Zack Fischer swipes 54-hole lead at Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament’s Final Stage
November 07, 2021
By Zach Dirlam, PGATOUR.COM
- November 07, 2021
- Fischer fired a 65 on Sunday to grab the 54-hole lead. (Andrew Wevers/PGA TOUR)
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Zack Fischer claimed medalist honors at the 2013 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, the first edition of Q-School after the PGA TOUR modernized the process. Several players in the field were future PGA TOUR winners. Tony Finau finished T3. Max Homa ended up T6. Carlos Ortiz was T15. Si Woo Kim took T22. Justin Thomas shared T32 position with Daniel Berger.
Fischer has seven PGA TOUR starts to date. Five were missed cuts. On the Korn Ferry Tour, Fischer never finished higher than 46th on the regular season money list. By the end of 2017, Fischer lost his Korn Ferry Tour status; he has four Tour starts since 2018.
Playing with a fresh perspective, Fischer is in position to earn fully exempt status for the upcoming 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season, which would give him the luxury of crafting a full schedule as he once again bids for a PGA TOUR card. The 32-year-old Texan fired a 5-under 65 on The Landings Club’s Magnolia Course Sunday afternoon, taking Fischer to 12-under par for the tournament and giving him a three-stroke lead ahead of Monday’s final round of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament’s Final Stage.
“I guess you could say it’s a second chance just because I’ve been through a lot in my career,” Fischer said. “Every single person, to some extent, goes through a part where they doubt if they’re supposed to be doing this. It’s just going to be awesome to compete again on the Korn Ferry Tour. Even if I was to play really, really bad for some reason and not get full status, just having a conditional number, having a chance to play $100 qualifiers instead of $500 qualifiers, those are just small things, but it helps your mental aspect.
“I don’t want to take it for granted this time.”
A 2011 graduate of University of Texas-Arlington, Fischer made a pair of birdies and a bogey on his front nine Sunday. Four birdies in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 11, 13, 14, 15) launched him to the top of the leaderboard.
“I made a two on No. 14, and the 9-iron I hit there was the best shot I hit all day,” Fischer said. “It was only to 10 feet, but it was exactly the shot shape, exactly the amount of spin I wanted to put on it. The next hole, I got a really fortunate break. I hit it left, it hits the tree and comes out in the fairway, and I hit a sand wedge to two feet. The ball could’ve gone out of bounds, hit the cart path. God is good; he’s going to give me some starts next year, and I’m just really blessed to be here. The fact I barely got through at Second Stage, it’s a miracle I’m here in itself.”
Playing in a mini-tour event at his home club, Fischer opened with a 78. It nearly drove him out of professional golf.
After a lengthy, tearful conversation with his teacher, Fischer returned the next day and shot 62, still missing the cut but regaining some much-needed confidence.
Much has changed since the 2013 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. For one, Final Stage is no longer six rounds. The six-round Final Stage only lasted through 2014. And while Fischer is not the star many of his Q-School classmates went on to become, he celebrates every day he gets to spend with his wife and daughter, who was born earlier this year.
“I thought I was going to take on the world,” Fischer said. “I thought I was going to get PGA TOUR starts. I thought everything was going to be great. And it was great. I learned so much in all that. My swing coach says, ‘You put a brick on every single day.’ I’m just going to try and stack bricks.
“If tomorrow is a bad brick, I’ve got a little girl who’s going to love me, a wonderful wife who’s going to love me, and I’ll go back home and see them.”
The Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament’s Final Stage determines which players earn guaranteed starts for the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season.
- The medalist (and ties) receives fully exempt status for 2022
- Finishers 2-10 (and ties) are guaranteed entry into the first 12 events of the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season
- Finishers 11-40 (and ties) are guaranteed entry into the first eight events of the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season
- The remainder of the field receives conditional status for 2022
Through three rounds, the cutoff for guaranteed starts is a nine-way T40 at even par. The group sitting on the cutoff includes Michael Visacki, who went viral earlier this year after successfully Monday qualifying into the Valspar Championship. The viral video saw Visacki make an emotional phone call to his father, who is caddying for him this week.
Final-round tee times will run from 8-10:12 a.m. ET off the first and 10th tees of both courses. PGA TOUR LIVE will provide live streaming coverage for Monday’s final round via the NBC Sports App and GolfChannel.com from 9:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. ET.
Coverage will center around the 10:01 a.m. ET group – Visacki, Kyle Westmoreland, and Leandro Marelli – playing Magnolia, with additional coverage on the 18th hole of the Marshwood Course.