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WSU alumnus Derek Bayley makes PGA Tour debut

The Barricuda Championship could provide a great chance for a career foothold. Plus, today’s links!

GOLF: SEP 06 Mackenzie Tour - Mackenzie Investments Open Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former Washington State Cougars golfer Derek Bayley makes his PGA Tour debut today in the Barracuda Championship in Truckee, California. He tees off at 1:50 p.m. PT, and The Golf Channel has coverage.

Bayley played his way into the tournament — which is just outside Reno, Nevada — when he picked up his first professional victory in last month’s Reno Open on The Golden State Golf Tour. He finished birdie-birdie to win the event by one stroke.

“As much as I’m going to attempt to make it another week, it’s clearly not,” Bayley told Jim Meehan at The Spokesman-Review. “But my whole goal for the week is to not only treat it like any other week but get in that same mindset that I’ve had to do the best I can. By Thursday morning, I’d like to get in that mindset that I’d like to win the golf tourney and not be here just to play the weekend or just enjoy myself.”

Like many young golf professionals, Bayley has been grinding away on various small tours since he graduated in 2018, searching for a foothold. Here’s his last month, as described by Colton Clark of The Lewiston Tribune:

A short reprieve in Rathdrum [Idaho] after the Reno Open; two top-10 finishes in three Dakotas Tour mini-circuit events.

A trip back home for the wedding of his sister, Chelsea.

A flight to Missouri the ensuing morning for a qualifier of the higher-level Korn Ferry Tour, during which he shot a bogey-free 66, but fell shy of a playoff by one stroke.

A flight the next day to Denver, and another competition.

“It’s been a busy month, but I knew what I was getting into,” he said. “I’m in a nice rhythm. It was good to come under pressure situations. I’ll take those experiences to propel me.”

The Barracuda Championship gives Bayley as good a chance as any to make some waves on the PGA Tour. Most of the best golfers in the world aren’t at the tournament — they’re off a the World Golf Championship in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Barracuda Championship also uses the modified Stableford scoring system in which the rewards for birdies and eagles are greater than the penalties for bogeys — same as the Reno Open.

Maybe all of this works together to propel Bayley to another PGA Tour appearance.

Links

Former Coug Derek Bayley set for PGA Tour debut at Barracuda Championship | The Spokesman-Review
Bayley’s game and, perhaps more importantly, mindset have been trending upward for months. It started with his quality play on the Outlaw Tour in Arizona before his breakthrough win at the Reno Open in June, which came with a $15,000 check and an exemption into the Barracuda Championship with his room taken care of this week.

WSU product Bayley set to make PGA Tour debut | Sports | lmtribune.com
In the lead-up to his first PGA Tour showing, starting today at the Old Greenwood Golf Course west of Reno, Nev., Derek Bayley has emphasized maintaining a level head.

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