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Takeaways from Astara Chile Classic: Rookie Tim Widing rises to occasion

4 Min Read


Kaito Onishi finishes T7 in Chile after making the cut on number

    Written by Staff @PGATOUR

    Here’s a look at notable storylines from last week’s Astara Chile Classic, contested at Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago, where Ben Kohles defeated Dimi Papadatos with a birdie on the second playoff hole. With the win, Kohles surpasses Club Car Championship winner David Skinns for the No. 1 spot on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List. The top 30 finishers at year’s end will earn 2024 PGA TOUR membership.

    Ben Kohles' emotional interview after winning Astara Chile Classic

    Rookie sensation on the rise

    Korn Ferry Tour rookie Kaito Onishi, 24, notched not only his first made cut in Chile, but also his first top-10 finish in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. Following a 1-under 71 in the first round, Onishi carded a second-round, 4-under 68 that included back-to-back birdies on his final two holes to make the cut on the number at 5-under. Onishi continued to improve his score each day with a third-round 67 and final-round, bogey-free 65 to finish at 17-under 271. Onishi began the season with eight guaranteed starts after finishing T12 at Final Stage of Q-School. His T7 in Chile goes a long way toward solidifying his status for the remainder of the season.

    Onishi had a decorated collegiate career at the University of Southern California where he earned All-America and All Pac-12 honors in 2019, and he was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2018.

    Widing continues hot streak

    Rookie Tim Widing made birdie on three of his final five holes Sunday (Nos. 14, 17, 18) to finish T3 in Chile. It marked his second consecutive top-10 (T8 at last week’s Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club) in just his sixth Korn Ferry Tour start. Widing carded 71-64-66-68 for a 19-under total at Prince of Wales CC, leading the field with 29 total birdies. The Sweden native moves from No. 29 to No. 16 on the season-long standings as he eyes his first PGA TOUR card.

    Hagy jumps up standings

    For the second consecutive week, Brandon Hagy made a significant jump up the Points List. Hagy’s year got off to a solid start with a T14 in the season-opening The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, but he missed the cut in each of his next three starts. Hagy bounced back with a T13 two weeks ago at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club to rise from No. 72 to No. 43 on the Points List. This past weekend, Hagy carded a trio of 4-under 68s and a final-round 67 to place T5 in Chile. Hagy now stands No. 25 on the season-long standings as he eyes a TOUR return.

    Kim finding his groove

    Chan Kim finished T15 at the Astara Chile Classic, his third consecutive finish of T16 or better. Kim, who carded 15-under total at Prince of Wales CC, moved from 38th to 29th on the season-long standings as he chases his first TOUR card.

    Course record!

    Ryan McCormick’s second-round 62 in the Astara Chile Classic is tied for the lowest round by any player this season (David Kocher carded an opening-round 62 at the Astara Golf Championship presented by Mastercard).

    McCormick, who has made the cut in all six starts this season, finished the week at T15, marking his third top-25 of the season. He currently sits No. 19 on the Points List.

    New beginnings

    Brad Hopfinger earned his first start of the season two weeks ago by Monday qualifying into the Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club. Hopfinger placed T25 in Savannah, earning him a start this past weekend in Chile. The 34-year-old University of Iowa alum once again finished T25, which will give him a start at next week’s Veritex Bank Championship.

    A heartwarming story

    Spencer Levin has seen a lot in his 18-year pro career, but last week presented a unique experience. Levin visited the Teletón Institute (Children’s Rehabilitation Institute) in Santiago and met 16-year-old Daniel Moya, who has fallen in love with the game of golf. Moya, who uses a prosthetic leg and has limited use of one arm, challenged Levin to a putting competition and held his own against the veteran. When Levin was asked to describe what the day meant, he took a few seconds to compose himself before offering a response. He stepped away from the camera, signed an autograph, and returned with eyes welling up.

    Spencer Levin’s emotional visit to Teletón Institute at Astara Chile Classic

    “(Moya) is a nice kid, a very sweet kid,” Levin said. “Very good hand-eye coordination. A couple of things that I was showing him, he got very quickly. He’s got a lot of golf skills, and he has a lot of enthusiasm for the game. That’s cool to see.

    “I enjoyed everything that we did today, and it meant a lot to me.”

    Levin proceeded to make the cut in Chile; as a conditional Korn Ferry Tour member, the points accrued are meaningful in his efforts to build a schedule this summer. Regardless of how the season unfolds, though, Levin will return to the States with something that no golf score can buy.

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