By Hagan Parkman, PGATOUR.COM
ARLINGTON, Texas – Two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner Shawn Stefani played his last four holes at 5-under par at Texas Rangers Golf Club Thursday afternoon, taking the outright 36-hole lead at the Veritex Bank Championship. Playing in his home state, Stefani’s birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie finish on the back nine moved him to 14-under par for the tournament, one stroke ahead of Chase Parker.
Stefani’s fantastic finish, highlighted by a chip-in eagle at the par-4 16th, solidified an 8-under 63, tying his second-lowest round in PGA TOUR-sanctioned play. In 770 previous rounds (587 and on the PGA TOUR, 183 on the Korn Ferry Tour), Stefani’s career-low round was a 9-under 62 in the third round of the 2012 Miccosukee Championship, which propelled him to his second Korn Ferry Tour win. Thursday’s round also marked his fourth round of 63 or better in PGA TOUR-sanctioned play, and his first since a 9-under 63 at the PGA TOUR’s 2015 The American Express.
Although Stefani holds his first 36-hole lead in a Korn Ferry Tour event, the 40-year-old Texan previously held a 36-hole lead on the PGA TOUR at the 2013 Valspar Championship, where he eventually finished T7.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work on my golf swing this year and I’ve seen a lot of improvement and a lot of things that are starting to go my way,” said Stefani, a Houston resident who began working with University of Houston Director of Golf Jonathan Dismuke this year. “I tried to change my mindset this week, to just try and be a little more patient, and I did and it’s helped.”
Stefani began the day three strokes behind outright leader MJ Daffue, a fellow Lamar University alum, and played his first eight holes at even par with two birdies (Nos. 4 and 7) and two bogeys (Nos. 3 and 8). The Baytown, Texas native reached the par-5 ninth in two and made his eagle putt to turn at 2-under par. Stefani added birdies at the par-5 10th and par-3 12th, but dropped a stroke at the par-4 14th.
“I was really struggling with my swing towards the middle of the round and I just kept fighting and staying patient,” Stefani said. “I made one good swing on the par 3 (No. 15) and said ‘Oh, okay, there it is,’ then stuck with that swing thought, then just let it go after that. I chipped one in on No. 16 for eagle, hit two great shots on No. 17 and three great shots on No. 18, so it’s nice when what you’re trying to do happens.”
Stefani turned professional out of Lamar University in 2005, playing mostly mini-tours until earning Korn Ferry Tour membership via PGA TOUR Q-School in December 2011. As a Korn Ferry Tour rookie in 2012, Stefani won the AdventHealth Championship and Miccosukee Championship as he finished sixth on the 2012 money list and earned a PGA TOUR card.
Playing the last nine seasons on the PGA TOUR, Stefani recorded 12 top-10s, including runner-up finishes at the 2014 Quicken Loans National and 2014 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. He also made three consecutive FedExCup Playoffs appearances from 2014 through 2016.
Stefani fell to the Korn Ferry Tour after a rocky 2020-21 PGA TOUR season ended with nine missed cuts in 11 starts, which left him 241st in the FedExCup Standings. Playing out of the “Former Fully Exempt PGA TOUR Member” category on the Korn Ferry Tour this season, Stefani has four missed cuts and finishes of T56 and T57 in six starts thus far.
“I can’t say, mentally, that I’ve been my best, but the last couple of weeks I’ve really tried to focus more on the mental side of things,” Stefani said. “I feel like I was doing some good stuff, but getting in my own way… playing well, then making some mistakes, mentally not being committed or trusting my golf swing. I’ve tried to change the mindset to just come out here and play golf, try not to be perfect. It’s funny, but when you have that mindset of acceptance, great things usually happen, and great things have happened the last couple of days.”
Third-round pairings will run from 7:20 a.m. through 1:12 p.m. local time off the first tee.
ABOUT KORN FERRY TOUR
Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Korn Ferry Tour identifies and develops those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. In 2013, the Korn Ferry Tour became The Path to the PGA TOUR with all 50 available PGA TOUR cards coming through the Tour and the season culminating at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. This season marks the 31st year of competition on the Korn Ferry Tour. Three out of four PGA TOUR members are Korn Ferry Tour alumni. Tour alumni have won more than 500 PGA TOUR titles, including 24 major championships and eight PLAYERS Championships. To learn more about the PGA TOUR, the Korn Ferry Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM, or follow the Tour on social media via Instagram (@KornFerryTour), Twitter (@KornFerryTour) and Facebook (facebook.com/KornFerryTour).
ABOUT KORN FERRY
Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. And, we help professionals navigate and advance their careers.
ABOUT VERITEX COMMUNITY BANK
Veritex Community Bank is dedicated to be the best bank in Texas. Veritex takes pride in being a community bank with local decisions. Specializing in business banking, commercial loans, small business lending, treasury management and mortgages. Veritex takes the time to get to know you and your specific needs and provide you the expert banking advice you seek.
What does it mean to be honest-to-goodness banking experts? It means you get exceptional customer service, smart banking choices and the peace of mind that comes with knowing Veritex is invested in you and your community. From over 40 banking centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, the greater Houston area, Louisville, KY and surrounding areas as well as a local home mortgage office in Dallas, Veritex is the community bank with a difference because they’re making a difference in the community.
ABOUT ANERA SPORTS, LLC.
Founded in 2018 by the past executive director of the Texas Golf Association and TGA Foundation, Rob Addington, Anera has quickly established a presence in the golf community. Anera provides event management services to some of the top amateur championships in the country and operates the business of several amateur golf associations including the Trans-Miss Golf Association and the Amateur Golf Alliance. Anera also provides consulting services to corporations, clubs and tournaments in the strategic planning, management and implementation of sports related initiatives. Anera has created and managed championships at some of the top ranked clubs in the country and is dedicated to providing a first class experience for all parties. Anera is headquartered in Dallas, TX.