It was a whirlwind Sunday at Whirlwind Golf Club for Lee McCoy.
The 24-year old former Georgia Bulldog rocketed 40 spots up the leaderboard and closed with an 18-under total to finish inside the top 40 and earn one eight 2019 Web.com Tour starts through the final stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament in Chandler, Ariz. But for a lot of the day, it didn't look like McCoy's Sunday charge would be enough.
“I was 13-under total with seven to play, and I knew that I had to birdie five of my last seven to finish in the top 40,” McCoy said when reached by phone. “And that’s a situation that I’ve never been in.”
The 2017 final-stage medalist knew exactly where he stood on the leaderboard approaching the 18th green on the Devil’s Claw course Sunday.
“I had about a 10-footer for birdie to get to 19 [under],” McCoy said. “And I looked at Daniel (his caddie) and I said, ‘Hey, can you tell me with certainty that I don’t need to make this putt?’”
A conservative putt still allowed him to tap in for a 64.
“I left it about 2 inches short, right in the gut, and I could not have cared any less,” McCoy said laughing.
McCoy acknowledged still needing to breathe after the emotions of the back nine and planned to relax Sunday evening.
“I’m over here at my buddy Blake Palmer’s place for the week,” McCoy said. “He’s going to throw some burgers on the grill, and I think we’re gonna have a couple of beers and enjoy the night.”
Exempted into final stage through his 83rd-place finish on the 2018 Web.com Tour regular season money list, McCoy, who was the 2017 final stage medalist, is happy to have his status secure through the first two reshuffles.
“I’m just glad that I won’t have to be in that position again for awhile because missing a cut [in the first eight tournaments] doesn’t change your life, but, you know, not getting through final stage and not getting those early starts can change the course of your career,” McCoy said.
The relaxed feeling is something McCoy hopes to carry into 2019 after admittedly placing too much pressure on himself this last season.
“I’m really healthy right now. The game is starting to come around," he said. "So I’m hoping to get some good work over the next month or so before the Bahamas and go get after it.”