Final Stage Korn Ferry Tour Q-School Preview
November 03, 2022
By Jay Fawler, PGA TOUR Canada
- November 03, 2022
- The Fortinet Cup Top 10 players at the conclusion of the 2021-22 PGA TOUR Canada season. (Media/PGA TOUR)
The final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School begins this week in Savannah, Georgia, where the top upcoming players will be competing to determine their priority statuses for the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season.
PGA TOUR Canada is well-represented in the field of 147, including 33 players who saw action last summer during the inaugural Fortinet Cup.
What’s at stake:
While every player who has made it this far has earned a 2023 Korn Ferry Tour card, there’s still plenty to play for this weekend in Savannah, Georgia. The player who finishes first and wins the Qualifying Tournament earns the right to play in every open 2023 tournament, while those finishing in the second-through-10th positions are guaranteed 12 starts). Finishers 11th through 40th are guaranteed eight tournament starts, while the remainder of the field is conditionally exempt on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour.
Here’s a look at 10 PGA TOUR Canada alums from the 2022 season to keep an eye on during Final Stage:
Fortinet Cup Points List: 2
Best Finish: Won (CRMC Championship)
Knapp has been in this position before. Having previously earned Korn Ferry Tour membership in 2020, thanks to an impressive 2019 PGA TOUR Canada campaign that included two wins, a runner-up, and a third-place finish, Knapp finds himself in the same position three years later by finishing second on the 2022 Fortinet Cup Points List. “This time around I feel that I know who I am a little bit better and what works for me,” Knapp said when comparing himself to where he was in 2019. “Last time I felt I was forcing some things that weren’t necessarily who I was. I’m just going to go out there and be a little bit more true to myself and my game, and I think that’s going to help me have the most success.”
His 2022 season in Canada began with a runner-up finish to start the year at the Royal Beach Victoria Open and was highlighted by his third career PGA TOUR Canada victory, at the CRMC Championship in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 3
Best Finish: Won (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open, GolfBC Championship)
Goodwin began his professional golf career with a lot of hype. After all, he’s one of only five golfers to win back-to-back AJGA Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors and has represented his country on multiple occasions, including at the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup and the 2017 Junior Presidents Cup.
The SMU and PGA TOUR University standout got off to a slow start in Canada, missing three of the first four cuts to begin his season—at the Royal Beach Victoria Open, ATB Classic and the Osprey Valley Open.
“[Missing the cut at the Osprey Valley Open] came at the perfect time for me mentally,” Goodwin said of his slow PGA TOUR Canada start. “Me and my dad took a few days afterwards and took our minds completely off of golf, and we had a blast. It reminded me how easy it is to get fixated on the negative parts of the game and made me realize that any day I get to play golf is still a really good day.”
The second half of the season proved much better for Goodwin as he became one of only two players to win twice in 2022—a wire-to-wire victory at the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open and the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna, British Columbia. His third-place Fortinet Cup Points List finish also earned him a trip back to Canada next summer for the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 4
Best Finish: Won (Royal Beach Victoria Open)
Stevens’ first tournament in Canada was a memorable one as he won the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open in a thrilling sudden-death playoff against veteran Jake Knapp. Stevens birdied his last four holes—one in regulation and three in overtime—to earn the win. “I couldn’t dream of a better start,” Stevens said, reflecting on that memorable week in Victoria. “To start the way I did, I gained so much confidence for the rest of the season.”
After struggling through the middle part of the season, Stevens played his best golf late in the year, finishing the season with three top-10 outings in the final four tournaments—including a runner-up finish at the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna and a tie for eighth at the Fortinet Cup Championship, which helped him close the season fourth on the Fortinet Cup Points List.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 5
Best Finish: Won (Quebec Open)
“I started the season [in Canada] with conditional status and a dream of getting on the Korn Ferry Tour somehow,” the North Carolina Tarheel alum said, reflecting on his start of the season in Canada.
Gerard didn’t make his first start on PGA TOUR Canada until the third tournament of the year, at the Prince Edward Island Open, where his tie for 18th allowed him to keep playing and improve his status after the merit-based reshuffle halfway through the season. Three tournaments later, in just his fourth start, he led wire to wire and won the Quebec Open.
“I feel like I’ve elevated my game over the last three months to be able to compete with a lot of great players and to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations,” he added.
