It’s funny how inauspiciously a PGA TOUR journey can start.
For Kramer Hickok, tying for 15th at the 2017 PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament didn’t raise any eyebrows. But what came next certainly did.
After a relatively slow start to his Mackenzie Tour season -- failing to find a top-10 finish through the first month -- Hickok suddenly caught fire, winning The Players Cup and quickly following it with a tie for second at the Staal Foundation Open presented by Tbaytel.
Add another win and a tie for 19th at the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open, not to mention the No. 1 spot on the Mackenzie Tour money list, and the Texan knew he was ready.
“I’ve known for so long that I’ve been good enough. Last year was such a big stepping stone for me,” said Hickok upon receiving his 2019 PGA TOUR card Sunday in Portland, Oregon. “There are eight or nine guys I play golf with from that 2011 (high school) graduating class that are buddies of mine that I know I can beat. It’s nice to know when I go home and play with Jordan (Spieth) or whoever, that if I can beat the No. 6 player in the world, I can beat other players as well.”
That is exactly what Hickok did on the 2018 Web.com Tour. Following his stellar Canadian campaign, he picked up seven top-25s, including a second- and a third-place showing, ending the year at No. 23 on the money list, enough to earn his PGA TOUR card.
“Although I didn’t win (this season), I was able to use those past memories, looking back and drawing on past experiences to help me throughout the year,” said Hickok of his lone Mackenzie Tour season. “That gave me a lot of confidence to know I’m able to play at a high level.”
Hickok isn’t alone. He is joined by seven other Mackenzie Tour alums who earned their cards at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz.