Korn Ferry Tour's Lee Hodges pulls off nervy victory over veterans in Back 2 Golf Challenge
It was an event staged not for prestige or paychecks or even television time. There wasn’t supposed to be much competitive pressure either, but Lee Hodges might tell you differently.
In the 36-hole Back 2 Golf Challenge that paired PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour pros for charity at the Sea Island Resort on Georgia’s coast, Hodges got all he could have hoped for in preparing to get back to the serious business of golf.
Tied with Jim Furyk and Harris English with four holes to play, the 24-year-old Hodges, an Alabama alum and second-year member of the Korn Ferry, birdied the 15th and 18th to seize the individual title with a 10-under total. His honor in doing so was to see the Sea Island Resort donate $5,000 on his behalf to the Coastal Georgia Foundation’s Emergency Needs Fund. The event was staged with two-man teams, each having one PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour player. J.T. Poston and Ben Kohles were the team winners at 18 under.
Hodges had to pinch himself a bit. He staved off Furyk, the former U.S. Ryder Cup captain and U.S. Open champion, and Harris English, a two-time Tour winner who knows the Sea Island track about as well as anyone.
“The last couple of holes I was like, 'This feels like an actual tournament,' " English told Golfchannel.com. “I made birdie at 15 and saw I was tied and thought it was time to go.”
Paired with Davis Love III, the annual host of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic at Sea Island, Hodges said, “It was just nice to get some juices flowing again. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the restart. It was really cool; the last few holes Davis was helping me read putts and everything. It was nice to be in that position again.”
While the PGA Tour returns on Thursday at Colonial Country Club after the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Korn Ferry Tour also is back with a new event—the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra. The Korn Ferry last played a competitive round on March 1 in the El Bosque Mexico Championship that was won by David Kocher.
Up until the stoppage, Hodges, a native of Huntsville, Ala., was off to a promising start that included his best-ever Korn Ferry result, a T-3 in the Panama Championship that had him at 20th on the money list.