Now, just six months later, the 28-year-old is a Tour winner after carding a final-round 5-under 65 at Club de Golf de Panama to come from six strokes back and pick up his first professional win at the Panama Championship.
The momentum of Langley’s round began when he saved par on the par-4 seventh with a 10-foot putt. He then rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on the next, as well as another 20-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 ninth.
The University of Illinois alum made the turn at 3-under for the day, 5-under for the tournament, and suddenly realized there was a chance he would be walking off the 18th green with a trophy in his hands for the first time since winning the 2010 NCAA Individual Championship.
“I looked at the leaderboard at that point and thought, ‘You know, these guys are playing great, but this course is tough and anything can happen,’” Langley recalled. “I was fortunate to be in the group that I was, because there was a little less of the spotlight on me, and I felt like I could just go out there under the radar and post a great round, and I was able to do that.
“It wasn’t easy. I still had to go and do it. But to do it that way and play this good on Sunday when it meant everything is really special.”
Langley’s come-from-behind victory is the largest in tournament history, surpassing Miguel Angel Carballo’s five-stroke rally from 2007. He also became the first player in tournament history to record an over-par score in the opening round and go on to win the tournament.
Additionally, Langley’s victory was the first on Tour by a First Tee program graduate. With his record-breaking victory came $112,500, enough to move Langley to No. 3 on the money list.
“To do this this early in the year is nice,” Langley commented. “To be in this position going forward, to hopefully get back to where when I’m feeling well I can compete on the PGA TOUR, to be in that position now is very gratifying.
“I worked my butt off this winter and put a lot of time and thought into my game, and it’s so nice to see it pay off this early in the season.”
The Sea Island, Georgia, resident’s last full season on the PGA TOUR came in 2015-16. He made 10 cuts in 22 events, carding four top-25 finishes in the process, including a T11 at the Puerto Rico Open at Coco Beach. Langley finished the season playing the Web.com Tour Finals and then spent the entirety of 2017 on Tour, where he recorded four top-25 finishes in 24 starts.
Puerto Rico native Rafael Campos finished the day two strokes behind Langley, carding his second top-five finish of the 2018 season. Tied with Campos was Tour veteran Edward Loar, who picked up his first top-10 finish on Tour since 2013.