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Bud Cauley's inspiring comeback takes the lead at Cognizant Classic, Rory McIlroy in pursuit

Posted : 02 March 2024

At the midway point of the Cognizant Classic in Florida, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy trails American leader Bud Cauley by three shots. Cauley, ranked 1,258th globally, is participating in only his second PGA Tour event since September 2020 due to injury setbacks following a car accident in 2018.


A flawless round of 65 at PGA National propelled the 33-year-old to 11 under, while McIlroy, the world number two, delivered a consistent performance with a second consecutive four-under-par 67, placing him at eight under.


The leaderboard also features Americans Austin Eckroat and South African Garrick Higgo at 10 under, along with Englishman David Skinns and Ireland's Shane Lowry, both tied with McIlroy at eight under.


Despite McIlroy's steady play, the spotlight remains on Cauley's remarkable comeback. Playing on a medical exemption after enduring six broken ribs, a collapsed right lung, and a fractured left leg in the 2018 crash, Cauley faced complications in late 2020, leading to additional surgeries. Returning to the Korn Ferry Tour in January with encouraging results, he made his PGA Tour comeback at last month's Phoenix Open, finishing 65th.


Reflecting on his journey, Cauley expressed gratitude for overcoming doubts about his career's continuation, emphasizing the joy in competing well after persistent efforts. As play resumes in Palm Beach Gardens, the tournament unfolds with anticipation surrounding Cauley's inspiring resurgence.


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