My Take: Lee McCoy on winning in Canada, getting engaged and more

Photo-PGA Tour/Illustration-Landon Ringler

My Take: Lee McCoy on winning in Canada, getting engaged and more

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My Take: Lee McCoy on winning in Canada, getting engaged and more

It’s perhaps fate that I like cars and car culture so much, because at the first event of the Mackenzie Tour season, I put the pedal down.

Winning the Freedom 55 Financial Open by eight shots, the first event of the Mackenzie Tour season, was a great way for me to start the year (how could it not be?) and it set me up for a great run throughout the rest of the season.

Although there were moments when I didn’t play my best, I still feel good about my finish on the money list and my chances at Final Stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School later this year.

First, I’m looking forward to playing with some of my longtime friends at the Aruba Cup, which pits the top-10 guys on the Mackenzie Tour money list up against the top 10 from PGA Tour Latinoamerica in a match-play event. That’ll definitely get my juices flowing, not unlike when I played on the Walker Cup team in 2015 alongside Robby Shelton, who will also be on the Aruba Cup team.

I also played in three PGA Tour events this year, including my hometown event of the Valspar Championship and the RBC Canadian Open, where I Monday Qualified. I made the cut in all three, so I know my game is close to being ready for that next level.

But, back to that win.

It was a week I looked back on a handful of times as my season chugged along, and although I only missed two cuts all season long, there were will times when I was really struggling.

I knew, though, that great play was tucked inside me somewhere and when things all clicked, it was a great feeling.

I had four top-10 finishes this year, and had two top-5s in my last four events. If the season was a little longer, I’m positive I could have won again and jumped into The Five – the top-5 money earners get Web.com Tour cards for next year, while me, at No. 6, was part of the group that got a pass to Final Stage of Q-School – but I’ll never forget that week. It was one of the most memorable weeks of my life, and had a certain taste of validation as well.

Although I love cars, it was a car that caused me to have to sit out a couple months in late 2016. I got into a small accident and broke my wrist in two places. I wore a hole in my couch – and the way the cast was fit I couldn’t even play Xbox, I could only sit there – and was just chomping at the bit to get back to playing.

To have to miss Web.com Tour Q-School because of the injury, but to come out and capture the first event of the Mackenzie Tour season – in record-breaking fashion, too; that eight-shot margin of victory was the most in the Tour’s history – was just a validation that all my hard work and recovery was worth it.

Knowing I was so far ahead on the final hole of the tournament, I had a friendly bet with my caddie (also named Lee) about going for it on that final par five. I was about 240 yards out, downhill, down-wind. It was a perfect hybrid, and I told Lee that if I dunked it for a double-eagle then he would have to jump in the lake. It came out absolutely dead on line. It ended up about 15 feet short, but I twirled the club and starting walking after it, thinking it was in. At that point, I knew I had won the tournament, but it was just great to celebrate with a long-time friend and have some fun as well.

Speaking of celebrating, I had another reason to do just that this year, as my longtime girlfriend Hannah and me got engaged in August. Hannah went to a bunch of tournaments with me this year, and we’re so excited to start our lives together.

My season on the Mackenzie Tour started with a bang, and although I couldn’t keep up that blistering pace, I’m excited for what’s to come next both on the course and off. The Mackenzie Tour was a great place to start my professional career, and I’m hoping I’ll start every season the way I did this year.

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