Local hero Hall makes waves at Shriners; rookie roundup
October 13, 2021
By Zach Dirlam, PGATOUR.COM
- October 13, 2021
- University of Las Vegas-Nevada alum Harry Hall finished T8 at last week's PGA TOUR Shriners Children's Open. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Not all top-10s are equal. PGA TOUR rookie Hayden Buckley and Korn Ferry Tour member Harry Hall both finished T8 at last week’s Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas, but it meant far more for one than the other.
A top-10 makes Hall eligible for the next open, full-field PGA TOUR event. In this case, the next event meeting those specifications is the Butterfield Bermuda Championship (October 28-31), as the next two weeks – THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT and ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP – are limited-field tournaments. Buckley, who entered the 2021-22 PGA TOUR season ranked 14th within the 50-player priority ranking category for Korn Ferry Tour graduates, had a high probability of earning a spot in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship field via his priority number. Hall, who played the Shriners Children’s Open on a sponsor’s exemption, needed a top-10 for another week on TOUR.
And while this update is meant to focus on rookies from the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour graduating class, Hall became the biggest Korn Ferry Tour storyline last week at TPC Summerlin.
Hall made waves on the Korn Ferry Tour with his victory at the 2021 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics this past June. It was a surprising win given the fact Hall began the 2020-21 season with conditional status. His first start was not until the Tour’s return from the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus at the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass in June 2020, and he only earned a spot in the field after he survived a 4-for-3 playoff in the Monday qualifier.
Last week in Las Vegas was a far more comfortable scenario for Hall.
Representing Cornwall, England, Hall played collegiately at University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he was the 2019 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. Following his collegiate career, Hall stayed in Las Vegas and became a regular at TPC Summerlin, playing the course over 100 times and carding a 60 there roughly a week before making his third career PGA TOUR start. Shriners Children’s Open truly felt like a home event with his mother, Anne, on-site and watching him play in the United States for the first time.
The Pro Shop at TPC Summerlin . Now this is cool! Very honored to be a Las Vegas local and amongst a special group of players! Hopefully I fit in more and more over the years ….🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/JQtreGCpQP— Harry Hall (@HarryHallGolf) September 30, 2021
“Las Vegas is very close to my heart now, and I’ve spent six years here and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” Hall said after his final round. “Very grateful for the exemption they gave me, and I know a lot of people in town were rooting to have me in the field, which means the world.”
Hall entered the weekend in T6 position and three shots behind co-leaders Sungjae Im, the 2018 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year, and Chad Ramey, a 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour graduate. At 1-over par through 12 holes of the third round, however, Hall tumbled down the leaderboard. The Englishman staged a furious rally across the final six holes, making four birdies and closing his day with an approach inside of a foot at the par-4 18th.
Hall battled to a second consecutive 3-under 68 in Sunday’s final round, tallying five birdies against two bogeys.
“If you give me a T8 at the start of the week, I would have taken it,” Hall said. “It’s given me a lot of confidence and I’m happy with the way I’m trending, just through my game and through my career at the moment.”
Hall has positioned himself to move from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA TOUR via Special Temporary Membership, as his T8 was worth 80 non-member points. Another 197 non-member points will net Hall Special Temporary Membership, which would allow him to accept unlimited sponsor’s exemptions.
Hall is not looking too far ahead, though. Nor is he looking at this top-10 as a seminal moment in his very young career.
“I’m pretty confident I’ll be on the PGA TOUR, whether it’s through this or through the Korn Ferry (Tour) next year,” Hall said. “Hopefully, I’ll look back in 30 years and this will be a little bit insignificant.”
For the time being, it could prove to be quite significant. The same could be said for three other 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour graduates who recorded top-25s in Las Vegas.
Another week, another top-10 for Buckley.
Buckley entered last Sunday’s final round in T31 position, level with fellow rookies Taylor Moore and Davis Riley, and two shots behind graduating classmate Lee Hodges at T15. But a final-round, 8-under 63 vaulted Buckley to a T8 and a spot in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship two weeks from now. Moore was the only other member of the quartet to finish in the top-25, as Hodges fell to T27 and Riley dropped to T56.
Playing in his home state the week prior, Buckley recorded a T4 at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Those pair of top-10s have him at No. 10 in the FedExCup standings, slightly behind fellow 2020-21 graduating classmates Cameron Young and Mito Pereira.
Buckley earned TOUR membership via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in his first full season on Tour. Lightly recruited out of Tupelo (Mississippi) High School, with his only significant scholarship offer coming from Rice University, Buckley was offered a two-percent scholarship (essentially to cover books) by the University of Missouri based almost entirely off an endorsement from his high school coach, Chris Harder, who played collegiately at Austin Peay State University under Mark Leroux, Missouri’s head coach since June 2004.
Back-to-back top-10s now have an overlooked high school prospect in prime position for additional starts once the reshuffle occurs following The RSM Classic next month.
A week after 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour graduate Sahith Theegala held a share of the 36-hole lead, Chad Ramey co-led with Sungjae Im after 36 holes of the Shriners Children’s Open.
A 2-under 69 in the third round dropped Ramey to T3 and two strokes off the lead. Im faltered alongside him, posting a 1-under 70 and slipping to solo sixth. The two played together again in the final round, but Im caught fire and shot a 9-under 62 for a four-stroke victory at 24-under par.
Ramey fell all the way to T14 with a 1-over 72 in the final round. The damage was done on the front nine, as Ramey double bogeyed the par-4 third and par-4 seventh.
“I got off to a weird start. I had one bad swing, got a little bit of a bad break, made double, and then got into a little grainy area over there on No. 7 and didn’t assess it the way I should have. That will always leave a bad taste in my mouth,” Ramey said. “There are a lot of good things to take from the week, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
One positive takeaway? Ball striking. Ramey currently ranks 17th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green. If Ramey keeps that up, the top-10s will come.
Taylor Moore recorded his second consecutive top-25 with a T24 at the Shriners Children’s Open. It followed his T17 from the Sanderson Farms Championship.
While those are finishes are not going to garner much attention, it is worth noting Moore put together a streak of nine consecutive top-25s on the Korn Ferry Tour this past summer. Two weeks after that streak ended, Moore rattled off four consecutive top-10s, including his first career win and a solo second.
Those streaks, along with T10s in the first two Korn Ferry Tour Finals events, put Moore sixth among The 25 and 11th on the 50-player priority ranking.
Could there be another streak brewing for Moore?
Sadly, Jared Wolfe did not make the cut at the Shriners Children’s Open, but he still provided one of the feel-good moments of the week at the Monday qualifier.
Wolfe, a 33-year-old journeyman without a single PGA TOUR start prior to this season, flirted with a 58 en route to medalist honors at the Monday qualifier. A two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, Wolfe phoned his wife, Kelsey, with the news – which was not all positive considering the two had to cancel birthday dinner plans.
Birthday dinner with Mrs. Wolfe has been canceled for the best possible reason. pic.twitter.com/DI98Wb5Sjy— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 5, 2021
Some in the social media realm were unimpressed with the excitement from Kelsey, prompting another heartwarming moment from Wolfe.
Read a few comments on my wife @Kelsey_Wolfe7 not being excited or showing any emotion. Gotta say she was pretty dang excited when I called her. This is a little clip from a really exciting phone call. Love this girl! https://t.co/AuEHYSTOwO— Jared Wolfe (@JaredWolfepro) October 6, 2021
If anyone is still seeking a player to root for from this contingent of Korn Ferry Tour graduates, Jared Wolfe is your man.