Finals update: See who kept their season alive Friday in Columbus
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Top-75 bubble moves into focus at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Daniel Summerhays described it as major championship-level pressure. He would know. Summerhays, 39, has competed in nine majors, including a third-place finish at the 2016 PGA Championship.
That’s what happens on a Friday where the highest possible stakes are mixed with arguably the season’s most demanding conditions, as players fought to keep their Korn Ferry Tour season alive in the second round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, contested at The Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course). The top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List after this week will maintain full Korn Ferry Tour status for 2024 and advance to the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. Thirty PGA TOUR cards will be awarded after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
For those who entered the week outside the top 75 on the Points List, Friday offered a direct mandate. Make the cut to extend the season and maintain hopes of a spot at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. As the greens dried out and the wind blew across the Scarlet Course, pars were at a premium, a distinct contrast from the Korn Ferry Tour’s summer of birdie festivals.
Here’s a look at five players outside the top 75 on the Points List who rose to the challenge and kept their season alive, for two more days at least – in addition to Summerhays, who began the week at No. 78 and stands T21 for the week after a second-round 68. He’s projected No. 72 on the Points List, and his season remains alive into the weekend. A major-caliber performance, indeed.
Brandon Crick (entered week No. 81 on Points List)
The Nebraska native has felt privileged to become a Korn Ferry Tour mainstay across the last seven years. He wasn’t a highly sought-after college prospect. He has played on the Dakotas Tour, eGolf Tour, All Pro Tour, Dreamchasers Tour and Gateway Tour. He has worked as a golf shop assistant, caddie and outside services at multiple courses. He’s the epitome of working hard to chase the dream.
Simply put, he’s a grinder. And the 35-year-old channeled that grind to extend his season, carding a second-round 70 on Friday afternoon to make the cut on the number at 3-over 145.
Crick knew he needed to come up big to advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, but he didn’t feel the nerves kick in like one might expect. Rather, he felt a sense of determination to get the job done. He channeled the energy of his longtime friend and supporter Larry the Cable Guy, and he got ‘r done.
“I’m always grinding … I can’t tell you how many cuts I’ve back-doored, shooting anywhere from 33 to 31 on the back nine on Friday. Ideally, I don’t like grinding for cuts, but it just shows you that I’m determined,” Crick said. “There’s always a chance. I always try to give myself chances and try to look forward rather than what happened previously.”
Where does that mentality come from?
“I’ve just always been that,” Crick said. “Growing up, I wasn’t the most recruited out of high school … I feel very privileged to consider this spot home, the Korn Ferry Tour, for six, seven years now. I would’ve never thought that 10 years ago. Obviously just excited to be here and see where this weekend brings.”
Zach Bauchou (entered week No. 80 on Points List)
The Oklahoma State alum had his back against the wall after an opening-round 77 at the Scarlet Course, ahead of just three players in the 120-man field. It has been a magical summer of sorts for Bauchou, who finished T4 in Wichita – earning his spot by winning a Sunday pro-am – en route to securing Special Temporary Member status and steadily progressing through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
In a way, his journey began in Columbus, where he competed in a U.S. Open Final Qualifying site in June (with college teammate Viktor Hovland on the bag) and although he failed to advance, it opened a spot in his schedule for a trip to Wichita. Things came full circle Friday in Columbus as he carded a 3-under 68 in Friday’s demanding afternoon conditions to make the cut on the number and maintain hopes of a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
Zach Bauchou buries long-range putt for birdie at Nationwide Children's
After signing his card Friday, Bauchou was proud of his resilience but not satisfied – he intended to head to the practice green to work on his green-reading. Always on the grind.
“It feels like a long time ago. A lot has changed,” Bauchou said of the three months since his last trip to Columbus. “I’ve played some pretty decent golf since then. When I look back, I can still remember the rounds and stuff, so it’s not that long ago, but a lot has changed, which is nice.
“A lot of people’s backs are up against the ball this week, and that’s OK. The stress is OK. Sometimes it helps you focus.”
His focus was on point Friday.
Brandon McIver (entered week No. 93 on Points List)
The Montana native could have thrown in the towel after going bogey-bogey-double bogey on Nos. 11-13 Friday, moving from a comfortable position inside the cut line to a tenuous spot at 2-over total, just one inside the eventual number on an increasingly firm layout.
But the first-year Korn Ferry Tour member dug deep, rattling off birdies on Nos. 15-17 to card even-par 71 for a 1-under 141 total, and he stands T21 into the weekend. The former high school basketball state champion knows there’s plenty of work to be done – he needs a top-10 finish at minimum for a chance to move inside the top 75 and advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
But when things when sideways Friday, the University of Oregon alum showed an inner fight.
