MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Joe Affrunti waited for a break all round.
Consistent ball striking, fairways, greens and near flawless scrambling was the norm in the Crystal Lake native’s final round in the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday.
Yet, Affrunti couldn’t get an extra rotation or fraction of a degree of break on birdie putts in a 1-over-par 71 at the TPC Southwind.
Affrunti ended his first PGA Tour event in nearly two years at even par 280 and finished in a four-way tie for 47th place, earning him $15,333 for the weekend.
Harris English finished first with a 12-under 268 for his first PGA Tour win.
“It was a decent week,” Affrunti said. “My friends, family and fiancée got to come down and watch me play and that was great. I feel like I should have been in the top 15 though. I just didn’t make any putts. As well as I hit the ball, I feel like it was a total failure that I didn’t score lower. With the way I hit the ball, I could have really killed it this week if I would have made more putts.”
Because he prefers a busy schedule, so he can “get on a run,” Affrunti will play the Air Capital Classic on the Web.com Tour next week in Wichita, Kan. Along with a 36-hole U.S. Open Qualifier on June 3, he has played in a tournament for three straight weeks. Affrunti will keep the streak going and play the next three weeks, as well.
After the lengthy, six-week run, Affrunti will take a week off before returning to the PGA Tour in the John Deere Classic at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, which is scheduled for July 11 through the 14.
The outward nine featured only one missed fairway and birdie looks on six of nine greens. It was the kind of performance Affrunti said can only happen when he plays frequently.
The water hazard claimed Affrunti’s tee shot and led to a double bogey on the 157-yard, par-3 11th hole.
Since 2002, TPC Southwind leads the PGA Tour in balls hit into water hazards. But, Affrunti ground out pars until a 285-yard drive down the middle of the fairway led to an approach shot with a wedge from 122 yards.
A 10-foot straight putt smoothly rolled in for his only birdie of the day. It was a sign of perseverance after so many near misses on the greens. His final scorecard had a double bogey, birdie and all pars.
“That was just a little baby wedge that I knocked down into the wind that left me a straight putt,” Affrunti said. “It’s only a matter of time. I just need to go out and keep playing my game. I feel great and like I can go out and post a 4-, 5- or 6-under par score with the way I am striking the ball.”