Five players to watch at Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna
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Just two events remain before Korn Ferry Tour Finals
Written by Justin Evans
The Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna marks the 21st event on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour schedule, as players seek coveted spots inside the top 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, which will bring 2024 PGA TOUR membership at season’s end in October.
With just two events remaining before the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, tensions are building as the circuit heads to Omaha, Nebraska. Every point could prove pivotal.
The first of four Finals events, the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, will feature a field of 156 players, filled directly off the Points List.
The Finals will feature field reductions each week, with 144 players at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation and then 120 players at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. (For these first three Finals events, the field will fill to 156, 144 and 120 players, respectively. Eligible players who elect not to compete will be replaced directly from the Points List.)
Only the top 75 players after the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship will be eligible for the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance.
In the meantime, it’s onward to Nebraska for this season’s penultimate pre-Finals stop.
Here's a look at five players to watch this week at The Club at Indian Creek.
1. Roger Sloan: The Canadian returned to the winner’s circle at last week’s Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank, his first Korn Ferry Tour title since the 2014 Nova Scotia Open. Sloan finished birdie-birdie in Utah for a 24-under total, one stroke ahead of Christopher Petefish. Sloan’s week was propelled by a third-round 63 at Oakridge CC that included two eagles. The win moves Sloan inside the top 30 of the Korn Ferry Tour Points List and into contention for a return to the PGA TOUR.
2. Shad Tuten: After securing his fifth top-10 finish of the season in Utah, Tuten is on the brink of earning his first TOUR card. The 32-year-old moves to No. 14 on the season-long standings with just six events remaining, strongly positioned to cement a top-30 position with consistent play down the stretch. Tuten entered the season with four career top-10s on the Korn Ferry Tour and has surpassed that total in just 18 starts this year. Could it be his time?
3. Kevin Dougherty: The California native responded after a missed cut at the NV5 Invitational with a sterling effort in Utah, holding the 54-hole lead en route to a T3 finish. Dougherty has now notched five top-10s this season, including two in his last three starts, and he arrives in Omaha at No. 11 on the season-long standings. He’s a couple more strong showings away from cementing his lifelong dream of a PGA TOUR card.
4. Roberto Diaz: Thewily veteranadmitted to internal questions last fall about whether he could regain his PGA TOUR card, and his play this year is answering those questionsin the affirmative. Diaz finished T3 in Utah, his seventh top-25 of the season, moving from 57th to 42nd on the season-long points race. The Mexico native has played two full seasons on TOUR, and he now has a decent shot at making it a third.
5. Christopher Petefish: Having recorded just two top-10s in 33 previous Korn Ferry Tour starts, Petefish introduced himself to the golf world at large with a sparkling effort at the Utah Championship, carding four rounds of 67 or better to finish solo second at 23 under, one back of Roger Sloan. Petefish moves from 95th to 47th on the season-long standings, greatly boosting his chances of retaining full Korn Ferry Tour membership for 2024 via the top-75 – and moving within striking distance of that coveted PGA TOUR card.