09/20/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2020 17:10
MAMARONECK, N.Y. - There may not be a worse way to start the final round of a major championship. Perhaps leaving your putter in the hotel room, but this is close.
Harris English lost his ball after his opening tee shot Sunday. He has made an incredible comeback over the past year, but this was the rare bump in the road. Still, he recovered from the misfortune to finish fourth at Winged Foot.
This time a year ago, he started the season with conditional status after finishing 149th in the FedExCup. He got off to a strong start to the 2020 season, however, and made it all the way to East Lake for the recent TOUR Championship. Then English started Sunday at Winged Foot in the third-to-last group, five shots behind 54-hole leader Matthew Wolff.
His opening tee shot sailed left of the fairway into the rough. He never found it. Losing a ball in the thick stuff may be something weekend players are accustomed to, but not PGA TOUR players. Even without spectators on-site, there are volunteers there to help spot balls. English said it was the first time he's lost a ball in grass on the PGA TOUR.
'I saw it hit off the tree. Hit the very right side of the tree and saw it bounce,' English said after his round. 'I really thought it was in the walkway. There's eight to 10 volunteers standing right by the tree. I didn't think anything of it, of they're not going to find it. Then we get up there, and everybody's looking around and have no idea where it is.
'I drug my foot up and down everywhere and couldn't find it.'
He had to return to the tee to hit his third shot. English finished with a double-bogey on the first hole. He made amends with a holed bunker shot on the next hole.
He signed for a 73 that left him alone in fourth place at 3-over 283. It was his first top-10 in 17 major starts. His previous best was T15 at the 2013 Open Championship. After having just one top-20 in his first 15 major starts, he now has two in a row. He finished T19 at this year's PGA Championship.
'Being in the hunt on a Sunday in a major, that's what everybody wants. That's what I practice for. That's what I prepare for,' English said.
No one can prepare for a lost ball on your opening hole, however. English rebounded to add another accomplishment to his incredible comeback.