Justin Suh takes 54-hole lead at Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance
September 03, 2022
By Preston Edwards , PGATOUR.COM
- September 03, 2022
- Justin Suh has a chance at the No. 1 spot on the season-long standings into the final day of The Finals 25 era. (James Gilbert/PGA TOUR)
NEWBURGH, Ind. – With just 18 holes remaining in the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season, 25-year-old Justin Suh took his first career lead and stood alone atop the leaderboard after the third round of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. Suh carded a bogey-free 8-under 64, the second-lowest score Saturday afternoon at Victoria National Golf Club, taking him to 17-under par for the tournament and one stroke ahead of his playing partner, Tano Goya.
Suh birdied four of his first five holes (Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5), followed by four more at Nos. 9, 12, 15, and 16. The San Jose, California native’s 17-under 199 marks the lowest 54-hole score in a Korn Ferry Tour event at Victoria National, breaking the previous record of 16-under 200 established by Tom Lewis and Greyson Sigg in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
“It was a hot start,” Suh said. “I wasn't making very long putts. It was just kind of 8-footers, 10-footers. We were hitting our numbers. It was, like I said, it was a very simple round, nothing got out of hand; we were always in position.
“Playing with Tano (Goya), I know he's around the bubble, but he's a great friend,” Suh said. “Today, I wasn't really even focusing on my game. I was fist pumping for him when he made a birdie, so it was super cool to see him (have) a good round. We played a bunch together early in the year. We were always paired in that time slot, so we became great friends. To see him (have) a good round today, it's big momentum for him to get that (PGA TOUR) card tomorrow.”
The two friends will have another chance to cheer each other on for a second day in a row, as they will play in Sunday’s final group alongside Nicholas Lindheim, who sits in a three-way T3 at 15-under par.
Suh hopes he will cheer Goya to his first PGA TOUR card, while Goya will root Suh on as he chases the No. 1 ranking in the Korn Ferry Tour’s season-long points race. A win for Suh projects to move him to No. 1, which awards fully exempt status for the 2022-23 PGA TOUR season, an exemption for the 2023 PLAYERS Championship and, for the first time in history, an exemption for the 2023 U.S. Open.
“I know I need a win to lock it up,” said Suh, who entered the week having already secured his first PGA TOUR card and ranked No. 8 on the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Eligibility Points List. “If that happens, cool, but I think we're just looking to move up no matter what.”
After four international events to open the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season, Suh logged 15 top-25s in his next 19 starts, including nine top-10s en route to his first PGA TOUR card. Suh has four top-10s in his last five starts, pushing him to the verge of the No. 1 ranking, a title previously won by multi-time PGA TOUR winners Sungjae Im (2018) and Scottie Scheffler (2019), as well as six-time Korn Ferry Tour winner and 2022 FedExCup Playoffs qualifier Stephan Jaeger (2020-21).
Suh turned professional in 2019 following a decorated amateur career. A former No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Suh played four seasons at University of Southern California, where he was a 2018 and 2019 All-America First Team selection, the 2018 Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, and 2018 Pac-12 Championship individual medalist. Suh also represented the United States at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup, playing alongside two-time major championship winner Collin Morikawa and PGA TOUR rookies Sahith Theegala and Davis Riley, both of whom qualified for the 2022 FedExCup Playoffs.
Suh burst onto the professional scene with Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, with the three playing together as sponsor exemptions at the 2019 Travelers Championship. Suh made 23 PGA TOUR starts as a professional, mostly as a sponsor exemption, but struggled to find his footing.
Suh eventually played his way to Final Stage of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, where he finished on the number for guaranteed starts in the first eight events of the 2022 season.
Final-round tee times will run from 7:30 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. local time off the first and 10th tees.
- With a win, the only potential outcomes which involve Justin Suh (1st / -17) not finishing No. 1 in the season-long points race would be Paul Haley II (T58 / -4) finishing solo-third or higher, or Carl Yuan (T6 / -14) finishing in a three-way T2 or higher
- Players currently projected to move inside The Finals 25 are: Tano Goya (2nd / -16), Austin Eckroat (T3 / -15), Sam Stevens (T6 / -14), Eric Cole (T6 / -14), Brent Grant(T12 / -12), Ryan Armour (T21 / -10), and John Augenstein (T12 / -12)
- Suh’s 17-under 199 marks his lowest 54-hole score in his Korn Ferry Tour career
- Sam Stevens (T6 / -14) tied the course record with a 10-under 62 and projects to finish inside The Finals 25 for his first PGA TOUR card
- In his 25th start on the Korn Ferry Tour, Tano Goya (2nd / -16) holds his highest position after 18, 36 or 54-holes; he is bidding for his first PGA TOUR card this week
- Nicholas Lindheim (T3 / -7) sits inside the top 10 through 54 holes of a Korn Ferry Tour event for the first time since September 2020 (T7 at the 2020 Memorial Health Championship presented by LRS, finished T13)
- Four players inside the top 10 through 54 holes have already secured their PGA TOUR card via the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Standings: Suh, Seonghyeon Kim (T6 / -14), Carl Yuan (T6 / -14) and Michael Kim (T10 / -13)
- The Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance is the third and final tournament of the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals, in addition to being the 26th and final event of the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season
- The Finals 25 will be determined following the conclusion of Sunday’s final round, with PGA TOUR cards being awarded to each member of The Finals 25
- This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion; the champion will also receive 1,000 Korn Ferry Tour points
- Next season’s Korn Ferry Tour Finals events will feature minimum purses of $1,500,000
Third-Round Course Statistics
- Scoring Average (Total - Par 72): 69.895 [-2.105]
- Scoring Average (Front Nine): 34.526 [-1.474]
- Scoring Average (Back Nine): 35.368 [-0.632]
- Toughest Holes: No. 17, Par 4, 454 yards – 4.250 [+0.250]
- Easiest Hole: No. 9, Par 5, 548 yards – 4.408 [-0.592]