Korn Ferry Tour Championship berths finalized in dramatic fashion at Nationwide
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Top 75 on Points List after Nationwide advance to season finale, secure full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Brandon Crick’s voice quivered.
The Nebraska native thought about his performance over the weekend at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, where he ultimately finished one stroke shy of finishing inside the top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List, Sunday's critical metric.
After making the cut on the number, Crick posted weekend rounds of 69-71 for a fighting chance at moving inside the all-important number. The top 75 after the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship advance to the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship and secure full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status. Thirty PGA TOUR cards will be awarded after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
Crick drained a 15-foot birdie at the par-4 18th hole Sunday at The Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course), punctuated with a hearty fist pump. He knew it meant he had a chance to keep his season alive. Afterward, he reflected on how much he loves competing at this level – a realization that was amplified this week with his back against the wall, having arrived in central Ohio at No. 81 on the Points List. He needed a big week and delivered. It was just one shot away.
As the dust settled at the Nationwide, Crick finished at No. 76 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List. It means his quest for a PGA TOUR card will begin at Second Stage of PGA TOUR Q-School presented by Korn Ferry, and he won’t be assured full Korn Ferry Tour status in 2024 – although he is assured a high-level conditional category at minimum. Nos. 76-100 on the Points List after the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship retain conditional Korn Ferry Tour status for 2024, with Nos. 61-85 on the final standings exempt into Second Stage of Q-School. Five PGA TOUR cards (and ties) will be awarded at Final Stage of Q-School in December.
Crick, 35, is a new dad and resides in McCook, Nebraska. He’s a small-town guy with big-time grit, having navigated the mini-tours for some seven years upon turning pro before earning Korn Ferry Tour membership for 2017. He has found a home on the Korn Ferry Tour since, and he has relished it.
Crick said Sunday that the bubble was an unfamiliar position, having otherwise been either comfortably inside the top 75 or far outside the number into the decisive event. The nerves were new. He handled them well, battling back from an opening-round 75 at the Scarlet Course with a 1-under 70 in grueling Friday afternoon conditions to make the cut on the number and earn a fighting chance at playing on to the season-ending Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
Ultimately Crick needed a three-way T23 or better to pass Brian Campbell for the No. 75 spot on the Points List. Crick finished in a nine-way T24.
After missing the cut on Friday, Campbell survived the weekend waiting game to secure the No. 75 spot, less than 7 points clear of Crick. Recent University of Oklahoma graduate Patrick Welch, who earned Korn Ferry Tour membership this summer via the PGA TOUR University Ranking, cemented the No. 74 spot with a T24 at the Scarlet Course that moved him from No. 79 to No. 72 on the Points List. Behind Crick, the Nos. 77-80 spots on the Points List were filled by Michael Johnson, Nelson Ledesma, Jack Maguire and Isaiah Salinda respectively. All four missed the cut at the Scarlet Course, after entering the week at Nos. 74-77 on the Points List respectively.
Joey Garber joined Welch as players to move inside the top 75 this week, and Garber’s triumphant Sunday marked a dramatic reversal of fortune from last year’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship, where he finished in a five-way T12 – when a three-way T12 would have been enough for a PGA TOUR return.
Garber arrived at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at No. 83 on the Points List, needing a strong performance to punch a return ticket to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. He was projected No. 75 into the final round. He looked at the projections and knew where he stood. Then he delivered a closing 3-under 68, including a birdie at the tough par-3 17th, to finish the week T7 and move to No. 68 on the Points List.
Garber stood No. 95 on the Points List into last week’s Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation, but he arrived in Nashville fresh off a family vacation, putting the clubs away for some time during the Korn Ferry Tour’s two-week break. He finished T12 there and carried the form to Ohio. Now he’ll look to make amends in two weeks at Victoria National and find the right side of the bubble once again.
Here’s a capsule look at how the top-75 bubble drama unfolded Sunday at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship:
5:40 p.m. ET: Norman Xiong wins the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship at 10-under 274, four strokes clear of Curtis Luck, Joe Highsmith and Chris Petefish. Xiong secures 2024 PGA TOUR membership.
Xiong is among four players to cement #TOURBound designation this week, joining Nicholas Lindheim, Chandler Phillips and Jake Knapp.
5:08 p.m. ET: Patrick Welch has cemented a spot in the top 75 on the Points List for a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, after a spunky final-round 72 for a current T24 at the Scarlet Course. Welch began the week at No. 79 on the Points List, needing a strong showing to crack the top 75 and advance to the season-ending event, and he remained steady in demanding conditions with scores of 72-70-71-72.
It's a meteoric rise for the recent University of Oklahoma grad, who has made 11 cuts in 13 Korn Ferry Tour starts this summer after earning conditional Korn Ferry Tour status via the PGA TOUR University Ranking. He has cemented full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership and can set his sights on a PGA TOUR card.
