Bud Cauley at The Cognizant Classic

by | Mar 2, 2024 | Pro News

A Remarkable Comeback By Bud Cauley at The Cognizant Classic

Daytona Beach native Bud Cauley is in sole possession of the lead midway through the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches.

Before we even get to his masterful performance and delve into his two-day total of 11 under par on PGA National Resort’s Championship Course, consider all he has been through to back into contention.

While competing in Ohio at The Memorial in 2018, he suffered six broken ribs, a broken leg and a collapsed lung in a single car accident in which he was a passenger.  While recovering enough to resume his career in 2020, the ribs never quite healed and he required more surgeries.

Playing in only his third TOUR event in 4 ½ years, 33 year old Cauley says that thankfully his golf swing is virtually the same as before the accident.

“Yeah, I gave myself enough time to prepare at home before I started playing again. Yeah, my expectation was to come out and compete, and I felt like my game was in a good spot. Saying it is one thing, doing it is another,” said Cauley.

matthew_fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Bogey free over his last 27 holes, Cauley reeled off 11 birdies including a 12 foot putt on the 18th hole to close out the second round as the sun went down. His 36 hole total of 131 gave him his first 36-hole lead since 2017 Valero Texas Open.

“I’m really happy with how I’ve played. I feel like my game has been trending in the right way. I’ve been hitting the ball well and just needed some scoring things to start, added Cauley.”

The University of Alabama standout is still seeking his first PGA TOUR victory as is 25 year old Austin Eckroat who is tied for second place with South African Garrick Higgo.  Each head into moving day at minus 10, just a shot off the lead while Higgo is chasing his second win on TOUR.

Eckroat finds himself in an unfamiliar place contending out here.

“I haven’t been in a whole lot. I think this is only the fifth time maybe since I’ve been a professional. But yeah, I feel comfortable in it and I like it,” said the Oklahoma State standout.

Major winners Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are in a group that includes last week’s winner Jake Knapp three shots back at 8 under par.

Last year’s U.S. Amateur winner Nick Dunlap had a hole in one on the par-3 7th Friday and is tied for 24th place, six shots back at 5 under par in a group which includes last year’s winner here Chris Kirk and 2022 U.S. Open winner Matthew Fitzpatrick.

thecognizantclassic.com

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About the Author

<a href="https://golfonemedia.com/author/george_mcneilly/" target="_self">George McNeilly</a>

George McNeilly

George McNeilly is an award-winning multimedia broadcaster, producer and writer with a journalism background that has spanned the globe from four Olympics, 17 Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals, Major College Football, Basketball and Professional Golf. A former Senior ESPN executive, George teaches Sports Business at Full Sail University and is managing partner of McNeilly Communications.