Hall edges Hardy in three-hole playoff
GLENVIEW, Ill. – After birdies on five of the last seven holes in regulation, Englishman Harry Hall made three birdies in a row in a three-hole sudden-death playoff and defeated Northbrook, Illinois native Nick Hardy to win the NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank. It marked the second career Korn Ferry Tour win for Hall, who previously won the 2021 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics last June.
Hall entered the day in a three-way tie for the lead at 16-under par with Hardy and Korn Ferry Tour rookie Davis Thompson. While Thompson carded a 2-under 69 Sunday, Hall and Hardy turned in matching bogey-free 6-under 65s and finished three strokes clear of the field.
Hall finished No. 40 on the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, but entered the week without a single top-10 in 12 starts this season.
“This year has been a little bit stale as far as performances and outcomes, but I played some good golf this week,” Hall said. “And to birdie all three of the playoff holes – I think I shot 30 on the back, too – some of the best golf I've ever played. Hit some great putts. I think my best is good enough to beat anybody.”
Hall made just one birdie through the first 11 holes of the final round, a three at the par-4 seventh. The 24-year-old resident of Las Vegas, Nevada then proceeded to birdie five of the final seven holes of regulation (Nos. 12, 13, 15, 16, 18), including the 563-yard par-5 18th for the outright lead. Playing in the penultimate pairing, Hall watched as Hardy two-putted No. 18 for a playoff-forcing birdie.
The two birdied No. 18 another two times for the first two holes of the sudden-death playoff, after which Hall and Hardy carted to the 152-yard par-3 17th. Hall played first and stuck a wedge shot 10 feet from the hole. Hardy’s tee shot landed on the front side of the green, but it spun back into the greenside fringe. Hardy chipped within feet of the pin and could only watch as Hall buried his 10-footer.
“When I holed that putt on No. 17 to win, I was so in the zone and didn't really think about anything else other than just playing golf and hitting shots,” Hall said. “It was more focused on breathing. That's kind of all I tried to do the last three hours is do my little breathing routine and execute the shots that I'm trying to hit. I got so in depth in doing that, that it was just another golf shot.”
Hall is in his second season on the Korn Ferry Tour, and last season almost never got off the ground. A T114 finish at Final Stage of the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament left Hall buried on the priority ranking for what became the 2020-21 season. Hall’s first start came in mid-June at the 2020 Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass, the seventh event of the season, after he survived a 4-for-3 playoff in the Monday qualifier. Two weeks later, Hall Monday qualified into the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank, finished T36 and shuffled up the priority ranking three events later.
A T2 at the 2020 Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS ensured Hall would play the rest of the season. One year and six days after the Monday qualifier which led to his first start, Hall won the 2021 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics.
“I think since Wichita and the end of last season I tried to get so much better and working on my game a lot… that’s helped, but it’s kind of got me further away from what I did really well,” Hall said. “I figured that out and came here this week with a very similar style of game (as Wichita). That’s the most important thing for me now, figuring out why I do certain things and keep doing it.”
Following his win Sunday, the University of Las Vegas-Nevada alum admitted this week’s title was more difficult to take hold of than his first.
“Playing a playoff for starters,” Hall said. “But just the fact I had to play three holes against a great player in Nick, in front of his home crowd, that wasn't easy. But I dealt with it well and played some good golf.”
With the win, Hall earned 500 points and rose from 94th to 17th on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List. Even with the odds of a PGA TOUR card at season’s end significantly increased, Hall soaked in the moment, not wanting to look too far down the road.
“I think no matter the outcome today, I was grateful to be playing in the (penultimate) group,” Hall said. “I was grateful for my life off the course, and whatever happened today I was in a good mindset to come off the golf course and still be me, and to play next week and still hit that first tee shot next Thursday.”