Endycott driven for PGA Tour debut

·3-min read

After overcoming depression then toiling away in golf's backwaters to crack the big time, Harrison Endycott has no plans to simply make up the numbers in his US PGA Tour debut.

Endycott is among five Australians teeing up at this week's season-opening Fortinet Championship at the Silverado Resort course in Napa Valley, California.

The 26-year-old secured his PGA Tour card last month through the cut-throat Korn Ferry Tour, completing a tumultuous journey from gifted junior and grieving teenager to golf's most prestigious tour.

A former world top-10 amateur star, Endycott went "all in" four years ago when he joined the Latino-America circuit hoping it would prove the first step on the way to the PGA Tour.

Initially denied a visa into Brazil, Endycott then almost missed his maiden event in Sao Paulo because his clubs got lost.

Persevering, he plugged away at tournaments in Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica to graduate to the secondary Korn Ferry Tour.

But no challenge was more traumatic for Endycott than losing his mother Dianne to cancer when he was only 15.

"It was brutal," he told AAP on Thursday.

"Near the end of Year 10, my dad sat me down and said 'it's only going to be you and me. Mum hasn't got long left'.

"It was an experience you don't wish anyone to go through. I was just unfortunate to have to deal with something so heavy at such a young age."

The ordeal led to Endycott's mental health battles.

"I was uncoached to deal with it," he said.

"I really struggled from the ages of 18 to 20. I really suffered harder depression. I even had challenges after 20.

"It led to some really poor decisions that hurt my golf. At the time, golf didn't really matter to me."

But after a D & M with a trusted friend, Endycott sought help, hasn't looked back and says losing his mother has, in a perverse way, been the making of him as a tour golfer.

"It drove me harder, that's for sure. It gave me a reason to get better," Endycott said.

That same drive is fuelling Endycott ahead of his first round on the PGA Tour on Friday (AEST).

While his priority for the 2022-23 wrap-around season is to retain his playing card, Endycott has higher amibitions.

"Honestly, it's still another golf tournament. I'm still going out there to try to get on top of that leaderboard come Sunday," he said.

"Obviously going to take time to get comfortable in the new surroundings.

"But, at the same time, my game feels like it's in a great spot."

Endycott is drawing inspiration from major runners-up Will Zalatoris and Cameron Young as well as Cameron Champ, who won on just his second start as a full PGA Tour member after emerging from the Korn Ferry Tour.

"We have very low cuts on the Korn Ferry Tour and you're forced to go out and make birdies so that mindset doesn't change," Endycott said.

"You're absolutely going out to win a golf tournament and 156 guys are trying to do the same thing.

"I love this golf course this week. It's in immaculate condition and I'm out to make as many birdies as I can."

Endycott joins countrymen Cam Davis, Cameron Percy, former world No.1 Jason Day and Monday qualifier Aaron Baddeley in the field for this week's $US8 million ($A11.83m) season opener.