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Former OU star Abraham Ancer still hasn't won, but he keeps getting closer

Abraham Ancer reacts to his putt on the 18th green during the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links. [Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports]
Abraham Ancer reacts to his putt on the 18th green during the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links. [Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports]

He’s as smooth on the course as the silky tequila he’s associated with, and while Abraham Ancer hasn’t broken through on the PGA Tour for a victory just yet, it certainly feels like it’s just a matter of time.

On Sunday, Ancer fell a single stroke shy of becoming the fifth consecutive player to earn first Tour win at RBC Heritage when his putt on the 72nd hole came up just short of forcing a playoff with Webb Simpson.

How good was Ancer on Hilton Head Island? The University of Oklahoma product hit a career-best 65 of 72 greens in regulation, the most by any player at this event since 1980. That’s right, he only missed seven greens all week long en route to a $773,900 payday.

Yet he came up just short again, and now holds the unenviable position of being the highest-ranked player on the Official World Golf Rankings without a win on either the PGA or European Tour. The Reynosa, Mexico, product is currently 24th on the OWGR (and 17th on the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings).

Second-place finishes are wearing on Ancer, but he feels like the winning formula is in place.

“It’s tough, especially like this week, when I felt like I was right there during the weekend, hitting it even more than enough to win. That’s just golf. You’ve just got to keep trying,” he said. “I’m not going to change anything or work on anything. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, and I think that will eventually happen.”

Ancer, who founded a new tequila company named Fletcha Azul with partner Aron Marquez, struggled in his first four events after making the Tour Championship at the end of last season, starting his 2019-20 PGA Tour campaign with a pair of missed cuts and then a T-57 and T-41.

But then he got hot, finishing T-4 at the WGC-HSBC Champions and T-8 two weeks later at Mayakoba. Ancer followed by tying Sungjae Im for most points for the Internationals at the Presidents Cup, earning 3.5 points via a 3-1-1 record with his only loss coming against Tiger Woods.

He was second at the American Express back in January and got out of the gates strong during the recent season restart, finishing T-14 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

And with a compacted schedule on the horizon, Ancer thinks he’s in the right position to finally break through and get that elusive first victory.

“I mean, there’s a lot of big tournaments, coming up, which I enjoy,” he said. “There’s some golf courses that are, I mean, this one’s usually tough, but it played a lot easier this year for some reason, softer, I guess. I prefer tough golf courses for some reason, and a lot of them that I enjoy.”

Leading the field in strokes gained approaching the green like he did at Harbour Town certainly should help as he chases that first Tour win.

“A lot of positives,” Ancer said, “and looking forward to what is ahead of me.”

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