Hayden Buckley may be an unknown name, even among the most ardent golf fans.
That’s not the case at the Club at Gateway, however, where Buckley has been a member for the past two years and names Fort Myers home on his social media accounts.
On day two of the US Open, the PGA Tour rookie is making a splash. He shot a two-under 68 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass, putting him in a tie for third with a four-under 136 for the tournament, one shot behind clubhouse leaders Colin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen. .
Buckley, who left early Friday, was tied with golf superstars John Rahm and Rory Mcllroy when the second round concluded, as well as Aaron Wise and Beau Hossler.
Buckley, who had made just one cut in his last seven starts, will tee off with Rahm at 3:34 pm on Saturday.
“We’ve been talking about it for the last couple of weeks, how simple it is to go out and bogey less, make a lot of pars and find some birdies,” Buckley told The Boston Globe. “Today I was 2-over on, I think, 11 holes and still feeling good. He made a little late charge there and made some birdies going in.
“I think it was a bit of maturity. I really needed to grow up and learn to grind a little more. That is something we did today,” she added.
Here are five things to know about the Fort Myers resident:
1. Growing up in Mississippi, Buckley only began turning his attention to golf his freshman year of high school.
He had been more interested in baseball, the sport his father played at Ole Miss.
“I was so bad at golf at golf in high school,” Buckley said in a Golf.com interview. “I really was. I had no natural talent like these other guys. I think if I did it, a lot of other people can.”
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2. Buckley went on to the University of Missouri golf team, where he was 15th out of 15 players.
“I needed to graduate from school and get a job,” Buckley said. “I still get texts from my teammates saying, ‘I can’t believe you did it.'”
As a senior, he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. He was named Missouri Male Athlete of the Year in the 2017-18 season.
3. Buckley, who turned pro in 2018, has two pro wins.
The first was on the PGA Tour Canada and the second was last year on the Korn Ferry Tour. Originally first alternate at the LECOM Suncoast Classic, Buckley was holding the trophy at the end of last February weekend after posting a birdie on the first playoff hole, according to PGATour.com.
The 26-year-old got his PGA Tour card in late 2021.
4. He calls Fort Myers home and is getting married later this year.
Buckley set a December wedding date with his bride-to-be at a local venue, according to TheKnot.com.
The two share a photogenic dog named Macy who can be seen in various posts on her Instagram page.
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5. An underdog mentality has been key to their success.
“I always feel like I’m practicing and preparing like I’m still the no. The 15th player on my varsity team,” he told Golf.com. “It wasn’t fun being no. 15 out of 15, but now it’s fun.”
His college coach, Mark Leroux, said Buckley was the only player he offered a spot on the team without seeing him play.
“He was that guy with a chip on his shoulder,” Leroux told PGATour.com. “He knew that what he wanted to do was play professional golf and he was going to do whatever it took to get there. He knew it the first year, probably after the first few weeks.”
Follow News-Press sports reporter Dustin Levy on Twitter: @DustinBLevy. For additional sports coverage in Southwest Florida, follow @newspresssports and @ndnprepzone on Instagram.