Korn Ferry Tour Finals update: Chris Gotterup rejuvenated after trip to beach
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Opens Albertsons Boise Open in 9-under 62, chasing first TOUR card
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
BOISE, Idaho – Last week, Chris Gotterup made a trip to the beach.
The New Jersey native was back home for the Magnit Championship, and he showed his friends Logan McAllister and Quade Cummins – fellow University of Oklahoma alums – around the Jersey shore.
For Gotterup, it served as a rejuvenation of sorts into the four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
“At home, I live right next to the beach, and there’s something about it that gives you a boost,” Gotterup said. “The smell, the water, I don’t know what it is. I love being at home and hanging out.”
Gotterup carried those good vibes into the first round of the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, opening in 9-under 62 at Hillcrest CC to share the lead alongside Cristobal del Solar and Evan Harmeling.
Chris Gotterup’s 62 gives him Thursday lead at Albertsons Boise Open
The reimagined Korn Ferry Tour Finals features elevated points (600 to the winner, compared to 500 in a standard event), with the top 30 on the season-long standings after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance to earn 2024 PGA TOUR membership. Season-long points are carried into the Finals, with progressive field reduction each week; the Albertsons Boise Open features 156 players.
Gotterup entered the week at No. 35 on the Points List, his season including 17 made cuts in 20 starts, with 11 top-25 finishes. It has been a steady if unspectacular campaign for Gotterup, who won the 2022 Haskins and Nicklaus Awards as top player in collegiate golf. “Interesting,” he said Thursday when asked to assess his season so far.
It’s also his first full year as a pro, after finishing No. 7 on the 2022 PGA TOUR University Ranking, and he has a legitimate chance at a PGA TOUR card. With eight birdies and an eagle Thursday, against a lone bogey at the par-4 18th, he is taking strides toward that goal.
“It’s definitely been a good season,” Gotterup said Thursday. “I don’t want to say I’m disappointed, but I feel like I've played good all year and just not good enough, which is kind of weird. Out here … to make some moves, you need to be 20 under a week. So I feel like I've been kind of hovering around the 14 through 16 (under) number, and T20 doesn't fly you up the leaderboard a lot, but it doesn't mean you're playing bad, either.
Chris Gotterup jars lengthy eagle putt at Albertsons Boise Open
“So yeah, I've just tried to stay really patient all year. Hopefully I can keep it going this weekend. This isn't the end here, either. Just kind of making sure every shot matters and making sure I'm focused on every shot.”
An opening-round 62 brings good pace toward that 20-under goal, and then some. Gotterup played alongside veteran Cody Blick on Thursday; Blick shot 64, and the duo would have combined for a best-ball 57.
Gotterup’s 62 looked almost effortless, said Blick, who continues to be impressed by the young talent that is hitting professional golf in waves.
“He’s a stud,” Blick said of Gotterup. “He’s going to do a lot in this game. He hits it far, hits it on line, makes a lot of putts. He’s going to be around for a while.”
If he keeps up this form, he’ll be around the PGA TOUR sooner rather than later.
Cristobal del Solar (No. 49 on Points List; projected No. 9 with a win): The 29-year-old Chilean matched Gotterup’s 9-under 62 with a torrid stretch to conclude his round, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie on Nos. 14-18. Del Solar arrived in Boise on the strength of five consecutive made cuts, including four top-30 finishes, and is well positioned to finish safely inside the top 75 on the Points List to earn full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status. A strong week in Boise could suddenly bring a PGA TOUR card into the picture.
Evan Harmeling (No. 108 on Points List; projected No. 27 with a win): The Princeton alum has only recorded one top-10 finish on the Korn Ferry Tour – it was a win at the 2020 Club Car Championship. He opened in 9-under 62 at Boise, sharing the early lead with Gotterup and Del Solar, quickly shifting the narrative on a season that has included just two top-25s in 19 starts. “My game’s been building up to this point,” Harmeling said. “I just want to stay focused on my keys … take it one step at a time, really.” With increased points available during the Finals, it’s an opportune time for Harmeling to play into peak form as he looks to earn full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status and maybe even his first TOUR card.
David Kocher (No. 82, projected No. 63): The Maryland alum is a two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner but has notched just three top-25s in 22 starts this season, leaving himself outside the all-important top 75 with three events remaining before the cutoff for full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership. A spirited Thursday in Boise puts him in the mix to solidify that status and better position himself for a run at his first TOUR card.
The Korn Ferry Tour Finals features progressive field reductions after each event; the second Finals event, the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation, will have a 144-player field, filled directly off the season-long Points List.
For the first three Finals events, the Points List will extend to fill the field to the corresponding numbers of players (e.g., the field for the 156-player Albertsons Boise Open extended to No. 173 James Nicholas, as 17 eligible players elected not to compete).
No. 145 Ian Holt opened in 5-under 66 at Hillcrest CC and is projected No. 130. Holt, a Kent State alum, has made six cuts in 14 starts this season, with his lone top-25 coming in his first start at the Club Car Championship … No. 154 Alex Weiss carded 5-under 66 and is projected No. 136 … No. 162 Joel Thelen carded 5-under 66 and is projected No. 145 … No. 161 RJ Manke shot 5-under 66 and is projected No. 142 … No. 173 James Nicholas, the last man in the field, carded 3-under 68 and will enter Friday on the cut line, needing to advance to the weekend to maintain hopes of a trip to the Simmons Bank Open. Nicholas replaced Curtis Luck in the field on Thursday morning, after Luck misread his tee time and did not arrive within five minutes of his 7:45 a.m. starting time, per Rule 5.3a.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.