The Grind: A Career-Changing Week
Patrick Flavin’s gamble paid off, putting bigger things within reach on the PGA Tour
By Ryan French
Not even nine months ago, Patrick Flavin missed at the second stage of Q-school on the Korn Ferry Tour. In fact, he wasn’t close, having fallen six shots short and finishing T44. The Monday qualifier for the Bermuda Championship on the PGA Tour was three days away, and understandably, Flavin didn’t feel much like going. But he was already in Florida, and the qualifier was just down the road. In making a decision that would alter his career trajectory, he made the short drive. Sure enough, he got in the field, had a share of the lead at one point on Saturday and finished T-17 in just his second career PGA Tour start.
After another successful Monday in March at the Puerto Rico Open and a subsequent T22 finish, Flavin was left with a tough decision. With full Latino American Tour status, he faced the choice of playing that tour full-time or chasing Monday Qs for the rest of the PGA Tour season. If he failed to earn enough FedEx Cup points by going the Monday Q route, he would be headed back to Q school and wouldn’t have status anywhere.
Flavin, it turns out, made the right call.
He has Monday-qualified a remarkable five times this year, and combined with three sponsor’s exemptions, he has played eight PGA Tour events this season. He had earned 77 points coming into last week’s John Deere Classic, which granted him a sponsor’s exemption. With the season winding down and no guaranteed starts ahead, Flavin knew what was at stake. He needed about a solo 23rd to secure a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour finals. He locked up his first goal of making the cut with a Friday 66. After a 68 on Saturday, he was tied for 30th. You would think that teeing off Sunday with that kind of pressure could lead to some nervy shots, but Flavin opened with a pair of birdies. He followed with seven consecutive pars, he headed to the back nine needing to make something happen.
“Those were the most important nine holes of my career,” Flavin told me on Sunday night as he drove to Chicago from the John Deere. And he responded, rocketing up the leaderboard into a tie for 10th after a back-nine 33, holing putts of 37, 14, 9 18 and 22 feet along the way. Flavin almost doubled his point total, to 150 points, and with his spot in the Korn Ferry Finals locked up, he can turn his attention to earning temporary membership, which is another 100 points away. And there will be no Monday Q for this week’s Barbasol Championship. He’s in the field thanks to his top 10 at the John Deere.
I talked with Flavin after his career-changing tournament in this week’s episode of The Grind.