Welch currently projects No. 74 on the Points List, with Brian Campbell projected to assume the No. 75 spot for the final Korn Ferry Tour Championship berth.
Brandon Crick is projected as No. 76, the first man out, with Michael Johnson projected No. 77.
5:03 p.m. ET: Norman Xiong has taken a four-stroke lead at the Scarlet Course with three holes to play. Xiong stands 10 under for the event, four strokes clear of Curtis Luck, Joe Highsmith and Chris Petefish.
With a win, Xiong would cement 2024 PGA TOUR membership. It would bring things full circle for the 2018 Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the nation's top college player, with Ohio State being the land of Jack Nicklaus.
Nicholas Lindheim and Jake Knapp have also clinched #TOURBound designation in the final round in Ohio.
4:33 p.m. ET: Brian Campbell, who missed the cut, currently projects to the No. 75 spot on the Points List, fractions of a point behind Patrick Welch, who currently projects No. 74.
Brandon Crick currently projects to the No. 76 spot, with Michael Johnson projected No. 77.
4:28 p.m. ET: With one of the rounds of his life under the pressure, Joey Garber is headed to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
The Michigan native was projected No. 75 into the final round. He looked at the projections on Saturday night and knew where he stood. Then he delivered a closing 3-under 68, moving to T8 for the week at the Scarlet Course. He's now projected No. 68 on the Points List. He'll maintain full Korn Ferry Tour status for 2024 and can take aim at a PGA TOUR return.
4:15 p.m. ET: With a par on the 72nd hole, Patrick Welch projects to the No. 75 spot on the Points List. He stands T24 for the week at 1-over 285, after a gritty final-round 72.
3:40 p.m. ET: All eyes turn to Patrick Welch on the 72nd hole at the Scarlet Course. The University of Oklahoma alum has fast-tracked his career after earning conditional Korn Ferry Tour status via the PGA TOUR University Ranking, and now a closing par could cement full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour membership and punch his ticket to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
Welch currently stands T25 for the week (1-over total) and projects to No. 75 on the Points List. With a bogey, he would fall to projected No. 76, which would move Brandon Crick into the projected 75th spot.
Meanwhile Joey Garber has heated up on the back nine, with birdies on Nos. 13 and 17, and has moved to T13 for the week at 2 under. Garber now projects No. 71 on the Points List as he heads to No. 18. He currently has two shots of wiggle room, as well.
3:34 p.m. ET: Brandon Crick makes birdie at the par-4 18th to give himself a fighting chance. The Nebraska native is now projected 76th on the Points List, currently trailing No. 75 Patrick Welch by 8 projected points.
Having just made bogey on 17, Welch has surrendered any wiggle room. A Welch bogey on 18 would project Crick to No. 75 and move Welch to projected No. 76.
3:04 p.m. ET: Joey Garber makes a clutch birdie at the par-3 13th hole and is now T17 for the week. Suddenly he's projected No. 74 on the Points List. A bogey would project him No. 75; two bogeys would project him No. 78.
3:02 p.m. ET: With a bogey at the par-4 16th, Brandon Crick falls back into a T33 for the week. Recent leaderboard movement means that he is now three strokes back of a projected top-75 spot, his chances quickly becoming less and less likely.
2:50 p.m. ET: How slim are these margins? Joey Garber's even-par position has moved him from T25 to T24 this week, with those fractional points moving him into the projected 75th spot on the Points List, just 1.2 projected points ahead of his good friend Michael Johnson, who missed the cut and can only watch as the numbers shift.
2:45 p.m. ET: Nebraska native Brandon Crick's fight to extend his season is coming down to the final few holes at the Scarlet Course.
Crick battled back from an opening-round 75 with a 1-under 70 in Friday afternoon's grueling conditions to extend his week, which he entered at No. 81 on the Points List, and maintain hopes of a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. He ascended the board with a 2-under 69 on Saturday, one of the day's low rounds, to assume a legitimate chance of cracking the top 75.
Now he fights. Crick, 35, is currently projected No. 77 on the Points List with three holes to play Sunday. He's T29 for the week at 1 over (even-par Sunday through 15 holes). With one more birdie, he would project to move into the 75th and final spot.
2:38 p.m. ET: Recent University of Oklahoma grad Patrick Welch bounced back from a bogey at No. 11 with an eagle at the par-5 12th. Welch is now T19 for the week (1 under) and projected No. 72 on the Points List. He has two strokes of cushion on a spot in the top 75, as he fights to cement full 2024 Korn Ferry Tour status and earn a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
2:10 p.m. ET: As several bubble characters make their way to the final nine at the Scarlet Course, Michael Johnson (who missed the cut) continues to hold down the projected No. 75 spot on the Points List for the final Korn Ferry Tour Championship berth.
