ranking, so you wouldn't have heard of him lately. Cook has been playing most of his golf on the Adams Pro Tour, earning $3,185 so far this season. He had been hoping to play his way into some Web.com Tour events through similar Monday gauntlets. That could all change depending on how he finishes out this week.
However, Cook has previously turned Monday qualifying success into great results on the PGA Tour. Last summer, Cook got into the FedEx St. Jude Classic through Monday qualifying, finishing in a tie for 13th place.
So perhaps it's no surprise that Cook is taking advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m really, really comfortable with my swing and my game right now," Cook said Friday, "and it’s kind of showing.”
Were Cook to somehow win the Shell Houston Open, he'd become the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour since Arjun Atwal took the Wyndham Championship in 2010. Before Atwal, the last Monday qualifier to win on Tour since Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open.
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