Tom Lewis faces an enviable situation this fall after an impressive four days at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. Does the 28-year-old from England play the PGA Tour after earning membership for the 2019-’20 season with a dominant five-stroke victory at Victoria National Golf Club? Or does he return to the European Tour, where he sits 48th in the Race to Dubai with nine events until the tour’s three-event playoff series?
The decision surfaced after Lewis made a different last-minute decision to enter the Tour Championship despite never previously playing in a tournament on the developmental tour. Lewis made the move after sputtering of late on the Euro Tour. Lewis finished T-11 at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, but in two starts since he had a missed cut and a T-59.
The change of venue proved wise as Lewis shot an opening-round 68, which turned out to be his worst score of the week. A closing seven-under-par 65 on Labor Day Monday, with birdies on three of the final four holes, gave Lewis a 23-under 265 total to outpace Fabian Gomez.
“I didn’t really know what to expect this week,” said Lewis, a former amateur prodigy who won in his third career pro start but needed another seven years to get his second title. “I haven’t played well the last couple weeks. I tried to change a few things, and it didn’t work. Went back to a few things, and it worked. To shoot the scores I did this week is amazing.”
Despite earning no points in the first two events of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, Lewis jumped to second in the series standings, easily securing one of 25 PGA Tour cards from the final list. Lewis was one of nine golfers who were outside the top 25 starting the week in Newburgh, Ind., only to jump inside and grab tour cards:
All those who earned PGA Tour membership won’t have much time to rest before wanting—and needing—to put their tour cards to use. The PGA Tour’s 2019-’20 season begins next week at The Greenbrier, the first of 11 events scheduled for the fall portion of the schedule. Traditionally, Korn Ferry Tour grads, despite holding lower priority than golfers who kept their cards on the PGA Tour during the regular season, are able to play in several early tournaments as veterans take time off.
A strong showing in the fall allows the grads to improve their status with the tour resumes play in early January.
As for Lewis, though, his attention is likely to return to Europe for the next few months. “We’ve got some good events coming up in Europe,” he said. “I’m looking forward to looking at my schedule. It’s going to be a good problem to have.”