Ten players to watch at Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship
5 Min Read
Third of four Korn Ferry Tour Finals events
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
This week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship marks the third of four Korn Ferry Tour Finals events, as the reimagined Finals series builds toward a crescendo at a familiar venue.
There’s no shortage of implications for this week’s 120-player field at The Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course), as the top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List after this week will secure fully exempt 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status and qualify for the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. The top 30 after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship will earn 2024 PGA TOUR membership.
The Scarlet Course is the only venue that has featured in each Korn Ferry Tour Finals rotation, dating back to 2013 (the event was first played in 2007). Past winners include two major champions set to compete for the U.S. Team at next week’s Ryder Cup: Justin Thomas (2014) and Scottie Scheffler (2019). The Scarlet Course is a perennial favorite among Korn Ferry Tour pros, known for providing a stern but fair test. The original Alister MacKenzie design, renovated by Jack Nicklaus in 2005, measures 7,444 yards and plays to par-71.
This year's first two Finals events have been won by Chan Kim (Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron) and Grayson Murray (Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation). Kim and Murray are among nine players to have solidified 2024 PGA TOUR membership through the top 30 on the season-long standings, with the final 21 cards to be determined across the next two events. All four Finals events feature elevated purses and point totals (600 points to the winner).
As the Korn Ferry Tour Finals builds toward its dramatic conclusion, here’s a look at 10 players to watch at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the penultimate Finals event.
1. Chris Gotterup. In his first full year as a pro, Gotterup might be finding his stride at just the right time. The 2022 Jack Nicklaus Award winner (top college golfer) finished fifth at last week's Simmons Bank Open to move from No. 33 to No. 24 on the Points List, a massive step as he seeks his first TOUR card. The New Jersey native has been a picture of consistency this season with 19 made cuts in 22 starts, including 13 top-25 finishes.
2. Grayson Murray. The epitome of converging forces. Murray is fresh off a victory at last week’s Simmons Bank Open, cementing his spot in the top 30 on the Points List, and he’s a past winner at the Scarlet Course (2016). His win at The Grove moved him to sixth on the season-long standings, within striking distance of the No. 1 spot with two events remaining.
3. Chan Kim. After back-to-back victories at the Magnit Championship and Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, the 33-year-old “cooled down” with a T44 in Music City, but he has earned the benefit of the doubt. He trails only Ben Kohles on the season-long standings, the No. 1 spot very much in play.
4. Chris Naegel. The wily veteran has shown in the last month what the reimagined Korn Ferry Tour Finals can offer, as he has authored four straight top-20s (including a T5 at the Simmons Bank Open) to jump from No. 205 to No. 91 on the Points List. Naegel did well just to earn a spot in the first Finals event – now he has a legitimate chance at a Korn Ferry Tour Championship berth.
5. Carter Jenkins. The University of North Carolina alum has recorded three top-25s in his last four starts, including a runner-up finish at last week’s Simmons Bank Open that moved him inside the top 30 on the season-long standings. Now No. 25 on the Points List, he’s one strong week away from cementing his first TOUR card.
6. Ben Kohles. The season-long Points Leader continues to rack up strong finishes; a tie for fourth at the Simmons Bank Open marked his third straight top-10 as he looks to cement the No. 1 spot that brings access to next year’s PLAYERS and U.S. Open. He’s also within $5,000 of the Korn Ferry Tour’s single-year earnings record (excluding the 2020-21 combined season).
7. Norman Xiong. The University of Oregon alum is fresh off a 11th-place finish at the Simmons Bank Open, where he made five birdies in his last six holes for a final-round 65 that matched Sunday’s low round. He also finished T14 last year at the Scarlet Course and should bring good vibes into the week.
8. Adrien Dumont de Chassart. After finishing No. 3 on this year’s PGA TOUR University Ranking as a senior at Illinois, the Belgium native won his first Korn Ferry Tour start at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX, and he has proved that was no fluke – notching seven top-25s in nine starts to cement his first TOUR card. After a missed cut last week (his first missed cut on the Korn Ferry Tour), he’ll be hungry to avenge the setback.
9. Jamie Lovemark. With his career essentially on the line in Music City, Lovemark delivered a runner-up finish to move from No. 130 to No. 70 on the season-long standings and advance to Columbus. Suddenly he’s well positioned to secure full Korn Ferry Tour status for 2024 via the top 75, and a TOUR card moves into the realm.
10. Cooper Musselman. The Kentucky native needed a final-round 65 in Music City to extend his season, and he delivered the requisite 65, matching the day’s low round. Now 122nd on the Points List, Musselman will be freed up and fired up to continue his run and crack the top 75 for a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. Fun fact: His high school teammate Justin Thomas is a past winner at the Scarlet Course, back in 2014.
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.