Picture this. You’re a 25-year-old golf pro, scraping a living on Canada’s Mackenzie Tour, far from your native California. Having successfully navigated your way through stage two of Web.com tour school, you put three decent rounds together at the final qualifying stage to leave yourself an outside chance of going low and earning playing rights for 2019. And then disaster strikes.
Staying in an Airbnb, Cody Blick awoke the morning of the final round to discover the garage door wide open and his clubs gone. Cue panic. With so much at stake, Blick took to Instagram to offer a $5,000 reward for the safe return of his clubs, no questions asked. Whether not favouring social media or sensing a trap, the thief didn’t answer the call. And with time fast running out, Blick had no choice but to raise an all-out S.O.S.
Scrambling together a set that included the local superintendent’s driver, wedges from the pro shop, and a borrowed putter that looked and weighed different to his own, Blick was nevertheless able to make it to the first tee. Preparations for the biggest day of his career, however, could scarcely have been less ideal.
A 66, sandwiched by two 70s, had left Blick on -10 and tied for 74th after three rounds, with the top 40 and ties eligible for at least eight Web.com starts in 2019. Don’t be fooled by the little-brother status of the Web tour, the prizefunds are more than decent and the competition level is terrifying. Eventual q-school winner Danny Walker would shoot a staggering 27-under-par for his four rounds, with a further six players within two strokes.
With his tried and tested weaponry to hand, the odds weren’t in Blick’s favour, but with an effective motley crew slung on his caddie’s shoulder, the chances resided somewhere in the deep chasm between slim and none.
You can guess the rest.
In scenes reminiscent of Hollywood, Blick went out and shot a bogey-free, nine-under par, round of 63. Opening pars at one and two would’ve helped settle the inevitable stomach churning, but it was the climax to the round that will live long in his memory.
With roughly half the field still to finish, all projections seemed to indicate that -19 would be the number. With three holes to play, Blick was at -16, and seemingly destined to fall agonisingly short and left to dwell on what might have been.
But he had other ideas.
Intense pressure can have a strange effect on people. While some players shrivel and hide, others rise to the occasion. Needing three consecutive birdies to finish his round, Blick, playing with a carefree abandon that belied his position, delivered exactly that, capping off a sensational round in the most sensational of circumstances.
That pressure did what pressure does, and the cut off mark dropped to -18 was irrelevant, and the San Jose State graduate was left to make good on his most recent loans and pick up his card at the end of an emotionally rollercoaster ten or twelve hours.
Given how he performed with an effective rental set, it’s doubtful that the $5,000, “no questions asked” offer is still there. The irony of the situation will probably be lost on the larcenist, but in addition to the story of the weekend, they provided us with an additional gem….
They brought whole new meaning to the term “hot putter.”