Lee Hodges takes home KFT’s Portland Open title, earns U.S. Open start

Lee Hodges is thrilled to have won the Korn Ferry Tour’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz. And he’s even more excited about the doors it might open.

With a steady 71 highlighted by a birdie putt on the tournament’s final hole, Hodges won at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon, but just as important, he’s now among the top five Korn Ferry Tour point leaders, meaning he has qualified for this year’s U.S. Open.

“It’s pretty cool because I didn’t feel like I had my best game this week,” Hodges said. “I mean, I played well, but like I didn’t feel like I was just like clicking on all cylinders and to get a win doing that is pretty special. I didn’t think I would be as nervous as I was last night, but I didn’t sleep a lot last night. You know I kind of tossed and turned.”

Hodges, a University of Alabama alum, was tied for the lead after 54 holes with Paul Barjon. Hodges opened the final round with a bogey but settled in after hitting a 30-foot putt on No. 2 for birdie.

“I played really nice golf,” he said. “I played proper golf which was nice to do on a Sunday when you’re leading. I didn’t take too many risks.”

Barjon, meanwhile, had a pair of double-bogeys on the front and made the turn at 39. He did claw back into contention down the stretch and finished in a tie for second with David Lipsky, Carl Yuan and Chad Ramey.

For Hodges, the opportunity to play Winged Foot this year at the U.S. Open — spots opened up when the USGA determined it couldn’t hold qualifiers — is a special one.

“It’s pretty great,” Hodges said. “It’ll be special, for sure. I’ve always admired the U.S. Open, the way you have to play out there — it’s proper golf. And I like to think I play a lot of proper golf, so hopefully go and play well.”

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