Pro reprises cadie role in Korn Ferry event
HUNTSVILLE – Brad Story had such a good time with his one-time caddying experience in 2022 at what was then the Korn Ferry Tour’s Huntsville Championship, he’s back for a second go-around.
HomeTown Lenders Championship
What: Korn Ferry Tour event
When: April 27-30
Where: The Ledges, Huntsville
Tickets: $11.75 per day.
Last year’s one-tournament gig turned into a three-week run as his loop for the week – Harrison Endycott – ended up winning the tournament. After the win, Endycott asked Story to stay on the bag for stops in Nashville and Knoxville. The brief partnership didn’t end with any other wins, but it did result in a close friendship between Huntsville Country Club’s director of golf and Endycott, now a rookie on the PGA Tour.
This week, Brad Story will be carrying the bag for Rico Hoey at the HomeTown Lenders Championship at The Ledges. Story was asked by a mutual friend of the two if he wanted to caddie for Hoey, and even though he’s still rehabbing from a recent surgery he agreed to sign on for the week.
“Hopefully it will end well for us,” Story said recently.
The HomeTown Lenders Championship begins Thursday at The Ledges.
Asked to loop for Filipino golfer this year
Story’s opportunity last year came at the request of The Ledges director of golf Rob Clark, who needed caddies for the week. Story signed up as a favor to Clark, but as the tournament wore on, the Endycott-Story pairing proved to be popular, given Story’s local ties.
“It ranks pretty high in my golf experiences,” Story said. “At times I felt like I was being cheered for more than Harrison, which was kind of embarrassing and I kind of didn’t want to acknowledge it. But it was really cool.
“I guess if you can’t play on that that stage and have that experience as a player, walking inside the ropes as a caddie was the next best thing,” he continued. “It definitely is one of those memories and moments that I have thought about often and cherish in terms of golf experiences.”
Story isn’t totally unfamiliar with Hoey, having met him at the first Korn Ferry tournament in Huntsville in 2021. An injury sidelined Hoey in 2022, but he is recovered now and has been playing well this season on the Korn Ferry Tour.
He was 10th on the KFT points list before missing the cut in last week’s event, but the 27-year-old native of the Philippines owns four top-10 finishes this season.
Caddying for Hoey and walking throughout the week will be the first big test for Story after undergoing leg surgery last fall. He wasn’t sure he even wanted to do it again – after all, his guy won last year and there’s no place else to go but down. He also wasn’t expecting to be requested to caddie this year.
“That’s kind of a cool thing,” he said. “I’m a little nervous about walking the course with my recent surgery – will I have the stamina to do it five or six days in a row? What type of pain will I be in?”
Recent leg surgery poses a challenge
Story continues to recover from a rare surgery called “leg lengthening” to repair a football injury from when he was a youth.
“I broke my leg – my femur, my growth plate in my knee, my knee cap,” he said. “It caused my left leg to be an inch shorter than my right leg. In turn, that caused me some hip issues and that caused me some back pain.”
Story said the injury “is probably why I could never play any type of competitive golf.”
“I would have loved to have been doing what these guys are doing,” Story said. “I couldn’t walk and play golf – that was the biggest thing. After years of searching, I finally found a doctor here in Huntsville that was willing to do a surgery.”
Story called the procedure “one of the most painful surgeries and experiences I have had in my life. It was rough.”
The surgery requires the femur to be cut in half and a rod inserted.
“I had to lengthen it a millimeter a day for 24 days,” he said. “It was not pleasant. I am six months out of having that surgery and have only been playing golf again since March. It has been a long journey.”
Story will approach this week’s caddie role much like he did with Endycott, letting Hoey do his own thing and only offering advice when asked. It wasn’t until the second hole off the tournament a year ago when Endycott asked Story to read a tough putt – and he made it – that the trust factor between the two kicked into full gear. From then on, they discussed almost every shot.
Eventually, Endycott walked off as a winner and onto to the PGA Tour. It’s a story Brad Story hopes repeats this week for Hoey in Huntsville.
Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News
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Featured image of Brad Story by Gregg Dewalt