The city of La Canada Flintridge sits at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in eastern Los Angeles, a community best known as the site of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and more notoriously, for dangerous wildfires that occasionally roar through the bone-dry hills.
Just down the street from the Jet Lab and up the freeway from Pasadena’s Rose Bowl is La Canada High School. Its notable alums include actors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and an Olympic luger. It also has produced a couple of pretty decent golfers.
Collin Morikawa was eight years behind David Lipsky in school, and their professional career paths have been wildly different, but their trajectories crossed like rare comets on a mid-July Sunday afternoon.
While the 23-year-old Morikawa was securing his second PGA Tour victory in his rookie season in the Workday Charity Open in Ohio, beating Justin Thomas in a playoff, Lipsky, 31, notched his first triumph on the Korn Ferry Tour in San Antonio, Texas.
Lipsky’s victory wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking, as he capped a tremendous scoring week with seven birdies and a six-under-par 66 in the final round to capture the TPC San Antonio Challenge at 25 under. His closest pursuer, Canadian Taylor Pendrith, finished four strokes back.
The path to victory was spurred in Saturday’s third round, when Lipsky recorded 10 birdies and an eagle in firing a 62 that matched Fred Couples’ competitive course record.
Lipsky said after lifting the trophy that he and Morikawa grew up playing the same home course and are regularly in touch. In fact, they texted each other over the weekend with encouraging words.
“We both told each other to take care of business today,” Lipsky said. “And I just saw he won in a playoff, which is pretty amazing.”
It was Lipsky’s first significant win as a pro in the United States. A Northwestern grad, he has made his mark in other parts of the world, winning twice on both the European Tour and the Asian Tour. His most recent triumph was a two-shot win in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa in December 2018.
Lipsky has never held unconditional status on either the PGA Tour or Korn Ferry, and in eight previous starts this year on the Korn Ferry he’d posted one top-10 finish and missed three of the last four cuts.
He made five starts on the PGA Tour last season, with a T-10 in the WGC-Mexico Championship as his best finish.
“This is where I want to play,” Lipsky said. “I’ve always wanted to come back and play in the United States. Obviously, this is home.”