Nearly every major produces one: an unexpected contender who rockets to the top of the leaderboard seemingly out of nowhere. For the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, that surprising player is Chris Stroud. Here are five things to know about the 35-year-old Texan.
1. He recently won for the first time on the PGA Tour. Very recently–he won the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada just last week. It was his 290th PGA Tour start. “Eleven years I’ve waited for that. So it’s a dream come true,” he said after the win. The breakthrough also earned him a spot in the PGA this week.
2. He may not be a household name, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t done well for himself. Since turning pro in 2004, Stroud has raked in more than $10.6 million in winnings.
3. This is his third appearance at the PGA Championship. He missed the cut in 2012 and 2013 and was T64 in 2014.
4. In an interview after his round yesterday, he told reporters that he “cares more about people” than he does about golf, saying that he’s replied to every one of the hundreds of calls, emails and texts pouring in over the last few days. “I’m grateful to have a chance to play on the Tour and stay healthy,” he said.
5. Stroud received some encouragement from 2017 Masters champ Sergio Garcia not long before he finally nabbed his first PGA victory in Nevada. “He said just, ‘Take it easy. It will come to you,’” Stroud said of Garcia’s advice.