Matthew Wolff's PGA Tour debut ends with top-50 finish
Matthew Wolff (right) and caddie George Gankas
In the end, it was a good week for the Cowboys at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Tour veteran Rickie Fowler overcame a penalty-laden triple bogey at the 11th to win, and Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff
made his PGA Tour debut with much fanfare and a T-50 finish.
For Wolff, it was the first time most of the world had seen a swing that’s “kind of homemade,” and now fine-tuned by instructor George Gankas. Wolff had Gankas on the bag this week. Across the country, another Gankas student, Akshay Bhatia, won the Jones Cup.
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Wolff came out of the gate with a head-turning 1-under 67 at TPC Scottsdale. An second-round 70 assured he would make the cut. Wolff had back-to-back rounds of 72 on the weekend.
It seems fitting that Wolff’s debut would coincide with a Fowler win. There’s certainly a connection between the two, which Wolff described this way after the opening round:
Rickie has come back to Oklahoma State probably three or four times, so I got to meet him and become friends with him. And before this week, I texted him and asked him if we could play a practice round. And I definitely got a lot of tips off him. He told me to be aggressive when you have the ability to, but these pins and the conditions are a lot harder than college golf, obviously, so he said be smart about it. Just have a good time and let loose and don't hold anything back.
Wolff, last year’s Phil Mickelson Award winner as the top freshman in the nation, won at least a share of the individual title in each of three fall stroke-play starts with Oklahoma State. The Cowboys open their spring season later this week at the Amer Ari Invitational.