The AdventHealth Championship played out to a pretty entertaining finale last month as Trevor Cone took home the prize via a one-stroke victory.
The PGA Tour-sanctioned event, a four-day, 72-hole competition featuring 156 players as part of the Korn Ferry Tour, took place at the Blue Hills Country Club in Kansas City Missouri, culminating on May 22.
Cone, helped by outright leader Taylor Montgomery’s three putts for a bogey, would sink a 19-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to snatch his second win on the Korn Ferry Tour. Cone also birdied on the par-4 16th on the way to a second straight 2-under 70 that got him to 16-under par for the week.
The birdie at the par-5 18th was Cone’s 23rd of the week and led the field. He had made an eagle earlier in the competition at the par-5 to give him 24 birdies to lead all chasers. Montgomery made just four bogeys all week, which marked the fewest in the field, and is now a four-time runner-up finisher on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“The game’s been trending this way for a long time, I just couldn’t put it all together,” Cone offered. “You start to doubt yourself a little bit after being three and a half years since the last win, and when you’ve only won once, some people may think it’s a fluke. Since then, I’ve been trying to prove to myself I can do it again, and it’s nice to get it done. I’m kind of at a loss for words.”
The 29-year-old played his first holes on the Sunday at even par, draining birdies at the par-4 second and ninth, plus bogeys at the par-4 third and par-314th. He cut Montgomery’s two-stroke lead in half with a birdie at No.16. He missed a birdie opportunity at the par-4 17th but it ended up presenting him with the swing that won the event.
“I hit it right through (No. 18) fairway all three days and I saw the tee was up when we were walking down No. 17, so I knew it was gettable in two if you hit a good tee shot,” he explained. “I was a little disappointed with hitting it left, but I knew I could still lay up to a good number. Luckily, I drew a really good lie (in the rough). And once I saw Taylor hit the green, I was like, I’ve got to do something crazy. I tried to hit it right in the middle of the green. (It) flew a little farther than I thought.
“Luckily, I made the putt. I was just thinking about getting it there. I left the one on No. 17 short. It was fantastic to see that go in.”
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Meanwhile, Cone posted a single top-10 and seven top-25s in 73 starts prior to his recent win and finished 135th and 125th on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List in 2019 and 2020/21 respectively. He returned to the tour’s qualifying tournament at the end of each season in an attempt to move up from the group of Past Champions but failed on both occasions.
He finished two strokes outside of the top 40 for guaranteed starts in 2019 and posted a T9 at the Astara Golf Championship to climb the priority rankings and play the remainder of the 2020/21 season after missing out in his first two starts of 2020.
The North Carolina native finished below the cut at the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament’s second stage by just one stroke last fall.
He won’t need to worry about reshuffles after this latest win, however.
“It was a rough couple years,” he admitted. “I just kind of lost my ball striking, which is like my bread and butter, but it wasn’t bad to the point where I could figure out what needed work and where to change things. It was just kind of stagnant. Last year was probably the worst year I had finishes-wise, and the same thing happened before the win in 2018. I was kind of lost a month or two before that and just played mini-tour events back in North Carolina and couldn’t play well at all.
“Next thing you know, I snowballed one into a bunch of top-25s and finally won in San Francisco,” Cone continued. “I guess I’m just trying to keep the pedal down and not take it for granted this time.”
Cone is now ranked No.21 on the aforementioned points list, having climbed up from No.149. He has his work cut out for him but just wanted to savor his win after the tourney.
“I didn’t celebrate the last one, so I don’t know what to do. We’re driving to Chicago tomorrow,” he said. “I’m just so excited. Really excited to get the rest of the season going.”