Las Vegas resident Norman Xiong, once a can’t-miss-player from Univ. of Oregon, spent the last few years racking up missed cuts before Monday qualifying for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics and winning.
At one point, Xiong, who turned pro in 2018 at 19, said he could write a book about his experiences as a professional failure after a career at Oregon when he won the Jack Nicklaus and Fred Haskins Awards as NCAA player of the year in 2018 with six wins.
But then professional golf knocked him for a loop.
“I really don’t know how I’m feeling just because I didn’t really expect to be here,” Xiong said on PGATour.com. “I just knew I couldn’t really let up today. I think that just shows how tough it is out here, and I think you can only recognize how much of a battle it is for all these players out here. It’s a really tough sport.”
Xiong is the 25th Korn Ferry Tour player in history to win as a Monday qualifier. He jumped from unranked to 24th on the Top 25 list. The top 25 players earn PGA Tour status following the season.
“I just tried my best to get there and fell short on the last hole, kind of choked it, but got the win,” Xiong said. “A lot of things just went my way. I got a lot of good breaks, a lot of putts dropped. It’s kind of what it takes out here to win, to have it be your week and have everything go your way.”
Photo: courtesy PGATour.com and Dylan Buell/Getty Images.
🧑🍳 ate at the same restaurant each night,
🚘 parked in the same parking spots,
🐅 wore a red wristband for Year of the Tiger,
🔴 had a red caddie bib all week. pic.twitter.com/LvgSENtHUB
— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) June 21, 2022