David Lipsky has been professional for almost a decade, yet since turning pro in 2011, the 31-year-old Northwestern product has never had a full-time home in the U.S.
That could change Sunday.
With only conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour, Lipsky tied a course record by shooting 10-under 62 Saturday at the TPC San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons. Lipsky, who entered the week having missed four of seven cuts on the KFT this season, leads Paul Barjon by a shot at 19 under.
“It’s a great opportunity [to play on this tour],” said Lipsky, who has competed mainly internationally for past decade and owns three career victories, two on the European Tour and one on the Asian Tour. “… I’ve wanted to make my way back and play full-time in the United States. Having status out here, even as limited as it was, to give myself a few starts to play well was important. Having a chance to play my way into the reshuffle and play your way into a PGA Tour card, that’s what it’s all about.”
Lipsky earned his KFT card last year thanks in large part to his T-10 showing at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He currently ranks No. 82 in KFT points, and a victory would bump him to 12th. While there is no graduation to the PGA Tour this year, Lipsky could still earn some PGA Tour starts, including a U.S. Open invite this fall, if he climbs into the top 10 by the end of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship this August.
Lipsky’s performance Saturday on the Canyons Course won’t hurt those chances, and another similar effort Sunday would give him a full KFT card for the first time (he played 14 events in 2013, missing half of his cuts). He carded two bogeys but more than offset those mistakes with 10 birdies and an eagle. His final birdie, at the par-4 18th, came after he hit his approach from a fairway bunker, some 200 yards out, to 3 feet.
“It was honestly a perfect number and a great lie in the bunker,” said Lipsky, whose 62 equals Fred Couples’ score recorded here during the 2011 AT&T Championship. “I don’t really like left pins because I work the ball left-to-right, but I wanted to get to double digits. I knew I had to take an aggressive line coming in.”
Lipsky said before Saturday he had never shot double digits under par before. He’s hoping that Sunday he accomplishes another first: victory in the U.S.
“A lot of it is trusting what I am doing; doubt is the killer,” said Lipsky, a Los Angeles native who attended the same high school, La Canada High, as Collin Morikawa. “I’ve had doubts. But I feel like I’m on the right track right now with my swing and all parts of my game. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”