“It’s a very fine line; there are so many good players,” said McIver of what he’s learned this season. “I’m always amazed when I play with guys, of how good everyone is … guys hit shots that just amaze me and I’m like, ‘Geez, that’s incredible.’ But you’ve got to remember at times, sometimes you can do that too.”
McIver, 29, proved exactly that Friday.
William Mouw (No. 105 on Points List)
After earning 2023 Korn Ferry Tour status via the PGA TOUR University Ranking, Mouw recorded five top-25 finishes in 11 starts to assert his capabilities at this level and safely earn a spot in the 120-player field at the Scarlet Course.
There’s plenty on the line for the newly minted pro: even if he falls short of the top 75, a spot in the top 100 on the Points List would secure his conditional Korn Ferry Tour status at minimum for 2024, meaning he would be reshuffle-eligible after any made cuts. The Pepperdine alum can dream big into the weekend in Ohio, as he has opened in rounds of 71-69 for a T14 position.
Mouw needs a two-way T5 at minimum for a chance at the top 75, and he is currently projected No. 88. The 23-year-old knows the meaning of work ethic quite well – his parents operate Billy’s Egg Farm in their hometown of Chino, California – and he’ll leave no stone unturned in his quest to move up the leaderboard this weekend.
Cooper Musselman (entered week No. 122 on Points List)
Much has been written about Musselman in recent days, as the phenomenon known as Musselman-ia has blustered across central Ohio, but it’s for good reason. The University of Kentucky alum needed a final-round 65 at last week’s Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation to earn the final spot in this week’s 120-player field, and he did just that.
Cooper Musselman rolls in birdie at Nationwide Children's
Now Musselman needs a two-way T3 at minimum for a chance to extend his season to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, and he’s not going down without a fight. The former high school teammate of Justin Thomas (2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship winner) has opened the week in rounds of 68-72, and he stands T14 into the weekend at the Scarlet Course.
Clemson alum Jacob Bridgeman has opened the week in rounds of 65-69, good for a two-stroke lead into the weekend at 8-under 134. Bridgeman assumed the solo lead by one stroke after the opening round, and he doubled that margin after Friday’s second round.
Jacob Bridgeman takes lead into the weekend the Nationwide Children’s
By making the cut at the Scarlet Course, Bridgeman also clinched his first PGA TOUR card via a top-30 spot on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List. Click here to read more about Bridgeman and his journey. He’s the 12th player this season to clinch #TOURBound designation.
The Korn Ferry Tour Finals features progressive field reductions after each event; the top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List after the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship will be eligible for the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. Thirty PGA TOUR cards will be awarded after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
The field for the Korn Ferry Tour Championship will not extend beyond the No. 75 player on the Points List (the field could hypothetically feature less than 75 players). This diverts from the structure for the first three Finals events, in which the Points List will extend to fill the field to the corresponding numbers of players (e.g., the field for the 120-player Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship extended to No. 122 Cooper Musselman, as two eligible players elected not to compete).
Here's a look at players around the top-75 bubble and how they have fared through two rounds at the Scarlet Course:
No. 71 Brian Campbell: MC, 5 over
No. 72 John Augenstein: T49, 2 over
No. 73 Brandon Harkins: T21, 1 under
No. 74 Michael Johnson: MC, 4 over
No. 75 Nelson Ledesma: MC, 11 over
No. 76 Jack Maguire: MC, 6 over
No. 77 Isaiah Salinda: MC, 7 over
No. 78 Daniel Summerhays: T21, 1 under
No. 79 Patrick Welch: T30, even par
No. 80 Zach Bauchou: T59, 3 over
There’s also significance around the No. 85 spot, as Nos. 61-85 on the final Korn Ferry Tour Points List are eligible to begin Q-School at Second Stage. Here’s a look at players around the No. 85 bubble and how they have fared through two rounds at the Scarlet Course:
No. 83 Joey Garber: T40, 1 over
No. 84 Daniel Miernicki: T59, 3 over
No. 85 Patrick Newcomb: MC, 9 over
No. 86 Peter Knade: MC, 5 over
No. 87 Colin Featherstone: T59, 3 over
There’s also significance around the No. 100 spot, as Nos. 76-100 on the final Korn Ferry Tour Points List retain conditional status at minimum for 2024. Players with conditional status can improve their position on the Priority Ranking (and potentially earn starts on their priority number) with any points accrued via cuts made.
Here’s a look at players around the No. 100 bubble and how they have fared through two rounds at the Scarlet Course:
No. 98 Alan Wagner: MC, 8 over
No. 99 T.J. Vogel: T59, 3 over
No. 100 Andrew Kozan, not competing
No. 101 Patrick Flavin: MC, 11 over
No. 102 Brendon Jelley: MC, 4 over
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. 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.