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Five life-changing moments on 2022 Korn Ferry Tour so far

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Five life-changing moments on 2022 Korn Ferry Tour so far

    Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley

    The Korn Ferry Tour has provided a 'Hello World' moment for plenty of the PGA TOUR’s biggest stars over its 32-year existence. It has also been the home of countless emotional, life-changing memories.

    From heartwarming triumphs to long-time-coming efforts, earning something on the Korn Ferry Tour – and knowing a ton of hard work has paid off – remains as thrilling a time as any in this game.

    Players who finish inside the top 25 on the Regular Season Points List upon the conclusion of next week’s Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna will earn PGA TOUR cards for next season, with another 25 TOUR cards awarded via the subsequent three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

    Drama will only grow throughout the season’s final stretch as some players jockey to earn TOUR cards and others strive to secure Finals berths via the top 75 on the Points List.

    Fourteen players have crossed the fail-safe threshold of 875 points to secure a TOUR card via The 25, with the final 11 spots to be determined across the next two weeks. This week's Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank is followed by the Regular Season-ending Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna.

    With just two events remaining in the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season, here are five life-changing moments from the last eight months. Many more will unfold soon.


    The story has been long told, but three years after Brandon Matthews lost in a playoff – and missed out on a chance to play The Open Championship – after an older fan with Down syndrome made a distracting noise, the affable Matthews broke through for a big win earlier this season on the Korn Ferry Tour.

    And with a steady season the rest of the way, he has earned his first PGA TOUR card.

    Matthews earned his way into the U.S. Open this year as well, teed it up three other times on the PGA TOUR, and continues to astound followers and fans alike with his ridiculous length off the tee.

    Matthews has a first, second, and third-place result so far this season and is set to get married on Sept. 24 after he becomes a full-fledged PGA TOUR member for the first time. Hearty proof that good things happen to good people.


    It hasn’t been an easy journey for Norman Xiong since he was a can’t-miss college star.

    Superstar, more like it.

    But after a few years of digging out of the dirt, he has come out clean on the other side – and finally nabbed his first TOUR-sanctioned title earlier this year.

    Xiong Monday-qualified for the Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics and won the tournament, firing a 26-under 254 (the second-lowest 72-hole score in Korn Ferry Tour history).

    “I really don’t know how I’m feeling just because I didn’t really expect to be here,” Xiong admitted after his victory.

    Xiong was named the 2018 Jack Nicklaus Award and Fred Haskins Award winner but had struggled since turning professional.

    He has played just four events on the Korn Ferry Tour this season, but thanks to his win, he’s 44th on the Regular Season Points List. Xiong has secured full Korn Ferry Tour status for 2023, but he wants more, and he wants to live up to all that potential he had coming out of college.

    He proved this season in Wichita, however, that he’s got what it takes.


    It was just his third start on the Korn Ferry Tour, but 22-year-old Pierceson Coody made it a memorable one.

    No. 1 on the 2022 PGA TOUR University presented by Velocity Global Ranking, Coody captured the Live and Work in Maine Open by five shots. In the process, he became the second-youngest winner on the Korn Ferry Tour this season.

    Coody was a star while playing at the University of Texas, and his win so early in his career has moved him onto the cusp of earning a PGA TOUR card as well. He sits 32nd on The 25 with two events left.

    Coody is just one such example of how the PGA TOUR’s stars of tomorrow are already here.


    A lot can happen in 10 years.

    Paul Haley, through this last decade, never gave up.

    Haley won the Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS by three shots this summer to regain his PGA TOUR card for the first time since 2013. It had been over a decade since his maiden Korn Ferry Tour title at the 2012 Chile Classic.

    “It was kind of just my time today,” said Haley, who is second on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points list with two events left.

    There’s been plenty of turbulence for Haley in the last decade, but his continual journey and never-stop-grinding attitude have helped him come in for a smooth landing.


    In the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erik Barnes got a job at Publix stocking shelves. It was time to provide for his family – in any way possible.

    The 34-year-old got back to golfing business when the Korn Ferry Tour started back up again and notched 15 top-25 finishes in the wraparound season.

    He kept building and building off that momentum into 2022 and thanks to six top-10 finishes so far this year plus steady golf the whole way around, he has locked up a TOUR card for the first time.

    There’s not always a direct path to the PGA TOUR – look at either of Xiong, Coody or Barnes – but the feeling of achieving something, of earning something, of doing something big, can’t be beat.

    “I’ve wanted (a PGA TOUR card) since I was a little kid,” said Barnes.

    A childhood dream come true.

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