The 2020 Korn Ferry Tour began last month in the Bahamas with a number of Georgia golfers with histories on the tour among those competing for a shot at 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2020-21 season.
Two Georgia residents – Augusta’s Henrik Norlander and Atlanta’s Vince Whaley – finished in the top 25 on the 2019 KF money list to qualify for this season’s PGA Tour. Two others – ex-UGA golfer Brendon Todd and former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Richy Werenski – regained their PGA Tour status in the 2019 KF Finals.
Just two Georgians – Augusta’s Greyson Sigg and Elberton native Shad Tuten – earned exempt KF status through qualifying late in ’19. A number of golfers with ties to the state are back on the KF Tour after playing on the PGA Tour last season.
Three tournaments into the 2020 KF season, Alpharetta’s Billy Kennerly is off to the best start among the state’s contingent, standing 13thon the points list thanks to a tie for third in the second of two tournaments in the Bahamas. Kennerly, who played his college golf at Clemson, is in his fourth season on the tour, and has been a consistent performer, placing 45, 58 and 50 on the money list after playing his way onto the tour midway through the 2017 season.
Sigg, a former Georgia Bulldog, is a KF rookie after three strong seasons on the Canadian Tour. He tied for seventh at Q-school in December, and posted top-25 finishes in each of his first three KF Tour starts, moving up to 23rdin the standings with a T15 in Panama. In his three seasons in Canada, Sigg collected 11 top 10s in 36 starts and placed 20, 18 and 9 on the money list.
Former Clayton State golfer Will Wilcox started with back-to-back finishes of 16thand 13thin the Bahamas and is 26thon the points list. Wilcox, who was limited to nine starts last season, his sixth on the tour, played on the PGA Tour from 2014-17. His best season as a pro came in 2013, when he won the Web.com event in Valdosta and finished the year seventh on the money list, leading to his four seasons on the PGA Tour.
Ollie Schniederjans is back on the KF Tour after a difficult third season on the PGA Tour last year. Schniederjans, who grew up in Powder Springs before enjoying a stellar career at Georgia Tech, was at one point the top-ranked amateur in the world and made a splash early in his pro career, including a sixth place finish and a victory on the 2016 Web.com Tour. But after a solid rookie season on the PGA Tour and a near win in Greensboro, Schniederjans did not play as well the next year and struggled throughout 2018-19. He was T11 in the first stop in the Bahamas and is 42ndon the points list.
Recent UGA golfer JoeyGarberwas a 2018 Web.com Tour winner and was 19th in earnings to earn a PGA Tour card, but is back on the KF Tour after a tough rookie season. Garber, a St. Simons resident, made the cut in his first three starts this season, but was inconsistent in frequently windy conditions in the Bahamas and is 50th in points after a tie for 24th in Panama.
Wade Binfield, like Wilcox a former Clayton State golfer, was 55thin his first KF season last year and is 63rdafter making his first three cuts in 2020. Binfield, who enjoyed some success in Canada before joining the KF Tour full time, has settled in Fayetteville.
Atlanta resident Drew Weaver was 36thin his first full season on the KF Tour last year, and is 68thwith a tie for 23rdin the second event of 2020. Weaver won the 2007 British Amateur while on the golf team at Virginia Tech, and scored his most prominent professional win on the Canadian Tour in 2015. He played partial seasons on the Web.com Tour in 2017 and ’18 before gaining exempt status last year.
Seth Reeves, a Gwinnett County native and former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket, also had a tough time in the wind in his first two starts of 2020 and missed both cuts in the Bahamas. Reeves played respectably in his first two seasons on the KF Tour in 2017 and ’18, earning his PGA Card for 2018-19 with back-to-back top-5 finishes in the KF Finals. He tied for seventh iin Mississippi n his second start as a PGA Tour rookie, but struggled after that to finish well outside the top 150 in the FedExCup standings. Reeves was tied for fourth after 54 holes in Panama, but struggled in the final round and tied for 24th, and is 69thin points.
Tour veteran Erik Compton,who played two seasons on the UGA golf team, is back on the KF Tour for a fourth straight season after playing the PGA Tour from 2012-16. Compton, who has made more than 160 career starts on both tours, first played on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour in 2002, and had his best season in 2011, placing 13thon the money list with his only victory. Compton tied for 29thin the 2020 opener and is 74thon the points list.
Australian Jamie Arnold, an Atlanta resident in recent years, is playing his fourth season on the KF Tour, and had his best year in 2019, placing 38thon the money list. Arnold made both cuts in the Bahamas, but one rough day in the wind in each event has left him 87thin points.
Tuten missed his first three cuts in his rookie season on the KF Tour after winning a tournament last year on the LatinoAmerica Tour in Brazil and finishing ninth in earnings. Tuten, who played in college at Armstrong Atlantic and lives in Savannah, won the 2016 Georgia Open at Savannah’s Ford Plantation. Tuten tied for 13that Q-school in December to move up to the KF Tour.
Like his Georgia Tech teammates Schniederjans and Reeves, Anders Albertson is back on the KF Tour after playing as a rookie on the PGA Tour last year. Albertson, who grew up in Woodstock, had a breakthrough year in 2018, his third season on the Web.com Tour, winning an event during the regular season and placing second in a Finals event to finish third in earnings. He tied for fifth in his second start as a PGA Tour member, but after playing well in the Fall, had a tough time throughout 2019. Albertson has yet to play in 2020.
Tour veteran David Skinns had a runner-up finish on the Web.com Tour in 2017 and won in 2018 in Omaha, but enjoyed little success last year and began 2020 with a trio of missed cuts. Skinns, a native of England, played his college golf at Tennessee and lives in Suwanee.
Former Georgia Tech golfer Paul Haley finished 76thon the money list last year to narrowly miss retaining his exempt status, and made his 2020 debut last week in Panama, missing the cut. Haley had a win and a runner-up finish in his first season on the Web.com Tour in 2012, but struggled as a PGA Tour rookie in ‘13, and was off the Web.com Tour for four years before returning in 2019.
Nicholas Thompson, also a former Yellow Jacket, made his first start of the season in Panama after finishing outside the top 75 last year. Thompson has played on either the PGA or KF Tour since 2006, winning on the KF Tour in 2007 and placing second in three events since. Thompson tied for seventh in Panama to jump to 32ndin points
J.T. Griffin, a teammate of Haley at Georgia Tech, also made his first 2020 start in Panama and tied for 10th, moving up to 39thon the points list. Griffin played on the KF Tour in 2018 and ’19, and also began the ’19 season with a top-10 finish in his first start. Griffin, a North Carolina native who is living in Marietta, tied for 41stin the finals of qualifying last year to retrain status on the tour.
Augusta State’s Broc Everett, the 2018 NCAA champion, and former Georgia Open champion Samuel Del Val, an Atlanta resident, have limited status on the KF Tour this season.
Five of the first six events on the 2020 schedule will be played outside the U.S., with the lone American tournament in south Florida in mid-February. The tour makes back-to-back stops in Louisiana in late March before returning to the Landings in Savannah for its only Georgia tournament April 2-5.
New host sites are Lake Charles, La., Arlington, Tex., Huntsville, Ala., and one in Maine. Among the returning cities on the schedule are Nashville, Knoxville, Raleigh and Greenville.
The top 25 finishers on a new points list qualify for the 2020-21 PGA Tour, with 25 players from the three Finals tournaments joining them. The Finals will be played over three weeks in August in Boise, Columbus, Ohio, and Evansville.