He knew that birdies on two of his final three would most likely get him into a playoff, but McCormick had been through the ringer of Monday qualifiers long enough to know that, if possible, a playoff is always to be avoided.
With that in mind, the 2014 St. John's graduate birdied 16, 17 and 18 on his way to posting an eight-under 64 and earning a spot in the field at Sawgrass.
That marvelous Monday finish kick-started what has been the most successful stretch of McCormick's professional career. After shooting a two-over 72 on the first day of the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass, the tour's first event after the coronavirus hiatus, he carded a Friday 65 before going 69-69 on the weekend to finish T-14.
That effort earned him a spot in the following week's field at the King & Bear Classic in St. Augustine, where the 2014 Big East Individual Champion posted his best finish on the Korn Ferry Tour, tying for sixth after shooting an opening round 65.
After lackluster finishes in Utah and Colorado, McCormick and the rest of the Korn Ferry Tour descended upon San Antonio for a two-week swing. In the first event, the New Jersey native matched his best ever finish with another T-6, propelling him to 42nd on the tour's points list.
During a typical year, the top 25 finishers on the final regular season list earn promotion to the PGA Tour.
“After having this break from COVID I felt I would have an opportunity with some people taking it easy and maybe not being as sharp as possible coming back,” McCormick said. “I just happened to qualify for the first event back, and played well enough to get a few other good finishes and now I'm here."
Since turning pro in the spring of 2014 following NCAA regionals, McCormick has made his rounds on the PGA Tour's developmental circuits. The 2014 Big East Golfer of the Year began his professional career on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada, where he made 11 starts and reached the weekend five times with one top-10 finish.
He has since traveled to a number of places, including both Europe and Asia, where in 2017 he played in nine tour events, making four cuts, and earning a start on the Korean Tour.
"It's been a pretty wild last six years," McCormick said. "I have been to some places I never thought I would be. I had a lot of cool life experiences and got some exposure to some pretty high-level golf."
While golf has brought him to the globe's most far-reaching corners, McCormick remembers St. John's as one of the places that helped hone his game the most.
"I draw from those experiences all the time," McCormick said. "I think that is how I got better, getting my butt kicked by a lot of the older guys on the team. I learned from that, and from them."
In addition to growing his golf game, St. John's brought McCormick many great memories, including the program’s first Big East championship since 1989.
"Winning the Big East championship my senior year was really cool, because that was always our goal every year," McCormick said. "All the guys that I played with, we are all still connected and stay in touch regularly, so it's nice."
With the PGA Tour effectively freezing its membership due to COVID-19 and delaying promotion from the Korn Ferry Tour, McCormick, who is in his first season with full Korn Ferry status, has managed to keep a positive mindset
"I thought it was a great thing personally because of all the perks of being a member," said McCormick. "Knowing that I have all this opportunity to play my way in over two years. I am trying to take advantage of the opportunity."
McCormick, who has played every week since the tour's restart in June, doesn't plan to take any time off from his game in the near future and is using this season to continue to grow.
In Springfield, Missouri, McCormick posted an opening round 77 before firing off a Friday 65 to nearly make the cut at the Price Cutter Charity Championship, but fell two shots shy of the number required to see the weekend.
Another former Johnnie who McCormick has looked up to during his pro career, Andrew Svoboda, also finished the event at two-under. Svoboda, a 2003 St. John's graduate and three-time winner on the Korn Ferrym Tour finished T-2nd at the event a year ago.
Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by the St. John’s Athletic Department.