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On Friday, Will Wilcox arguably claimed the biggest and most important title of his professional career. How so you may ask? Well, the tournament, which was played on the Emerald Coast Golf Tour, was his first win sober.
Wilcox has earnt more than $2.5 million on the PGA Tour and has even shot a 59 and won on the Korn Ferry Tour during his career. However, not long ago, the American checked himself in to a rehab centre (opens in new tab).
Originally reported on the Fire Pit Collective (opens in new tab), the 35-year-old is now back in the winner's circle, with a 190 yard 5-iron finding the centre of a cup for a closing albatross. The final shot capped a closing-round 64 that gave him a seven-stroke win and his first victory since almost stepping away from the game.
“Just holding a big cheque again means the world to me,” explained Wilcox, “and doing it sober means even more.”
As he made the turn with a five-stroke lead, it seemed that the American would be cruising to the title. However, his tee shot on the 12th hole collided with a tree and never came down.
Making a double, he would then make a bogey on the 13th to see his lead reduced further. Wilcox, who was playing his first full event since walking off the course at a Korn Ferry event eight months ago, responded well, with birdies on the 15th and 16th giving himself some breathing room.
As he played the last, the 35-year-old would make his first ever albatross, with his 17-under-par tournament total giving him a comfortable seven-shot win.
Before the win, there was a time during his career where Wilcox was either experiencing withdrawals or 'high' whilst he played. As is often the case with drugs, the demons were louder at night and prevented him from sleeping, leading him to consume an "ungodly amount of drugs" that put him "an inch from death."
At the beginning of the year, Wilcox realised he needed help and checked into a rehab centre. As a result, he has turned his life around, but does acknowledge that there will still be tough times ahead.
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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