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Ten players to watch at Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation

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Ten players to watch at Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation

Headed to Music City for second leg of four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    This week’s Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation marks the second leg of the reimagined, four-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

    With just three events remaining in the Korn Ferry Tour season, the tensions are high as players jockey to improve their position in the chase for 30 PGA TOUR cards. This marks the seventh iteration of the Simmons Bank Open, contested in the Nashville, Tennessee metroplex, and the third time it will be played at The Grove, which measures 7,368 yards and plays to par-72.

    If the past is prescient, off-the-tee acumen will be critical this week. Last year’s Simmons Bank Open winner Brent Grant and runner-up Kevin Yu both rank in the top six on the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee this season, with Vincent Norrman (T3) ranking 28th in the statistic. Long, accurate driving will lend itself to a series of shorter approaches into The Grove’s greens, and hence scoring opportunities.

    The Simmons Bank Open features a 144-player field, with eligibility determined via the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List (through the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron). Click here for more on how the Korn Ferry Tour Finals works.

    Next week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship will feature a 120-player field, with only the top 75 players after that week eligible for the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. Those 75 players will be assured full Korn Ferry Tour status in 2024, with 30 PGA TOUR cards finalized after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.

    Who will solidify a TOUR card in Music City, and who might author a “miracle” (as they say around these parts) en route to keeping their job on the Korn Ferry Tour?

    Here are 10 players to watch at the Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation.

    1. Chan Kim. As winner of the last two Korn Ferry Tour events, it would be irresponsible not to place Kim here. The 33-year-old went bogey-free to win the Albertsons Boise Open, not slowing down from a three-stroke win at the prior week’s Magnit Championship. The eight-time Japan Golf Tour winner has ascended to second on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List in a spirited effort to chase down Ben Kohles for the top spot.

    2. Adrien Dumont de Chassart. The newly minted pro via the University of Illinois hasn’t wasted any time in making his mark, notching six top-10s in his first eight Korn Ferry Tour starts, most notably a win in his first start at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. He’s returning to the Korn Ferry Tour after two weeks on the DP World Tour; at seventh on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, he has cemented his first TOUR card for 2024. Now it’s about chasing No. 1.

    3. Rico Hoey. The smooth-swinging California kid leads the Korn Ferry Tour in total driving this season – likely an advantage around The Grove – and this year’s Visit Knoxville Open winner should be expected to contend for a Tennessee double. With 10 top-25s in 22 starts, he stands third on the Points List, his first TOUR card long assured.

    4. Ben Kohles. A two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner this season, Kohles had a chance at a Three-Victory Promotion last month in Boise before “settling” for a T4. He leads the Korn Ferry Points List and has also been a model of consistency this summer, recording eight top-25s in his last nine starts. The North Carolina kid is also hungry to cement the season-long No. 1 spot, which brings access to next year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst and THE PLAYERS Championship.

    5. Pierceson Coody. In just 15 months as a pro, Coody has won three times on the Korn Ferry Tour – including two wins this season – and the 2022 PGA TOUR University No. 1 has proven his best golf can stack up with almost anyone. He’s 10th on the Korn Ferry Tour in total driving, as well, which should support his efforts at The Grove as he eyes a late-season push toward the season-long No. 1 spot.

    6. Kevin Dougherty. The Oklahoma State alum has moved to the brink of his first TOUR card with four top-25s in his last six starts. He stands No. 15 on the Points List, perhaps just one solid result away from his lifelong dream, and his prowess off the tee (No. 2 on the Korn Ferry Tour in driving distance) should be an asset at The Grove.

    7. Parker Coody. Coody, the twin brother of Pierceson and a fellow Texas Longhorn, has authored a meteoric rise this season from conditional Korn Ferry Tour status to the verge of a TOUR card. With five top-10s in 17 starts, he stands No. 17 on the Points List with three events remaining. He ranks 12th on the Korn Ferry Tour in total driving.

    8. RJ Manke. Manke dug deep in Boise when the chips were down, carding a final-round 64 to extend his season to Nashville. The 2022 PGA TOUR University graduate (University of Washington) needs more magic in Music City, currently No. 131 on the Points List, to extend his season. He’ll be well rested after two weeks back home, intent on giving it a run.

    9. Davis Chatfield. The Notre Dame alum has proven his mettle a rookie, making 16 cuts in 22 starts, and he broke through for his first top-10 at the recent Albertsons Boise Open – including a third-round pairing with his childhood hero Camilo Villegas. He stands No. 64 on the Points List, looking to cement his Korn Ferry Tour status and perhaps more.

    10. Zack Fischer. The two-time Q-School medalist has struggled at times this season, including four missed cuts in his last five starts, but he’ll look to draw energy from a T3 at last year’s Simmons Bank Open – which included a sporty final-round 67. He stands 104th on the Points List, in need of a strong next two weeks to crack the top 75 and maintain full Korn Ferry Tour status.

    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.

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