Takeaways from the Regular Season
August 13, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Fun facts with The 25 newest PGA TOUR members
Per usual, the sprint to the finish of the Korn Ferry Tour was not without drama, intrigue, excitement, and a little heartbreak mixed in too.
Come Sunday at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, there were countless scenarios still in play as it related to who might or might not received a PGA TOUR card, and who may or may not being heading to Q-School.
There were 24 events in the Regular Season and 25 PGA TOUR cards handed out Sunday in Portland. Three pros won two tournaments. Some players returned to the PGA TOUR, and some, after years of grinding it out, have made it for the first time.
The top 75 players on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List are now off to join most of the players who finished Nos. 126-200 on the FedExCup standings to try and earn 25 more TOUR cards, in addition to non-members who played well enough to finish No. 200 or better on the FedExCup, and a handful of players on medical extensions. For those who finished Nos. 1-25 on the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, they have a chance to improve their 2019-20 TOUR status. The race to No. 1 – and fully exempt status on TOUR – is still very much in play, too.
But before we look ahead to the Finals, we’ll take a look back at some of the key moments from the year that was.
Here are some 2019 Regular Season takeaways.
No. 1s moving on
Harry Higgs and Tyler McCumber already proved they had what it took to dominate a Tour from start to finish, but Sunday they proved they could make the big leap to the PGA TOUR, too.
McCumber, who won three times on the 2018 Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada en route to Player of the Year honors, ended up at No. 22 on the Regular Season Points List.
The son of multi-time PGA TOUR winner Mark McCumber had an incredible start to his season, going T37-T4-T3-T7-T14 in his first five events. He added one more top-3 finish in April, and he made the cut in eight of his nine final events of the year (he withdrew from one of them).
McCumber’s T18 finish in Portland solidified PGA TOUR status for the University of Florida product.
Higgs, meanwhile, topped the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Order of Merit in 2018 after ending the season with results of 1-3-T2-T4. He had a solid, if unspectacular, start to his Korn Ferry Tour season but really turned on the jets this summer – culminating with a victory at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.
Higgs, who played college golf with Bryson DeChambeau, ended up fifth on the Regular Season Points List. He finished in the top-25 in more than half the events he played this year and proved, along with McCumber, that tours like the Mackenzie Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica are indeed the first step on the path to the PGA TOUR.
Living up to their potential
In golf, like life, there are no guarantees. We see all the time the stories of can’t-miss kids who fizzle out under the pressure of the biggest stages in the sport.
But a handful of very solid collegiate and amateur players lived up to their lofty potentials and earned their way onto the PGA TOUR.
Robby Shelton, a star at the University of Alabama, won twice this season and after a tough go on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017 made the leap to the TOUR. He entered college as the No. 1-ranked junior golfer in the country and didn’t let up. His three-year scoring average was the lowest in Crimson Tide history and he was a first team All-American all three seasons at Alabama.
Shelton, who is about to turn 24, is eager to test his mettle against the best in the world – seeing has he was one of them not that long ago.
Other notable college stars (under 25) to jump to the TOUR this year –
• Scottie Scheffler. 23 years old. The University of Texas product was low amateur at the 2017 U.S. Open and played the Walker Cup. Won the Evans Scholars Invitational this year and had eight top-10s
• Kristoffer Ventura. 24 years old. The Oklahoma State product was named first-team All-Big 12 selection as a junior and earned honorable mention All-America status. Won twice this year on the Korn Ferry Tour (in just eight events).
• Maverick McNealy. 23 years old. The Stanford product did it all at college, including winning the Ben Hogan Award, the Byron Nelson Award, and became the No. 1-ranked amateur. Made 15 of 20 cuts this year, and a third-place finish at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae sealed his first TOUR card.
• Vincent Whaley. 24 years old. The Georgia Tech product played four years for the Yellow Jackets and won twice. Whaley was the bubble boy this year, finishing 25th on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List on the heels of three top-10 results.
Meet The 25 newest PGA TOUR members
Through the first half of the calendar year on the Korn Ferry Tour, the average age of winners was 29.
By the time the season had wrapped up, that number dropped by just one, to 28, thanks in large part to 24-year-old Kristoffer Ventura’s two wins in the latter part of the season.
The oldest winners in the second part of the season were 33-year-old Ryan Brehm, who won the LECOM Health Challenge en route to earning a return trip to the PGA TOUR, and Rhein Gibson, who won the BMW Charity Pro Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation and also earned a return trip to the PGA TOUR.
The youngest winner this year was Robby Shelton, who at 23 did it twice, along with Scottie Scheffler who was 23 at the time of his win but has since turned 24.
Shelton was also the youngest member of The 25, while 41-year-old Tim Wilkinson was the oldest.
But while Wilkinson had been a member of the PGA TOUR before, 38-year-old Scott Harrington never had.
The second-oldest member of The 25, Harrington (who is from Oregon himself) finished runner-up at the WinCo Foods Portland Open to move to 19th on The 25 – a year after he took time away from the game to be with his wife Jenn in her second battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Jenn is now cancer-free.
What a story.
Win and you’re (not necessarily) in
While most of The 25 featured 2019 Korn Ferry Tour winners, there were a handful who earned TOUR cards without holding a trophy – proving that it truly is a season-long race.
Chase Seiffert, Scott Harrington, Tyler McCumber, Maverick McNealy, Tim Wilkinson and Vincent Whaley all managed to play steady enough this season to jump into The 25 without a victory.
Zecheng Dou and Dan McCarthy were left on the outside looking in despite victories this season; however, both Dou (No. 28) and McCarthy (No. 31) will have a chance to earn TOUR cards via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.