As the end of the 2017 regular season neared on the Web.com Tour, it looked as though Manchester native and former PGA TOUR member Scott Langley would be headed back to the Qualifying Tournament. A strong performance at the last event of the regular season kept Langley in the mix and guaranteed him status for the 2018 season.
Now, just six months later, the 28-year-old Parkway South and Illinois graduate is a Tour winner after carding a final-round 5-under 65 at Club de Golf de Panama to come from six strokes back and pick up his first professional win at the Panama Championship in Panama City, Panama.
The momentum of Langley’s round began when he saved par on the par-4 seventh with a 10-footer. He then rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on the next, as well as another 20-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 ninth.
The University of Illinois alum made the turn at 3-under for the day, 5-under for the tournament, and suddenly realized there was a chance he would be walking off of the 18th green with a trophy in his hands for the first time since winning the 2010 NCAA Individual Championship.
“I looked at the leaderboard at that point and thought, ‘You know, these guys are playing great but this course is tough and anything can happen,’ ” Langley recalled. “I was fortunate to be in the group that I was because there was a little less of the spotlight on me and I felt like I could just go out there under the radar and post a great round, and I was able to do that. It wasn’t easy. I still had to go and do it. But to do it that way and play this good on Sunday when it meant everything is really special.”
Langley noted the importance of 5- to 10-foot putts in maintaining momentum at Club de Golf de Panama, as he recorded just six bogeys and one double bogey over the course of the week, on a golf course that traditionally poses one of the most demanding tests on Tour.
“I drove it OK, and my approach game was solid, but I putted so well,” Langley said. “Inside 10 feet, there weren’t many that I missed, and I saved a ton of great pars.
“Around this place, that’s the name of the game, making those 5- and 7-footers for par, and just keeping your round going. I did that better than pretty much any event I ever have.
“I didn’t make the putter switch … I made a little adjustment in my technique, and I rolled it beautifully over the weekend.”
Langley had considered deviating from his Scotty Cameron custom putter after the opening round of this week’s Panama Championship.
While relaxing in his hotel room in downtown Panama, the 28-year-old took a look at a backup putter and wondered if it might help him make more putts on the always-tricky greens at Club de Golf de Panama.
Langley ultimately decided to ride out the Scotty Cameron putter for the final three days of competition, and he’s glad he did.
Langley’s come-from-behind victory is the largest in tournament history, surpassing Miguel Angel Carballo’s five-stroke record from 2007.
He also became the first player in tournament history to record an over-par score in the opening round and go on to win the tournament. Additionally, Langley’s victory was the first on Tour by a First Tee program graduate.
With his record-breaking victory came $112,500, enough to move Langley to No. 3 on the money list.
“To do this this early in the year is nice,” Langley said. “To be in this position going forward, to hopefully get back to where when I’m feeling well I can compete on the PGA TOUR, to be in that position now is very gratifying. I worked my butt off this winter and put a lot of time and thought into my game, and it’s so nice to see it pay off this early in the season.”
The Scottsdale, Arizona, resident’s last full season on the PGA TOUR came in 2015-16. He made 10 cuts in 22 events, carding four top-25 finishes in the process, including a T11 at the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach.
Langley finished the season playing the Web.com Tour Finals and then spent the entirety of 2017 on Tour, where he recorded four top-25 finishes in 24 starts.