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2024 Korn Ferry Tour: 10 players to watch this season

8 Min Read


University of Florida alumni Ricky Castillo won in his professional debut on the Korn Ferry Tour. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

University of Florida alumni Ricky Castillo won in his professional debut on the Korn Ferry Tour. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

    Written by Adam Stanley @Adam_Stanley

    It’s a new year – and the continuation of a new era – on the Korn Ferry Tour, and 2024 is set to be as exciting a season as any in recent memory.

    With plenty of new faces teeing it up across the 26-event schedule, look for a sizzling sprint from start to finish. The 2024 Korn Ferry Tour season begins at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, Jan. 14-17, and concludes at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, Oct. 3-6.

    PGA TOUR cards will be awarded to the top 30 finishers on the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Points List. As evidenced by the 2023 season-long standings, where Nos. 30 and 31 were separated by less than six points (perhaps just one stroke at any number of events), the margins are razor-thin.

    The level of competition on the Korn Ferry Tour is fierce, and graduates are positioned to succeed immediately on TOUR – like 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler, who has won the last two PGA TOUR Player of the Year Awards. This isn’t lost on even the brightest of TOUR stars.

    “I think that going through a whole season hardens the guys and teaches them the whole lifestyle of traveling, which is so different than college, and doing it for a year-long period,” said Tiger Woods. “I think it teaches the guys how to be more aggressive, and when they come out here and they have to play our TOUR, all of a sudden they’re ready to make birdies. They’re ready to play aggressively and take on flags and take on the challenges. It sets them up for … a higher success rate.”

    With the Korn Ferry Tour’s 34th season nearly underway, here are 10 players worth watching in 2024.

    1. Aldrich Potgieter

    The 19-year-old South African turned pro in June 2023, shortly after making the cut at the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club, the culmination of a star-studded amateur career. Two years ago, Potgieter won The Amateur Championship at age 17 – the second youngest winner in the history of the championship – to earn a spot in the 2023 Masters and U.S. Open. He has rubbed elbows with the game’s elite, and his potential is sky-high – as recognized by his playing partners at PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry’s Final Stage last month.

    “He’s got LeBron-esque upside,” said longtime pro Wesley Bryan, who played a practice round with Potgieter at Q-School’s Final Stage.

    Aldrich Potgieter tests a new shaft on the range

    Potgieter was site medalist at Q-School’s Second Stage in Valdosta, Georgia – four strokes clear of the field – to secure eight guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts in 2024. He fell short of a TOUR card at Final Stage, but the week wasn’t without heroics; he carded a second-round 63 – one shot off the course record at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course.

    Potgieter’s prodigious firepower, the stuff of a teenage dream, could mean trouble for his Korn Ferry Tour peers this season.

    2. Fred Biondi

    Last year, Biondi was part of the University of Florida’s NCAA championship-winning squad – he also won the NCAA Division I individual title – and finished second on the PGA TOUR University Ranking before turning pro. Biondi made nine Korn Ferry Tour starts last summer, highlighted by a T31 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX, before finishing T10 at Final Stage of Q-School to secure 12 guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts at minimum in 2024

    Get to know: Fred Biondi

    Prior to Final Stage, the Brazil native notched back-to-back top 25s on TOUR (T13 at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship; T23 at The RSM Classic) and carried the momentum into the Q-School gauntlet, where he hung tough alongside caddie Dudley Hart, Florida’s associate head coach and a two-time TOUR winner. That tutelage will serve Biondi well as he embarks on his first full season as a pro.

    3. Ricky Castillo

    Castillo, another part of the University of Florida’s championship-winning 2023 squad, won in his professional debut this summer – capturing the Korn Ferry Tour’s Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics. He was the 19th player in Korn Ferry Tour history to win in his debut.

    Ricky Castillo interview after winning pro debut at Wichita Open

    Castillo finished No. 9 on the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking and at 22, was the youngest winner on the Korn Ferry Tour last season. The California native made eight cuts in 11 starts overall and although he fell short of a TOUR card (finishing No. 53 on the Points List), that experience should prove valuable as he eyes a top-30 spot this season.

