For Nebraska grad Brandon Crick, everything clicked during runner-up finish at Ellie Mae Classic

“If I have three really good weeks, I’ll be on the PGA Tour, which obviously is a lifelong dream,” McCook resident and Husker graduate Brandon Crick said. “It feels like a new side of life after what was a downward slide in July.”

A complete week of golf has completely changed Brandon Crick’s pro career.

All season, the McCook resident and Husker graduate had been close to putting everything together on a Korn Ferry Tour tournament. When he was hitting the ball well, the short game wasn’t there. And vice versa.

But last weekend in Hayward, California, both showed up and nearly propelled him to a win. The runner-up finish at the Ellie Mae Classic gave him new opportunities — for the end of this year and all of 2020 — and some confidence.

“I saw it coming, but I was at a point where I was getting a little discouraged,” Crick said from Portland, Oregon, where the final event of the tour’s regular season starts Thursday.

“It was a nice week when I felt all my hard work came together and clicked in the same week. I had maybe a couple minor mistakes but I was hitting it well, chipping it well, putting it well.”

By finishing second, Crick vaulted from 155th to 62nd on the season points list. He is a lock to be in the tour finals, which are three tournaments for the top 75 from the Korn Ferry Tour and players Nos. 126 to 200 in regular-season FedEx Cup points on the PGA Tour. Those who finish in the top 25 in points in the finals join the PGA Tour in 2019-20.

“If I have three really good weeks, I’ll be on the PGA Tour, which obviously is a lifelong dream,” he said. “It feels like a new side of life after what was a downward slide in July.”

At the worst, he’ll be a full-time member of the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 for the first time.

For someone who had been without a top-10 finish in the tour, a third-round 62 at Hayward got Crick into the hunt. The final-round leaders pairing was a first for him.

He dropped back with a double-bogey on the eighth hole — a bad lie in a fairway bunker led to a punch-out that rolled into a divot, and the ensuing shot ended up in an awkward lie next to a bunker. But Crick put pressure on eventual winner Zac Blair with birdies on holes 14, 15 and 17.

“I didn’t realize how close it was until I’d hit my second shot on 18,” Crick said. “I’m one shot back and have a great shot to tie.”

Blair had a 40-footer from the back of the green that he lagged to 3 feet. Crick, who said the final round was “way out of my comfort zone,” then tried a 30-footer for the tie.

“I don’t know if it was nerves, or what, and there were nerves, but I ended up leaving it 4- or 5-feet short,” he said. “I had a good second putt for solo second, and after that it was pretty crazy.

“Obviously, you want to win a golf tournament, but I had a great chance to tie and force a playoff that you could win. I think I still accomplished a good goal of getting to the playoffs.”