While the PGA Tour is beginning its FedEx Cup Playoffs this week, many hopeful of making it back to the big tour (or getting there for the first time) are playing in the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular-season finale, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, on the Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge outside Portland, Ore. Those who finish the regular season in the top 25 of the developmental tour’s season-long points race will earn PGA Tour cards Sunday for the 2019-'20 season.
Although many of those top-25 spots are already secured, most likely there will be some drama playing out around that 25th position. Take last year’s tournament, for example.
Max Homa needed to birdie his final four holes in the second round at Pumpkin Ridge just to make the cut. If he didn’t, it meant no Web.com Finals the next week and a trip to Q school just to get back his Web.com status.
He made the birdies that he needed, landed a PGA Tour card and this year took advantage of the opportunity, winning the Wells Fargo Championship to earn, among other perks, job security for the next two seasons.
The most notable name near the bubble entering the regular-season finale: Maverick McNealy. The former top-ranked amateur and Stanford alum made a big jump, moving from 28th to 20th, after a third-place finish last week, meaning that he has a good chance of securing a PGA Tour card. But a missed cut could prove damaging.
Others in far more tenuous positions include China’s Zecheng Dou, who won the first tournament of the season but fell from No. 24 to No. 26 entering this week, and Aussie Brett Coletta, who is on the bubble at No. 25. His lead over Dou is just 23 points.
Other notables further down the list include Joseph Bramlett (30th), Erik Compton (37th), Steve Wheatcroft (40th), Rob Oppenheim (46th) and Doug Ghim (50th).
Finishing among the top 25 is not the only source of drama. Finishing inside the top 75 after this week gives a player full status on the Korn Ferry Tour for next year, but more important, a chance to earn a PGA Tour card via the three-tournament Korn Ferry Tour Finals, which begins next week at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.
Greg Yates is currently 75th on the points list, but his lead over No. 76 Grant Hirschman is less than a point. As for those who finish from 76th to 100th on the points list, they’ll receive conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 with the chance to improve their standing via qualifying school.