Pro leaving tour life to take job with Ping makes 4 late birdies in Phoenix to put bow on incredible week

Jim Knous played in his first PGA Tour event at TPC Scottsdale seven years ago. He gained entry into the field that week as a Monday qualifier. This week, he played in what he’s said is likely his last PGA Tour event—his 44th—because it’s time for him to get a regular job. Yes, he gained entry into the WM Phoenix Open this week as a Monday qualifier.

Knous, 34, starts a job with Ping in two weeks as a club fitter and education engineer. He’s been told he has a cubicle waiting for him. He’s excited about that.

He’s also excited about his play in the Phoenix Open after a second-round 66 helped him make the cut, then followed that with 70-68 to finish the week at eight under par and tied for 28th place. The finish is good for a payday of $53,000.

Speaking of good, Knous produced many memorable moments over the week with his family tracing most every step with him. During the second round he holed a bunker shot on the 18th hole for birdie. On Sunday during the final round, Knous was one over on the day through 12 holes, but made four birdies over the last six holes—including birdies on both 17 and 18—to shoot 68.

“Yeah, got on a little heater there,” Knous said. “That was fun … I couldn’t ask for much more, to be honest.”

Knous, who attended college at Colorado School of Mines and lives in Littleton, Colo., started his heater with a two-putt par on the par-5 13th hole, then drained a 48-footer for birdie on the par-4 14th hole. After pars on the next two holes he had a kick-in birdie on 17, then made a six-footer to close out the round on the 18th hole.

The highest-ever ranking for Knous was 414th in 2019 after he tied for 13th place at the Wells Fargo Championship. His best finish on the PGA Tour was a 10th-place tie at the 2018 Safeway Open. He also played in 85 Korn Ferry Tour events in his career with two fourth-place ties his best finishes on that tour in 2018.

Now it’s time to move onto his new job with Ping, which begins Feb. 26. But he will still attempt to remain competitive, just not at the PGA Tour level.

“What can I take from this moving on? I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll keep playing. Obviously, I’m going to try to play in the PGA section, the PGA of America, and go that route, keep the competitive itch that way, play all that, all those events once I transfer my membership.

“Professional golf is incredible. It’s hectic, it’s hard, it’s trying at times, but what a great week this was.”

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