David Skinns holds off Shad Tuten, Tom Whitney to win Club Car Championship
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Written by Staff @KornFerryTour
SAVANNAH, Georgia – The last time David Skinns won on the Korn Ferry Tour, the Englishman earned his first PGA TOUR card as his wife, Kristin, and three sons – Brayden, Bennett, and Colt – watched on television back home in Suwanee, Georgia. This time around, all four of them ran into Skinns’ arms mere moments after he tapped in the winning par putt at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club.
Skinns held off fan favorite Shad Tuten and United States Air Force veteran Tom Whitney for his third career Korn Ferry Tour win. A native of Lincoln, England and University of Tennessee alum, Skinns carded a third consecutive 4-under 68 at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club’s Deer Creek course, highlighted by birdies at the par-5 14th and par-3 17th which gave him a two-stroke lead as he strode to the 18th tee.
Playing out of the penultimate group, Tuten, who attended nearby Armstrong State University (an NCAA Division II program later absorbed by Georgia Southern University), reached the par-5 18th in two and had roughly 40 feet for eagle to tie Skinns at 17-under par. Tuten’s putt hit the left lip and stayed up, leaving him with essentially a gimme putt for birdie and the second runner-up finish of his career.
Whitney needed to hole a flop shot from well right of the green for eagle to tie Skinns, but left himself a 10-footer for birdie. Whitney drained the putt, moved to 16-under par and rose from a 3-way T3 to a 2-way T2, earning himself an extra 100 points toward his total on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List – all of which will be quite important when 30 PGA TOUR cards are awarded in October.
Skinns’ previous two Korn Ferry Tour victories came at the 2018 and 2021 Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna in Omaha, Nebraska. The latter was the 43rd and final regular season event of a combined 2020-21 season (a result of the COVID-19 pandemic), which catapaulted him to PGA TOUR membership.
In the years since Skinns’ first victory, though, he longed for a special moment with his family on hand. The moment finally arrived Sunay afternoon, and Skinns got quite the bonus: his mother was there, too.
“My wife’s been talking about that for a while,” Skinns said. “She’s been like, ‘Man, it would be great if you could have that moment with us all there.’ We finally got it, and I’m so happy they were here. To get it done here and to have Kristin and the boys be able to come down was a dream come true. That’s the only thing I can say.”
The family made the drive from Suwanee on Saturday, just in time to see Skinns close out the third round with a one-stroke lead, the first 54-hole lead of his Korn Ferry Tour career.
It was not, however, the initial weekend plan. Two of Skinns’ three children play youth baseball, and there was a game on the schedule. With the Korn Ferry Tour off for the last five weeks, Skinns helped coach both his sons’ teams. (Funnily, when Skinns left England for Tennessee in the early 2000s, he was not a baseball fan at all, and his wife had to explain the rules to him after they got married.) When the family found out the game would be canceled, they hit the road for Savannah. Less than an hour into the drive, the cancelation was reversed. Skinns and his wife left the decision to Bennett, their middle son.
“You ask a 5-year-old if you want to go on a trip or you want to stay home, he’s going to pick the trip every time,” Skinns said. “Kristin made the spontaneous decision when it was canceled to make the five-hour drive down here, which isn’t like her, so I was proud of her for making that decision. It wouldn’t have worked out better. They managed to win the baseball game without him, so that was good. Just worked out so great.”
Oddly enough, the fact the choice was Bennett’s drew a parallel to a decision Skinns made six years ago.
Skinns stood T9 through 36 holes of the 2017 Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, one of four Korn Ferry Tour Finals events. At the time (i.e. – from 2013 through 2022), the Finals awarded an additional set of 25 PGA TOUR cards through its separate four-event cumulative points list. A top-10 finish was typically enough for a TOUR card.
When the call came Kristin had gone into labor with Bennett, Skinns withdrew and flew home.
“I tried not to ruminate on the fact I left Boise when I did,” Skinns said following his PGA TOUR card-clinching victory in 2021. “I wouldn’t change it. I got to be there when Bennett was a tiny little thing, and I wouldn’t change it.”
As a 40-year-old rookie on TOUR last season, Skinns finished 178th on the 2021-22 FedExCup Playoffs and Eligibility Points List, relegating him to the Korn Ferry Tour. Sunday’s victory, along with a top-10 and another top-25 from earlier this season, made Skinns the new No. 1 player on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List with 21 events left in the season.
“I’ve just learned to be myself,” said Skinns, who became the first Korn Ferry Tour winner aged 40 or older since Tag Ridings won the 2021 Ascendant presented by Blue at 46 years, 10 months, 4 days of age. “I think I tried to do too much last time (on TOUR). If I get another chance, I think I’ll do a much better job of being myself and maybe have this moment out there as well.”