Pierceson Coody proves tough yet again, wins 2nd career KFT title in Panama playoff


Pierceson Coody now has two victories in less than a calendar year on the Korn Ferry Tour.

They couldn't be more different.

Last June, Coody was just three starts into his professional career after leading Texas to the NCAA Championship when he won the Live and Work in Maine Open comfortably, firing a second-round 62 and eventually winning by five.

Sunday's triumph at the Panama Championship was a fight, with Coody 1 over through 54 holes on a punishing Panama Golf Club layout before orchestrating a closing 4-under 66 and then birdieing the first playoff hole against Sam Saunders and fellow U.S. Walker Cup teammate Mac Meissner.

"This one's really sweet," Coody said. "Maine was incredible to get the first pro win; I don't want to say it felt easy, but it was almost like an out-of-body experience the way I started, and I just was kind of cruising on the back nine. This, the whole time I was chasing, I was hoping things would go my way and luckily, they did."

Coody's toughness had something to do with the outcome as well. In a tournament where the same number of players (seven) finished under par that made the cut yet ended up 9 over or worse, Coody was well equipped to handle the difficulty. As an amateur, he won the Western Amateur, the most grueling event in the sport. He also is a member at Maridoe Golf Club, a beast of a course in Dallas.

And he's now successfully overcome not one but two major injuries in his young career.

First was the broken right arm - specifically a right radial-head fracture - midway through his senior year of college. Coody missed just four events and in his first start back won the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational by six shots. He was runner-up the following event, too, at the Western Intercollegiate on a diabolical Pasatiempo.

More recently was the broken hamate bone in his left hand. Prior to the injury, Coody had just missed earning his PGA Tour card via KFT regular-season points (No. 32) in his abbreviated debut season but still had another shot at KFT Finals. But he started experiencing pain in the hand during a missed cut at the second playoff event, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, and the next week at the KFT Championship, had to withdraw after one round.

Coody had surgery on his hand in late September and was cleared for full golf activities just before the end of last year. However, he missed back-to-back cuts in the Bahamas to open his new KFT campaign.

Whether at Q-School or rehabbing, Coody twins focused on earning way to PGA Tour

It wasn't the immediate success that Coody experienced in his first injury return; he only had to wait until his third start back this time.

Coody got off to a slow start in Panama City, carding just one birdie and shooting 2-over 72. He added seven birdies over the next two days, though, and limited the damage to give himself a chance going into the final round.

On Sunday, Coody started similarly to how he did that final round in Maine, getting off to a strong start. He birdied three of his first five holes, and then after his only bogey of the day, at No. 10, he birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to get to 3 under overall.

For much of the day, he trailed Christopher Petefish, who led after three rounds at 4 under and had maintained that positioning through 11 holes Sunday. However, Petefish bogeyed four of his final seven holes and fell to T-8.

Saunders shot 67 and Meissner 68 to get into the playoff with Coody. But their chances were short-lived as Coody stuck his approach in the playoff within a foot and the other two later missed their birdie attempts.

Coody just had to tap in for the win, and he's now projected to move into a tie for third in KFT points.

"This is just a lot sweeter, like I said," Coody said. "Having a down offseason, not being able to play much golf, and then coming out here and seeing that my golf game is still good enough was awesome."


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