Former Fayetteville High School and University of Arkansas golfer Luke Long won his first professional tournament on Friday when he won the 52nd Texas State Open hosted by the Northern Texas PGA at the Cascades Club in Tyler, in Texas.
Long, 24, held off a late charge from Sam Fidone of Irving, Texas to win the event in four rounds at 15 under par and pocket the winner’s check for $40,000.
Fidone shot a 28 on the back nine to cap a round of 63 on the 6,882-yard, par-70 course. Long had just birdied the 15th that put him at 16 under. He returned a hit with a bogey at 18, but he had that cushion after playing partner Joel Thelen’s birdie putt at 17. Thelen, of Lansing, Mich., birdied No. 18 to tie Fidone for the second place.
Long, who won the Blessings Collegiate Invitational at Johnson last October, said he has upped his game.
“Everything falls into place at the right time,” he said. “Some of the things that I had struggled with over the last four or five years of my college career, I really started to iron out, especially in my short game.
“It’s always been a bit of my weakest link. But now it’s one of the strongest parts of my game, keeping me in tournaments. I feel really good about where my career is at. This win will help me financially to move on, a kind of sigh of relief.”
Long was strong on Thursday’s moving day with an 8-under 62 to take the lead over second-round leader Ryan Grider of Oklahoma City.
“Round [Thursday] It was awesome,” Long said. “That’s my career low for any tournament. Putting on for me went well.
“I was just hammering with the mid irons all day and getting a lot of nice looks from 12-20ft and just kept pouring them. …I hung all day , I bid my time and cashed in when I could and got everything I could from the round.”
Long, a two-time Arkansas Amateur winner (2018, 2021), said the next phase of his career is qualifying school for the Korn Ferry Tournament in late August in Lantana, Texas, just northwest of Dallas. .