There are two players, though, who are currently one shot away from passing him on the Points List.
• Joey Garber, currently playing the 11th hole, is projected No. 78 (a birdie would move him to projected No. 74).
• Brandon Crick, currently playing the 14th hole, is projected No. 79 (a birdie would move him to projected No. 74).
2:02 p.m. ET: Daniel Summerhays entered the week at No. 78 on the Points List, looking to resurrect the magic from his victory at the inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship in 2007. After opening rounds of 73-68 at the Scarlet Course, he was projected to move to No. 72 on the Points List and advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
Summerhays, a former high school teacher, moved backwards on the weekend with rounds of 74-75. He's currently T54 for the tournament at 6-over 290 and projected to finish No. 81 on the Points List. It appears that his spirited efforts will fall just a bit shy.
1:38 p.m. ET: Needing some heroics Sunday to extend his season, Alistair Docherty is authoring some heroics at the Scarlet Course.
Docherty entered the week at 89th on the Points List, and he began Sunday in 33rd place for the tournament. He's now 4 under on the day, having just gone eagle-birdie on Nos. 12 and 13, and he's now projected 79th on the Points List. One more birdie would project him to No. 73.
1:20 p.m. ET: After missing a PGA TOUR card by fractions of a position at last year's Korn Ferry Tour Championship, Joey Garber is fighting for a return to Victoria National for another chance at a TOUR card.
Garber is currently T27 for the event and projected No. 78 on the Points List. With one birdie, though, he would project to No. 75. Early signs would indicate that Garber's fate could come down to the final few holes. He's currently playing the seventh hole, even-par for the day and week.
1:07 p.m. ET: After missing the cut at the Scarlet Course by one stroke, Michael Johnson knew he was in for a long weekend of waiting to learn his fate around the top-75 bubble. The Auburn alum entered the week at No. 74 on the Points List, and he was projected 78th into Sunday, making his position appear dicey at best. But with those around him on the Points List struggling early in the final round, he now projects No. 75.
1:00 p.m. ET: Don't count out A.J. Crouch. The University of Florida alum, looking to make a last-minute surge into the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, has moved into a current T10 for the week. He's 2 under Sunday through seven holes, 2 under for the event, and projected No. 99 on the Points List.
Having entered the week at No. 116 on the Points List, Crouch likely needs a top-three finish to crack the top 75 and advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, but there's also plenty of significance around finishing inside the top 100, which would retain conditional Korn Ferry Tour status at minimum for 2024.
12:26 p.m. ET: Zach Bauchou concluded his week with a final-round 71, good for a 5-over 289 and current T53 position. The Oklahoma State alum will fall shy of a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, but his summer on the circuit has been a success nonetheless. He finished fourth at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open, having earned a spot by winning a Sunday pro-am, and he parlayed that with a T20 in Utah and T5 in Omaha into a Korn Ferry Tour Finals berth.
He's currently projected No. 83 on the Points List, comfortably in position to retain conditional Korn Ferry Tour status at minimum. He'll also be following the top-85 bubble, which provides direct access to Second Stage of Q-School for Nos. 61-85 on the season-ending Points List.
12:15 p.m. ET: Having entered the week at No. 107 on the Points List, Kaito Onishi needed a sparkling showing to advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. He stood T58 into the final round and prospects looked bleak, but the University of Southern California alum flew inside the top 20 with a 6-under 30 on the opening nine, including an eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie stretch on Nos. 6-9.
Onishi, though, cooled down on the back nine with two bogeys and no birdies, signing for a 4-under 67. He stands T32 for the tournament and is projected No. 103 on the Points List. He still has an outside chance of retaining conditional Korn Ferry Tour status via the top 100 on the Points List, based on how those around him on the leaderboard fare this afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Chris Naegel signed for a 2-over 73 to post 13-over 297. Naegel is currently projected No. 95 on the Points List and will be a close observer of the points projections as the afternoon unfolds. A top-100 spot would be a strong achievement, especially considering he stood No. 205 on the season-long standings in early August, on the heels of 10 consecutive missed cuts. He closed the season with five consecutive made cuts, continually advancing in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals before finishing one event shy of a Korn Ferry Tour Championship berth.
12:04 p.m. ET: After a third-round 77 at the Scarlet Course, John Augenstein righted the ship with a closing 3-under 68 to improve his chances of advancing to the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
The Vanderbilt alum began the week at No. 72 on the Points List, a tenuous position on the bubble, and he crucially made the cut with rounds of 73-71. A 6-over 77 on Saturday didn't help his cause, but he rallied with five birdies against two bogeys on Sunday. He's currently T54 for the tournament, 3-over total, and projected No. 73 on the Points List. He'll have a close eye on those around him on the leaderboard as the action proceeds.
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.