Gerard never missed a cut the rest of the way, picking up top-five finishes, at the CRMC Championship and the GolfBC Championship, to close the year fifth on the Fortinet Cup Points List.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 6
Best Finish: 2nd (Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open, Quebec Open)
It doesn’t seem possible that a player with only six PGA TOUR Canada starts could finish sixth on the Fortinet Cup Points List and earn an exemption into the Korn Ferry Tour’s Qualifying Tournament’s final stage. Walsh did just that, thanks in large part to his back-to-back, runner-up finishes to start his season, at the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open and the Quebec Open. He followed his hot start with ties for third at both the CRMC Championship and the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship. He ended the season with the Tour’s lowest scoring average on (67.82).
With a solid showing this week in Savannah, Walsh is hoping to make his return to the Korn Ferry Tour, where he made 15 starts in 2022 before arriving in Canada.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 9
Best Finish: T2 (ATB Classic)
Highsmith was late to the PGA TOUR Canada party, missing the opening tournament in Victoria to compete in his final NCAA Championship as a collegian at Pepperdine, where he ended the season ranked 10th on the PGA TOUR University rankings. Once Highsmith arrived in Canada, he was a force to be reckoned with all summer long.
Highsmith began his PGA TOUR Canada season in Edmonton, with a runner-up finish in a playoff against eventual Fortinet Cup champion Wil Bateman. He followed it up with another top-five finish, at the Prince Edward Island Open. Highsmith closed 2022 with several accolades, including three top-fives, five top-10s and an impressive streak of 16 consecutive rounds in the 60s.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 10
Best Finish: 2nd (CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open)
It’s been a grind for Ian Holt. Having spent the better part of four seasons on PGA TOUR Canada, he’s garnered 14 top-10s in 41 career starts. His hard work and consistent play in 2022 ultimately led to a 10th-place finish Fortinet Cup Points List finish and an exemption into the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School this week in Georgia.
His 2022 season in Canada was arguably his best as he made nine of 10 cuts that included six top-15 finishes, including a runner-up finish at the CRMC Championship in Minnesota.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 12
Best Finish: Won (CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open)
Like Highsmith, Coody also missed the start of the PGA TOUR Canada season to compete in the NCAA Championship. Parker, however, left with some meaningful hardware—winning the national championship with his University of Texas team that also included his twin brother, Pierceson.
While Pierceson earned immediate status on the Korn Ferry Tour by finishing as the top-ranked player on the PGA TOUR University rankings, Parker’s 13th-place finish brought him to PGA TOUR Canada, where he won in just his sixth start as a professional. That week he captured the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open. Coody’s 27-under winning score tied for the lowest score in relation to par in PGA TOUR Canada history.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 13
Best Finish: T3 (CRMC Championship)
While he never made it to the winner’s circle during his summer in Canada, Phillips was in contention almost every week he played. The former Georgia Bulldog standout had five top-five finishes in his eight PGA TOUR Canada starts, including back-to-back top-fives at the ATB Classic in Edmonton and the Prince Edward Island Open. His tie for third at the first PGA TOUR Canada tournament held outside of Canada, at the CRMC Championship in Brainerd, Minnesota, included back-to-back rounds of 61 and 62.
His eight consecutive birdies during the second round of the CRMC Championship were the most consecutive on Tour in 2022m while his scoring average of 68.20 ranked as third-lowest, behind only Thomas Walsh and Joe Highsmith.
Fortinet Cup Points List: 26
Best Finish: T5 (Osprey Valley Open, Fortinet Cup Championship)
Beginning the 2022 season with conditional PGA TOUR Canada status, Solomon took advantage of his early opportunities to earn a full summer schedule that ultimately included top-five finishes at the Osprey Valley Open and the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship.
Despite the strong performance, Solomon was forced to start his Korn Ferry Tour Q-School journey at first stage after narrowly missing out on the second-stage exemption that the top 25 players on the Fortinet Cup Points List receive (Solomon finished 26th, 16 points shy of the 25th spot).
With the first and second stage now in the rear-view mirror, Solomon earned his spot in the final-stage field of 147 and is focused on the new task in front of him. “Everything you’re doing and working toward is just practice,” Solomon said on his progress and preparation for final stage. “Even the big tournaments I’ve played in [on PGA TOUR Canada last summer], it’s still just practice and preparing for the next big thing in your career. I love that forward-thinking mindset. There’s still a lot of work left to do.”