Korn Ferry Tour
Long-suffering tour pro hangs on for KFT win, sets himself up for another PGA Tour run
Grayson Murray reacts salvaging a double-bogey 7 on the last hole to hang on to a one-shot win at the Korn Ferry Tour's AdventHealth Championship.
The final leaderboard at the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship in Kansas City showed a one-shot victory for Grayson Murray, the first in six years for the journeyman pro. But for the 29-year-old who has battled issues with anxiety and alcohol along with physical injuries, the personal margin of victory was much greater.
“My parents have been through hell and back basically for the last six years with me fighting some mental stuff,” said the former PGA Tour winner after his triumph at Blue Hills C.C.
In the summer of 2021, following a second-round WD at the 3M Open, the Raleigh, N.C., native revealed he was in treatment for alcohol use. Murray opened up on Twitter about his battles with drinking, saying he was on probation from the PGA Tour for an incident in a hotel bar in Hawaii that year.
“It’s not easy on me, and the people around me that love me, they don’t like to see me down,” Murray said Sunday in Kansas City. “They’ve been my No. 1 supporters. There are a few friends as well that have been there, and it makes these moments a lot more special when you can share it with them.”
That moment was made extra special by the way in which Murray earned his first victory since the 2017 Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour. In the third round at Blue Hills CC, Murray birdied the last four holes and moved within two of the 54-hole lead. Come Sunday, he birdied Nos. 1, 7 and 10 before an eagle at No. 13 and another birdie on 16 built him a three-shot lead.
Instead of cruising to victory, however, things got tight on the final hole when Murray hit his tee shot out of bounds and had to reload.
On the green, Murray stood over an eight-foot putt for double-bogey 7. He appeared a far more composed player than the one involved in a Twitter spat with Kevin Na just over a year ago, and rolled in the putt. At 19 under par, he earned a one-shot victory over Rico Hoey and 54-hole leader Wilson Furr.
Murray’s second Korn Ferry Tour title came with a $180,000 winner’s prize. The win also comes seven months after Murray was involved in a scooter accident in Bermuda that didn’t result in any broken bones but did require 50 stitches.
“It hasn’t really sunk in; I’ve been working really hard, and this is a testament to the hard work,” Murray, who now sports a leaner, muscular physique, said. “Six years is a long drought, far longer than I wanted. Sometimes your highs are high out here and your lows are low. I heard a quote, think it was from Justin Thomas, it’s like, one day you feel nothing can go wrong and you can’t lose. Then, all of sudden you lose it and you can’t make a cut. That’s kind of how golf is. It’s a very humbling sport.”
The win took Murray from No. 142 to No. 14 on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour points standings. Should he hold onto his spot in the top 30 through the end of the regular season, he’ll secure a promotion to the PGA Tour for the third time in his career having done so in 2016 and 2019.
“We’ll see,” Murray said. “I’m going to enjoy this one first.”