Willie Mack III, a former pre-eminent golfer at Bethune-Cookman, made his first PGA tour cut on Friday and took his first tour check on Sunday. Mack finished 71st in a tie at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Mack brought home $ 15,075 after shooting 68-73-72-71 to finish 4 under par 284 and level with Jimmy Walker and Bo Van Pelt on the Detroit Golf Club course. He finished the race ahead of four others, including 45-time winner and 2021 PGA champion Phil Mickelson (-3).
A native of Michigan, 32-year-old Flint came up with sponsorship exception 90 miles from his hometown. It was his third PGA Tour start of the season. Former Jackson State golfer Tim O’Neal was also in the field after winning the John Shippen Invitational earlier this week. O’Neal missed Friday’s cut after shooting +3, 74-73-147 in the first two days.
Grinding pays off for Willie Mack III
Mack worked his way up the pro golf ladder and lived in his car for a year and a half. The car caught fire and exploded in 2018, with Mack only saving his golf clubs.
Despite this setback, he was named Player of the Year on the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour a year later. The APGA is a tour that aims to provide African Americans and other minorities with the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level in professional golf. Mack was a successful winner, winning titles in about 60 mini-tour events.
Keep it in the game
During the week, Mack played well in front of a variety of family and friends. With his 15 birdies he finished 49th in the field. His 11 bogeys were 11. There were no double or triple bogeys on his card. Outside the tee, he averaged 273.1 yards with a driving accuracy of 71.43% and hit 72.22% of the greens in regulation.
Mack even played the par-4 holes par for the week. He was 1-under on par-3 and 3-under on par-5s. His 4½-foot par putt on his 18th and final hole on Friday enabled him to cut the number. He had missed the cut in his two previous starts at the Genesis Invitational and the Farmer’s Insurance Open.
Cam Davis won the Rocket Mortgage on the fifth hole of sudden death in a three-man playoff with Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann.
I look forward to further opportunities
Wayne Birch, who played for Merritt at Southern and Caddies, returned to the court after Merritt finished Friday to support Mack when he tried to make the cut. He was delighted with Mack’s performance.
“I was probably more nervous than he (Mack),” Birch said after watching Mack sink the short putt for par on his final hole on Friday. “In the black golf community, we all knew, all of us who played at a high level, that Willie was next. It’s so big. “
Mack will next serve at the PGA John Deere Classic July 7-11 at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
“I want to serve again,” said Mack after his last lap in Detroit. “Fortunately, I joined John Deere next week so hopefully I can take that momentum and play well next week.”