Life as a pro golfer has not been a steady ascent for Bronson Burgoon, and he'll be the first to tell you.

After holing out one of the most famous shots in college golf to help Texas A&M win the 2009 national title, Burgoon needed five more years to make it to full-time Tour status. He earned a PGA Tour card for the first time in 2016, but quickly earned a return trip to the developmental circuit.

"I wasn't very good a few years ago. I wasn't ready to win, I wasn't able to win," Burgoon told reporters at the CIMB Classic. "Last year I feel like I banged on the door a couple times. Last year I was close, but definitely needed to get a little bit better."

Burgoon appeared in line for more of the same last year before turning things around over the summer. A T-6 finish at the Quicken Loans National, where he played the final round alongside Tiger Woods, earned him a spot at The Open. A runner-up at the John Deere Classic soon followed.

Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Thanks in large part to a timely T-11 finish at the first playoff event, Burgoon went from worrying about keeping his card to earning a spot in this week's limited field in Malaysia, where 78 players are teeing it up in a no-cut event. And after one round, they're all chasing Burgoon, who vaulted into the lead with a 9-under 63 at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

"It was boring golf, but that's always a good thing," Burgoon said. "I chipped in for eagle out of the bunker on my ninth hole, which kind of boosted me, then I kept going."

Burgoon admitted that he was "pretty rusty" at last week's season-opening Safeway Open, where he tied for 53rd. But he managed to sneak into Wednesday's pro-am field after a long flight to Malaysia and felt things starting to click. Now he's at the top of a leaderboard that includes the likes of Justin Thomas and Louis Oosthuizen, hoping to turn an unexpected opportunity into a breakthrough win.

"I just want to be in contention coming into Sundays," Burgoon said. "The more times I can knock on that door, the better. Really try to get my first win, which would be great."

Burgoon (63) eyes breakthrough win at CIMB
SEO Headline
Bronson Burgoon (63) Eyes Breakthrough Win at CIMB Classic
Use Video Thumbnail
Section Lead Story