Confidence and momentum.
Talk to any professional golfer about achieving success and those two words inevitably come up.
No other golfer who teed off in Thursday’s opening round of the Albertsons Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club had more momentum than Kramer Hickok.
Hickok earned his first Web.com Tour victory in the DAP Championship on Sept. 2 in Beachwood, Ohio. He was the first wire-to-wire winner on the Web.com Tour this season.
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“Coming off the win in Cleveland … I’m obviously very confident,” said Hickok, who finished his solid round Thursday at 3-under-par 68. “Anytime that golf starts to feel easy, you’ve got to try to take advantage of those opportunities. There are just so many ups and downs in this game, and sometimes it feels unbearably hard, and there are times when is feels easy. This is one of those times when it feels easy, so I’m just kind of riding the wave.”
The fickle game was certainly easy for Hickok at the DAP Championship, the second round of the Web.com Finals. His win there, combined with a 14th-place finish in the opening tournament the week before, catapulted Hickok to the top of the Finals money list, with $198,000 in earnings.
The 26-year-old earned his first PGA Tour card in the regular season by finishing among the top 25 golfers on the Web.com Tour. But if he were to hold on to the top spot after the Finals’ conclusion in next week’s Web.com Tour Championship, he would earn fully exempt status on the PGA Tour next season, in addition to cementing a spot in next year’s Players Championship.
“The goal coming into the Finals was just to improve my position, and obviously I was able to do that,” Hickok said. “Now it’s time to reset the goals, and the goal is to try to get No. 1 on the money list and get full status and in the Players.”
That would enable him to play any number of tournaments alongside his former University of Texas teammate and roommate, Jordan Spieth.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Hickok, an avid fisherman who has been taking advantage of the local fly-fishing opportunities the past few days. “There’s a lot of golf to be played, but I’ve just got to keep striving for that goal, and it gives me something to reach for.”
Hickok said Hillcrest was the perfect setting for him to keep his momentum rolling.
“I think the course is phenomenal,” he said. “It’s just a pure, old-school track. I was telling Peter (Manalti) throughout the round that it’s so fun to play. There are so many opportunities to make birdies, and there are a lot of risk/reward holes.”
LEADERS: At the end of the day, the leaderboard went international. Sangmoon Bae, a South Korea native with two wins on the PGA Tour, was the early leader at 6-under. He was later joined by Fabian Gomez, an Argentinian who has also won twice on the PGA Tour. David Skinns then joined the leaders at 6 under and did them one better, making birdie on his final hole for a 7-under 64 and one-shot lead. Skinns had four birdies on his back nine.