Aaron Wise, the former NCAA individual champion from Oregon, had his breakthrough victory in Dallas a year ago, outdueling the far more experienced Marc Leishman on Sunday to win by three strokes. Wise then went onto win PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
Now 22-years-old, Wise has found his sophomore season on the Tour a bit more difficult, as he has yet to contend in a single event this year, and his high finish was a T10 in Mexico last November.
However, he is coming off back-to-back respectable performances: a T17 at The Masters and a T18 at last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, giving hope that he could become the AT&T Byron Nelson’s first back-to-back champion since Tom Watson pulled off the feat in 1979 and 1980, 16 years before Wise was even born.
“The game is good, you know. It’s feeling great. It hasn’t been maybe the most stellar year for me to this point but feel like I’m really trending well, feel like I had a great finish at the Masters, really got things going that weekend, jumped up the leaderboard a bunch and then continued that into last week and played really strong,” said Wise.
“If I putted the way I normally do I would have had a good chance of winning that tournament and it wasn’t meant to be but the game feels in a great spot coming here this week.”
If he can post three rounds of 65 or better like he did a year ago, his chances will be very good.