Q School Final Stage: A Primer
With status for the 2023 season on the line, here’s everything you need to know about the Korn Ferry Tour event
By Ryan French
The final stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q school began on Friday, with 147 players looking to secure starts for the 2023 season. Here’s a quick rundown.
Q: How many rounds will they play?
A: Four rounds, 72 holes, played on two courses (Marshwood and The Landings in Savannah, Ga.). There is no cut.
Q: Does everyone who has made it here get guaranteed starts on the Korn Ferry Tour next year?
A: No, here is the breakdown:
• The winner (and ties) is fully exempt for the season.
• Players who finish second through 10th (and ties) are guaranteed starts in the first 12 events of the season.
• Players who finish 11th to 40th (and ties) are guaranteed starts in the first eight events.
• The rest of the players are conditional members slotted in the order that they finish. Starts are not guaranteed, but most will get at least a few starts throughout the season. The players finishing near the bottom, however, may not get a single start. They will be regulated to chasing Monday qualifiers.
Q: Is there a purse for Q school?
A: Yes. The players earning guaranteed starts (top 40 and ties) will be paid out of the $480,000 purse. The winner receives $50,000. The bad news is that 100 players or more will walk away with nothing.
Q: What does being a conditional member mean?
A: One, if you get into an event (through status, a Monday Q or an exemption) and make the cut, the player is then eligible for the reshuffle. For a player with poor conditional status, a good finish in just one event could change his entire season.
Another perk of being a conditional KFT member is that you get a reduced price on the entry fee into PGA Tour Monday Qs ($100 versus $500). Members also have practice privileges at all TPC courses.
Q: What are some of the more recognizable names in the field?
A: Spencer Levin is two PGA Tour starts shy of earning his full pension. Chris Gotterup, the former top-ranked college player at Oklahoma, has had some impressive showings in his few pro starts. Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, has battled injuries over the last few years, but he is back. So is PGA Tour winner Wesley Bryan. Other recognizable names include Chase Seiffert, Grayson Murray (assuming he’s healthy enough after his scooter accident in Bermuda) and Daniel Summerhays, who has retired and unretired more times than I can count.
Q: Who is the highest ranked player in the field based on the Official World Golf Ranking?
A: Yuta Katsuragawa, at 108th. Katsuragawa is third on the Japan Tour Order of Merit this season and has two career wins on that tour. He played in the Open Championship at St. Andrews this year and finished T-47, his first event outside of Japan.
Q: Who are some international players who might surprise?
A: My go-to guy for insight on the international side is Jude DeLoye, who is a great follow on Twitter. He gave me two names. Rowin Caron from the Netherlands shot 58 this year on the Golden State Tour. And Cristobal del Solar, who played on the Palmer Cup team with Jon Rahm before they turned pro, is here. Both played at Florida State on a team that included Daniel Berger, Chase Seiffert and Hank Lebioda.
Q: How about some great stories?
A: Not sure it gets any better than Hayden Springer and his amazing family. Daughter Grace battles Trisomy-18, and Annie arrived right after the second stage of Q school.
Brady Calkins is often referred to as the “John Daly of mini-tours,” but he also has a ton of game. He has dominated the Dakotas Tour for years. I wrote about him after he qualified for the U.S. Open this year at The Country Club in Boston.
Kevin Prise wrote a great article about Cyril Bouniol, who battled some serious health issues over the last year.
Henry Chung has spent some nights in the back of his rental car while chasing his dream, but now he has a chance to change the trajectory of his career.
Q: Who are some of the grinders who could make some noise?
A: Derek Oland has made it here multiple times, but hasn’t been able to secure guaranteed starts. He has played well on the All Pro Tour for years.
Andre Metzger is a 40-year-old legend on the Dakotas Tour, but he has struggled when he has had Korn Ferry status. He has another chance to change that.
Alistair Docherty missed a five-foot birdie putt on the last hole of second stage that he thought he needed to make to get through. He then had an agonizing wait and refreshed the leaderboard on his phone “about a million times” before finally learning he had snuck through on the number. Docherty has worked as a club caddie to make ends meet.
Q: Was there really a pro-am at Q school?
A: Yes, which is nuts. This is the biggest week of the season for most players, and to have a pro-am seems like a really poor decision by the tour. According to one caddie, players were paid $500. I hope that is wrong, as most pro-ams pay the players $1,000 or more.
Q: Is Q school on TV?
A: Kind of. The final round, which will be played on Monday, will be streamed on Peacock. I will tweet the link on Monday.