And the Winners Are…20 Q School Survivors
With Korn Ferry Tour guaranteed starts on the line, here are 20 Q school survivors who earned themselves at least a little status for 2023
By Ryan French
Fittingly, the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q school wrapped up on a Monday. At Marshwood and the Landings in Savannah, Ga., 44 players earned at least eight guaranteed starts at the start of next season. PGA Tour veteran Bo Hoag took home the biggest prize, coming from five back with a final-round 65 to earn medalist honors. He’s fully exempt for the 2023 KFT season. Eleven others earned 12 guaranteed starts. Here are some of the players who earned at least a little status for next season.
Bo Hoag: He has 77 career PGA Tour starts but finished 195th last season in points and was relegated to Q school to improve his conditional status. And that he did. He opened the final round with five straight birdies and passed Chan Kim to win by one.
Chase Seiffert: He has made 71 career PGA Tour starts, and now he’ll be guaranteed a dozen starts on the KFT. Seiffert closed with rounds of 64-68 to vault up the leaderboard. Chase has always been great to me and was part of the biggest Monday Q playoff that I know of. It was a 16 for 1 at the Honda Monday Q in 2022. In the playoff Seiffert’s approach shot never got off the ground. In his reply to a tweet of mine about it, he said, “I can confirm no grooves were hit.”
Chan Kim: The former Arizona State star has made a name for himself on the Japan Tour. He has seven wins on that tour and at one point last year was well within the top 100 in the World Rankings.
Daniel Summerhays: He has retired so many times it has been hard to keep track. In 2019, Summerhays announced his retirement at his home-state Korn Ferry event in Utah, finished T2, and played the following week. The game sucks these guys back in, and with his T17 finish, he will get at least eight starts.
The young guns
Chris Gotterup: If you have a Korn Ferry event in your area, buy tickets so you can watch Gotterup play because he won’t be around long. He finished two shots back of Hoag and might have claimed medalist honors if not for a second-round 75.
Joe Highsmith: The former Pepperdine standout continues to impress. He was coasting along on Monday until making a quad at the par-4 13th but was still good enough to finish T-24.
Joe Weiler: He is less heralded than Gotterup and Highsmith, but Weiler dominated the Dakotas Tour this year. He was in the top 10 in all 13 events he played, highlighted by a win and four runner-up finishes.
Cooper Musselman: Coming into Monday T84, Musselman fired a final-round 65 and moved up 55 spots to nab eight guaranteed starts. He must have taken notes on going low from his former Kentucky teammate Chip McDaniel, who is known as Mr. Monday.
Brandon McIver: The former Oregon Duck, who turned pro in 2016, will get his first career Korn Ferry start in 2023 after shooting a final-round 67 to sneak in on the number. McIver, who dug a hole with a second-round 78, got there with a birdie on the 222-yard par-3 17th, his second deuce coming home.
Alistair Docherty: After an opening-round 76, Docherty was T125. He followed that up by playing the next three rounds in 9 under and finishing one inside the number. Last year Docherty ran out of money and was caddying to make ends meet. At second stage he missed a five foot birdie putt that he thought he needed. For the next couple of hours he bounced in and out of the last qualifying spot before eventually finishing in a five-way tie for the final spot.
Rico Hoey: He entered Q school for both the KFT and the DP World Tour and came up big in Georgia, closing with rounds of 67-68 to finish T-17.
Carter Jenkins: Talk about a roller coaster. Jenkins had rounds of 75-65-74-67. He birdied five of his first six holes on Monday and finished with eight birdies, then doubled the last hole to get in on the number.
Willie Mack III: The Bethune-Cookman grad has had a tough road to status, including sleeping in his car and watching his car burn down to the frame. But he has had numerous mini-tour wins and he shot a final-round 66 to finish T-12. Ryan Lavner detailed Mack’s journey in an excellent article.
Colin Featherstone: He turned pro 10 years ago, but after grinding around the globe, he decided to stop playing and to work for a golf company. Post-Covid, Featherstone got the bug again and decided to head to Q school. Now for the first time in his career, he will have Korn Ferry status.
Steven Fisk: The former Georgia Southern star, who won nine times in his career there, played on a Walker Cup team. and was a finalist for the Haskins Award. Last season he finished 119th on the points list. Fisk worked as a volunteer assistant at Georgia Southern while finding his way in the pro game. He finished T-10, on the strength of a final-round 66. Fisk has an unusual homemade swing that makes him easy to spot on the range.
Ryan Elmore: Elmore made one cut in eight events on PGA Tour Canada in 2021. Two years before that, he made just three cuts in 11 events. Yet he kept at it, and five years into his pro career, he earned eight guaranteed starts for next season.
Jared Sawada: His average during his college career at Hawaii was almost 78. Ten years after turning pro, Sawada finally earned guaranteed starts.
Brady Calkins: Another recap and another Calkins sighting. The Dakotas Tour legend has earned Korn Ferry status for the first time, having survived three stages. When I called him Sunday night, he yelled, “We are just getting started.”
Of course, he did
Vince India: He holds the most amazing Q-school stat I know. He got through first and second stage in six consecutive years, starting in 2013. So it was no surprise to see him earn guaranteed starts again this year, although he only had to go to the final stage based on his points finish last season.
Patrick Flavin: On the strength of a second-round 66, the Monday Q killer from last season finished T24 and will have eight guaranteed starts.
And that puts a wrap on this version of Q school. In 2013 the format changed, as Q school was for Korn Ferry Tour cards only. Next year the stakes will be raised. I can’t wait for the drama of watching a putt with a PGA Tour card on the line