Eight months ago, long before he became one of the front-runners for Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year honors, Brandon Wu was registering for LocalIQ Series events and searching for an opportunity, any opportunity really, to play on the Korn Ferry Tour. Every time his chance seemed to be approaching, the 24-year-old Stanford Engineering grad would find another unfortunate setback.
Starting in February as the first alternate at the El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova, he waited around all week and warmed up for a shot, but nobody withdrew and he took the evening flight home instead of an afternoon tee time. Six weeks later, he was supposed to compete at home in Dallas at the Veritex Bank Championship, but COVID hit a month prior to the event, wiping it from the schedule.
In the Korn Ferry Tour’s Return to Golf in June, he tried to Monday qualify for the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass, playing his way into a four-for-three Tuesday playoff, but ended up the unfortunate lone man out. After receiving a sponsor’s exemption into the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes, July 1-4, he was confident he’d finally get his chance there. But he tested positive upon arrival for COVID.
“That was a bummer,” Wu said. “I’d been waiting around for months for the opportunity to try and play.”
His shot finally came nearly eight months into the season at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. Driving to the Monday qualifier, Wu got an email from the Korn Ferry Tour staff asking who his caddie was for the week. Confused, he replied asking the reasoning behind the request because he wasn’t in the event, so he thought. But thanks to a number of withdrawals, he had gained entry via his conditional status as one of the last players in the field.
“That was a neat surprise, but yeah, that was kind of like, ‘OK, here’s your chance, you know?’” Wu said. “I got up there and luckily played well that week. I think I had a three-shot lead going into the last day, so it was disappointing finishing ninth after that. But looking back, that was such a key week to get some Points scored and be able to reshuffle and get into the tournaments.”