KORN FERRY TOUR STORYLINES – 8.26.20
What You Need to Know
- Luck wins Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
- Power Rankings: Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance
- Inside the Field: Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance
CURTIS LUCK BREAKS THROUGH AT NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Australian Curtis Luck had not had a whole lot of luck this year entering last week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. The 24-year-old made just four of 11 cuts and had yet to register a top-15 finish. In fact, he missed his three previous cuts and had dropped to 145th in the points standings.
But Luck proved it can sometimes just take one week. He carded rounds of 68-66-68-71 to hold on for a one-stroke victory in Columbus, his first on the Korn Ferry Tour in his 44th start, and moved up to 18th in the standings in the process. The Orlando resident previously graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour through the 2018 Finals and competed on the PGA TOUR during the 2018-19 season.
KORN FERRY TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES CONCLUDES AT VICTORIA NATIONAL
This week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will cap the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series. With one of the richest histories on the Korn Ferry Tour, the tournament continues to provide a high-stakes backdrop for players at heralded Victoria National Golf Club.
This week will mark the 27th edition of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, the first of which was won by David Duval at age 21 before his 13 PGA TOUR titles and Open Championship victory in 2001. Stewart Cink, Steve Flesch, Nick Watney, Matt Every and Chesson Hadley are just a few of the past champions who went on to have great success on TOUR.
Last year was the first the Korn Ferry Tour Championship was hosted at Victoria National, though the course had previously hosted the United Leasing & Finance Championship from 2012-2018. It is traditionally one of the toughest courses on the Korn Ferry Tour, particularly the closing stretch of holes, Nos. 16-18.
CAMERON YOUNG EARNS SPECIAL TEMPORARY MEMBERSHIP
One month ago, Wake Forest alum Cameron Young was treading water in professional golf. He had secured fully exempt status through the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament in early March, but the season was later canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With nowhere to play, Young turned to Monday qualifiers on the Korn Ferry Tour and got through into the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna. What followed was the sort of drama usually reserved for movies.
Young finished T11 that week in Omaha, jumping to 154th in the points standings – just enough to gain entry into the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, a field filled by the top 156 players in the standings. He finished T14 in Portland to jump up to 123rd in the standings, which earned him a start at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco (which was also filled through the points list, this time the top 144 players). And then came a T6 in Boise and a T2 last week in Columbus, allowing Young to earn Special Temporary Membership. He is now able to enter the reshuffle category and earn starts through the remainder of the 2020-21 season. A meteoric rise in four events saw Young go from zero status to 28th in the points standings and able to set a full schedule going forward.
SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER SHOOTS 59 AT THE NORTHERN TRUST
A year ago last week, former University of Texas star Scottie Scheffler won the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on his way to being named Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Last week, he carded his best round as a professional with a 59 at THE NORTHERN TRUST before eventually finishing T4 in his second consecutive start. Scheffler became just the 11th player to card a sub-60 round in a PGA TOUR event and at 24 years old, the second youngest behind Justin Thomas (23, 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii).
At 14th in the FedExCup standings, Scheffler is in the pole position to be named PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year and looking to earn his way to the TOUR Championship. Sungjae Im was the only rookie to make the TOUR Championship in 2019 before later being named Rookie of the Year and starring on the International Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup.
KORN FERRY TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES UDPATE
Similar to the traditional Korn Ferry Tour Finals, the Korn Ferry Tour Championship Series continues to have elevated purses and points. But instead of competing for PGA TOUR cards in 2020, the Series centers around two main incentives:
- The top-10 players in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings at the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship will earn entry into the PGA TOUR’s additional events (also known as opposite-field events) during the 2020-21 season. The top of the Korn Ferry Tour points list through the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship:
|1||Will Zalatoris||1,566||Wake Forest University|
|2||Davis Riley||1,445||University of Alabama|
|3||Lee Hodges||1,232||University of Alabama|
|4||Taylor Pendrith||1,121||Kent State University|
|5||Paul Barjon||968||Texas Christian University|
|6||Mito Pereira||903||Texas Tech University|
|7||Stephan Jaeger||909||University of Tennessee Chattanooga|
|8||Dylan Wu||905||Northwestern University|
|9||Chad Ramey||889||Mississippi State University|
|10||David Lipsky||875||Northwestern University|
- The top-five players (not otherwise exempt) on a three-tournament points list encompassing the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and Korn Ferry Tour Championship will receive exemptions into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. The top-5 players in the U.S. Open exemption standings through last week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship:
|1||Stephan Jaeger||702||University of Tennessee Chattanooga|
|3||Cameron Young||328||Wake Forest University|
|4||Brandon Wu||275||Stanford University|
|5||Dan McCarthy||273||Le Moyne College|
NUMBERS TO KNOW
6 – Victoria National Golf Club, host of this week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, has ranked in the top-three toughest courses on the Korn Ferry Tour (by scoring average) six times in eight years as a host venue on Tour.
1.688 – While Curtis Luck ranks outside the top-100 in statistical categories such as ball striking (151st) and driving distance (137th), he ranks third on Tour in putting average with an average of 1.688 putts per hole. Only Ollie Schniederjans (1.650) and Peter Uihlein (1.656) rank ahead of Luck.
3 – After his win at the Albertsons Boise Open and a T5 finish at last week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Stephan Jaeger has mathematically locked up one of the five U.S. Open exemptions awarded through the three-tournament points list. The U.S. Open start will be his third (and third overall in a major). He previously missed the cut at the 2015 U.S. Open and finished T60 at Erin Hills in 2017.
2020 KORN FERRY TOUR PLAYER TO WATCH
Theo Humphrey – 24 – Dallas, Texas
In his second full season as a pro and first on the Korn Ferry Tour, Theo Humphrey had posted three top-25 finishes but made less than half his cuts entering last week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. In Columbus, he carded a final-round 67 for a career-best T2 finish, enough to catapult him from 74th to 30th in the Korn Ferry Tour points standings.
Humphrey attended Vanderbilt University where he helped the Commodores win their first SEC Championship in program history in 2017. In 2018 he was named SEC Player of the Year. After graduating, he earned status on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada – where he earned two top-10 finishes in 12 starts. Last fall, he advanced through the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament and earned guaranteed starts in 2020 with a T27 finish at Final Stage.
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