    4. Cooper Dossey

    A celebrated amateur and college star at Baylor, Dossey was the first player in program history to earn first-team All-American honors following the 2019-20 season. Dossey, who famously shot 58 at a 2022 All Pro Tour event, has some seriously inspirational friends – he practices in Texas with Pierceson and Parker Coody, twins who earned their first TOUR cards together via the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour.

    Dossey finished tied for 14th at Final Stage of Q-School to secure 12 guaranteed starts at a minimum on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour. His name might not yet be well known in golf circles, but that could soon change.

    5. Ross Steelman

    Steelman, who finished tied for 28th at Final Stage of Q-School to earn 12 guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts at minimum, begins his first full pro season on the strength of a No. 4 finish on the 2023 PGA TOUR University Ranking. Steelman was a fifth-year senior at Georgia Tech before turning professional in spring 2023, and he played eight Korn Ferry Tour events last summer, making the cut in four.

    Steelman had solid summers on the amateur circuit in 2021 and 2022, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2021 U.S. Amateur and earning medalist honors at the 2022 Western Amateur. His amateur pedigree suggests high-level professional capability, which the Missouri native looks forward to proving in 2024 and beyond.

    6. Shad Tuten

    Tuten had a fabulous start to his 2023 Korn Ferry Tour campaign, notching top-five finishes in three of his first five starts. Tuten finished 32nd on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List after incurring a devastating two-shot penalty on the final day of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance (he would have earned his first TOUR card if not for the penalty). Still, Tuten had one of the best campaigns of anyone who did not earn PGA TOUR status. He didn’t compete at Final Stage of Q-School due to a heart issue, but he’ll be more motivated than ever to keep the pedal down once he returns to action in 2024.

    7. David Kocher

    It was the kind of year that Kocher didn’t get much out of until he got to the final round of the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron. Kocher, a two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner, shot a final-round 59 in Boise to finish runner-up. Kocher ended up No. 49 on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List and keeps knocking on the door of getting a TOUR card; he finished No. 35 on the Points List in a 2022 season that included a win at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

    The Maryland native doesn’t back down when the lights are brightest, and he’s armed with three full Korn Ferry seasons of knowledge as he resumes the chase for his first TOUR card.

    8. Chandler Blanchet

    The 27-year-old won twice on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica last season to become the final winner of the Totalplay Cup – earning full Korn Ferry Tour status in the process – before the introduction of PGA TOUR Americas, which synthesizes the PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica circuits.

    Blanchet, who was the 2017 NCAA Division II Player of the Year as a junior at the University of West Florida, notched four top-five finishes in 11 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica starts last season, including the pair of victories. Blanchet returns to the Korn Ferry Tour, where he finished No. 115 on the 2022 season-long standings, with an elevated sense of self-belief – and a new perspective as a first-time dad.

    9. Noah Goodwin

    Goodwin extracted a measure of revenge on Q-School in the best of ways in 2023: He made it through First Stage, Second Stage and Final Stage, all with his father on the bag, after having to withdraw from Final Stage in 2022 due to illness (he was later diagnosed with E. coli). Goodwin, who won twice on PGA TOUR Canada in 2022 en route to a third-place finish on the season-long Fortinet Cup, managed to parlay just four guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts into a full schedule – but ended up missing 16 cuts. However, at full health and with plenty of accolades in his trophy case (he was the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur champ and was a first-team All-American while at SMU), he’s ready to take the next step in his career.

    10. Sudarshan Yellamaraju

    The young Canadian deftly progressed through Q-School, finishing T14 at Final Stage to earning 12 guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts in 2024. Yellamaraju’s path to this point might be considered unconventional. He was born in India but grew up in Canada – first in Winnipeg, then outside Toronto. He didn’t attend college (despite winning the Ontario Amateur Championship at age 16, he received limited NCAA scholarship offers) and has never worked with a professional coach – his team consists of just his father, sometimes, and YouTube. Yellamaraju’s first pro win came in 2022 on a Florida mini-tour, and after two top-10s on PGA TOUR Canada last year, he’s eager to test his mettle on the Korn Ferry Tour. He’ll have ample opportunities to do so.

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