PGA TOUR LatinoaméricaLeaderboardWatchNewsTotalplay CupDev SeriesSchedulePlayersStatsShopPGA TOURPGA TOUR ChampionsKorn Ferry TourPGA TOUR CanadaPGA TOUR LatinoaméricaLPGA TOURDP World TourPGA TOUR University

Fernández Valdés earns first Korn Ferry Tour title

4 Min Read


Fernández Valdés earns first Korn Ferry Tour title

    RALEIGH, North Carolina – Jorge Fernández Valdés sunk a 25-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to secure his first Korn Ferry Tour victory over Trent Phillips and win the UNC Health Championship presented by STITCH at Raleigh Country Club.

    A native of Cordoba, Argentina, Fernández Valdés turned professional in 2012 and played on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for two seasons before earning status on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2014. He returned to PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2016 where he remained until regaining conditional status this season by finishing No. 3 in the 2022 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Totalplay Cup standings.

    Fernández Valdés is a four-time PGA TOUR Latinoamérica champion and his win in Raleigh was the 39th by a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica alum on the Korn Ferry Tour.

    “It was a long journey to get here,” Fernández Valdés said. “It's been like 10 years of professional golf and I can't believe it, I can win out here. It's really tough, there's so many good players and every week it's hard to beat everybody, so I’m really happy with this.”

    The 30-year-old Argentine entered the day two strokes behind 54-hole leader and Raleigh native Grayson Murray, but after sinking a long eagle putt on the par-4 ninth hole, he found himself back near the top of the leaderboard. Two more birdies on the back nine at the par-5 12th and par-3 14th, as well as a bogey at the par-4 16th, put Fernández Valdés at 13-under par, forcing the playoff with Phillips, who was already in the clubhouse at 13-under following his four-straight birdies on Nos. 13-16.

    Fernández Valdés and Phillips headed back to the difficult par-4 18th, which ranked third toughest all week relative to par. After a drive that faded slightly right and missed the fairway, Fernández Valdés reached the green on his second shot and set himself up for what was a bit of a redemption putt, lying in a similar place to the one he had just missed 20 minutes earlier to clinch what would have been a win in regulation.

    “I had missed a similar putt on the 72nd hole, with a pretty similar line, but I trusted it this time. I hit it pretty good,” Fernández Valdés explained. “Obviously, the putt that I hit before helped me a lot, which is unbelievable.

    “I played very well this week,” he added. “Like the last nine holes of the tournament I was playing pretty good, but didn't know I was that close, to be honest. I saw (Grayson) Murray playing very solid and he was like 16-under. But that’s golf, and nobody understands this sport sometimes.”

    Murray, who is coming off a win just two weeks earlier at the AdventHealth Championship, was leading the field by as much as four strokes during Sunday’s final round. After a tough stretch on the back nine, brought on by a double-bogey and three bogeys from holes 12-17, he ended up needing an eagle on No. 18 to secure his spot in the playoff. Unfortunately, for the 29-year-old and his large gallery of fans cheering on the Raleigh product, he finished with a final-round 1-over 71, one shot shy of joining the playoff.

    With the win, along with his five additional top-25 finishes this season, Fernández Valdés rises from No. 61 on the Points List to 10th, placing him in prime position to pursue what would be his first PGA TOUR card at season’s end.

    “Yes, it's huge,” Fernández Valdés added. “We are through half of the season and it’s going to be really nice to have a chance to stay in the top 30. It's something we were looking for for a long time. Well, I'm in the position and I have to keep playing very well.”

    For rookie member Trent Phillips, his runner-up finish holds even more weight. After narrowly getting into last week’s Visit Knoxville Open, he secured a T23 in that tournament to earn a start at this week’s event in Raleigh. After Sunday’s 4-under 66 performance, Phillips has no doubt where he’ll be playing next week.

    “It was a great day,” Phillips said. “I’m just happy to be out here playing. Last week, I had my first top-25 of the season and I’m finally starting to play a little better, making some putts. This is great.

    “Hats off to Jorge,” he added. “That was one of the best birdies I’ve ever seen. And, to do that in a playoff, hats off to him.”

    The UNC Health Championship presented by STITCH was the 12th of 26 events on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour schedule.

    PGA TOUR Latinoamérica
    Privacy PolicyTerms of ServiceAccessibility StatementDo Not Sell or Share My Personal InformationCookie ChoicesSitemap

    Copyright © 2023 PGA TOUR, Inc. All rights reserved.

    PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and the Swinging Golfer design are registered trademarks. The Korn Ferry trademark is also a registered trademark, and is used in the Korn Ferry Tour logo with permission.