Eckroat becomes fifth OJGT grad to win on PGA Tour, elicits praise from around the state

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By Ken MacLeod

No one was beaming brighter than Morri Rose when Austin Eckroat closed out the Cognizant  Classic Monday for his first PGA Tour victory with a display of brilliant ball striking and solid clutch putting. Unless it was his former college coach Alan Bratton.

Morri Rose

Eckroat shot a final-round 4-under 67 to win the weather-delayed event by three shots over Erik van Rooven and Min Woo Lee, collecting $1.62 million in the process, along with an invite his first Masters and PGA Tour status for the next two years. It was Eckroat’s first victory of any kind since winning at Okahoma State in 2019.

For Rose, the founder of the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour in 2000, it was the fifth OJGT graduate he has had the immense pleasure of watching win on the PGA Tour. The others were Kevin Tway, Robert Streb, Talor Gooch and Taylor Moore.

“I’m just so proud of him,” said Rose, who retired as executive director of the tour prior to the 2023 season. “The way he performed today and the whole week was incredible. Austin has always been a great player and now he’s figured out how to win. You could just tell watching him today, he’s become a man and played like a man.”

Eckroat burst on the state scene by winning the Class 6A state championship as a freshman at Edmond North. He won it again as a senior before an All-American career at Oklahoma State, where he was a mainstay alongside Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff. The 2018 national championship team also boasted Kris Ventura, who this weekend finished second on the Korn Ferry Tour, and Brendon Jelley, who tied for fourth in the same event in Argentina, along with pros Zach Bauchou, Sam Stevens, and Hayden Wood

Alan Bratton

“Austin has proven he’s a special player for a long time,” said Bratton. “He’s been destined for a day like today for many years. From winning the state high school as a freshmen, to his performance at the U.S. Junior Amateur (medalist in 2017), to winning his second event as a college player, to now. He’s been on a solid trajectory of improvement.

“We couldn’t be prouder of him and happier for him and his family. I can’t want to see what he does next.”

Eckroat finished second by a shot to Jason Day at the 2023 AT&T Bryon Nelson and was in contention through two rounds early this year in Hawaii, but the way he closed out the Cognizant Classic made it look like he is poised to join Streb as the only two-time PGA Tour winner among the OJGT grads.

“I don’t think my mark is going to last long,” Streb texted today. “We’ve got some great young talent in the state.”

Jay Doudican, the director of GHIN services for the Oklahoma Golf Association, is in the camp that this will not be Eckroat’s only PGA Tour win.

Jay Doudican

“It was amazing watching him today and he’s probably going to win a lot more,” Doudican said. “And it was great to showcase the OJGT and Oklahoma and the level of play we have here.”

Eckroat belongs to both Oak Tree National in Edmond and recently joined Gaillardia in Oklahoma City as well so he has good greens of both the Bermuda and bent varieties on which to practice.

“Everyone here is very excited for him,” said Oak Tree National  President and COO Tom Jones.  “He’s a great guy.”

Who could be the next OJGT grad to join Eckroat and the others as a PGA Tour winner? Sam Stevens is the only PGA Tour member and OJGT graduate for 2024 who has yet to win. On the Korn Ferry Tour are Jelley, Max McGreevy (who has twice had his PGA Tour card and still has some status), Logan McAllister and Quade Cummins while Streb and Tway are playing this season on both tours.

Beyond that, there are some great young Oklahomans in the college ranks now and more next year. Three fifths of Oklahoma’s starting lineup as it won the Southern Highlands Collegiate last week were OJGT grads in Drew Goodman, Jaxon Dowell and Ryder Cowan. All were inspired by Eckroat Monday.

PGA Tour victories by Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour graduates

Robert Streb: 2015 McGladry Classic, 2020 RSM Classic.

Kevin Tway, 2018 Safeway Open

Talor Gooch, 2021 RSM Classic, three wins on LIV Golf

Taylor Moore, 2023 Valspar Championship

Austin Eckroat, 2024 Cognizant Classic


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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source