Illinois golf produces some great players, and we get to see these talented golfers every weekend on the PGA Tour.
Throughout the years, the main name many Illini golf fans knew was Steve Striker. The 2017 Illinois athletics Hall of Famer was tremendous on the PGA Tour and still tees it up on the Champions Tour to the day. But there is a new fresh crop of talented former Illinois golfers on the tour.
Thomas Pieters has probably been the most successful. He continues to don leaderboards week in and week out. He also finished just outside the medal stand in the 2016 Olympics, finishing in fourth place at -4.
While Pieters has been the most successful former Illinois golfer over the past few years, Nick Hardy is right behind him ready to take on the role.
Former Illinois golf star Nick Hardy is making his presence known on the PGA Tour.
Hardy was one of the best golfers on the Illinois golf team during his time in Champaign. He was poised to be a great golfer post-Illinois career, and we get a taste of that during the 2015 US Open when Hardy would qualify and finish in a tie for 57th at Chambers Bay.
After his stop at Illinois, Hardy would be a staple on the Korn Ferry Tour. He would consistently finish toward the top of the leaderboard, and after the 2020-21 season, Hardy found himself in the top 25 on the points list. This enabled him to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season.
Would having a PGA Tour card be too much for Hardy? Not at all. The first tournament with the new status resulted in a tie for 36th at the Fortinet Championship. This kicked off what would be a great season for the future PGA superstar.
So far, Hardy has made the cut in 12 out of the 19 events he has played. He has four top 25 finishes and even finished in the top 10 one time.
Heading into this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, Hardy had made seven consecutive cuts which included the US Open where he would finish in a tie for 14th. Sadly, that great run of cut-making came to an end as Hardy would finish +2 and miss the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
This was still a great run by Hardy. It is hard to make a cut on the PGA Tour, but he has consistently made them and has been a staple on the weekend this year.
It does look like Hardy will be just outside of the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list. But the future is still extremely bright. Look for Hardy to be a name on the leaderboard in big tournaments for years to come.