With only three weeks left in the season on what was known until recently as the Web.com Tour, only one golfer with Georgia ties has locked up a spot on the 2019-20 PGA Tour, with several others still in position for a top-25 finish.
Henrik Norlander, who helped lead Augusta State to back-to back national championships, won a tournament last month to earn his return to the PGA Tour.
Vince Whaley, a rookie on the tour and a recent Georgia Tech golfer, is 19th on the points list and needs to stay inside the top 25 over the next three weeks to move up to the PGA Tour for the upcoming season, which begins in mid-September.
Two other Georgians competing on what is now the Korn Ferry (or KF) Tour are 30th and 31st on the points list, with four others inside the top 75, the number for retaining exempt status on the tour for 2020 while also qualifying for the KF Finals, which will award another 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2019-20 season.
Here’s a look at the Georgians competing on the KF Tour this season and how they stand with three weeks left in the regular season. The Finals begin August 15 in Columbus, Ohio, and will include an event in Boise before the Tour Championship Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Evansville.
Henrik Norlander, 8 (Augusta State/Augusta resident): The Swedish native survived a 5-man playoff last month in Wichita to lock up a third season on the PGA Tour. He previously played in 2013 and ’16 but was unable to retain his status for the following seasons. He almost regained his status later in 2016, but lost in a 5-way playoff in the RSM Classic at Sea Island GC after being awarded a sponsor invitation.
This season has been the best of Norlander’s five on the former Web.com Tour, where he finished between 32 and 50 in his three previous full seasons. His lone win prior to this year came in the Finals in 2015 at the course that will host this season’s Tour Championship. In addition to his playoff win, Norlander made two strong runs at victories, finishing third in Nashville, one shot out of playoff, and tying for fourth in Kansas City, two behind the winner.
Vince Whaley, 19 (Georgia Tech/Atlanta): The 2017 Georgia Tech grad has enjoyed an outstanding rookie season, twice ending up just one shot behind the winner. He was the runner-up in the second of two season-opening events in the Bahamas and placed third last month in Springfield, Ill. In between, he tied for seventh in Florida early in the season, and his stats back up the overall quality of his play. He is fifth in the all-around category with three events left on the regular season schedule.
Drew Weaver, 30 (Atlanta): The former British Amateur champion got his season off to a successful start with a runner-up finish in Colombia, and he added a second top 10 in Nashville. Weaver spent most of the last four seasons in Canada and played limited Web.com schedules in 2016 and ’17.
Jamie Arnold, 31 (Atlanta): The Australian native has made multiple appearances on leader boards this season, with eight top-20 finishes in 18 starts. His best effort was a tie for fourth last week in Omaha, and he tied for sixth earlier in July in a tournament near Lake Erie, finishing only two behind the winner. This is his third season on the tour, with Arnold just outside the top 50 as a rookie in 2017.
Erik Compton, 42 (UGA): This is the ninth season on the tour for the former Bulldog along with five years on the PGA Tour from 2012-16. Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, has played on the tour off and off since 2002, with his lone win coming in Mexico in 2011. He nearly scored his second victory this year in Wichita, but was among the four players who lost to Norlander in the playoff. Compton has three other top-15 finishes, and at the age of 43 is looking for one more shot at the PGA Tour.
Billy Kennerly, 55 (Alpharetta): The former Clemson golfer has been a consistent performer since joining the Web.com Tour in 2017, finishing 45 and 58 on the money list his first two seasons. He has a pair of sixth place finishes this season, but will likely need a strong showing in the Finals to move up to the PGA Tour. One of just a handful of tour members who grew up in Georgia.
Wade Binfield, 63 (Clayton State/Fayetteville): After competing primarily in Canada the last four seasons, is playing his first full season after making 12 starts on the Web.com Tour in 2017 and ’18. Tied for ninth early in the season in the Bahamas and Savannah, and has three more top 25s, but none since mid-May.
Paul Haley, 64 (Georgia Tech): Made an impressive rookie debut in 2012, finishing 12th on the money list with a win and two runner-up finishes. But he struggled in his only PGA Tour season in 2013, and did not play any better the next few seasons on the Web.com. This has been his best year since 2012, with a tie for fourth in Kansas City and a pair of top 15s,
Willy Wilcox, 94 (Clayton State): After opening the year with back-to-back ties for fourth in the two tournaments in the Bahamas, Wilcox missed five of his next seven cuts and hasn’t played since early May. Played the tour from 2011-13, winning in Valdosta in 2013 to move up to the PGA Tour, where he spent four seasons, finishing 75th in the FedExCup standings in 2015. He was back on the Web.com Tour last year, placing 39th.
Nicholas Thompson, 97 (Georgia Tech): Had some success on the PGA Tour during his seven seasons there between 2006 and ’15. But after nearly regaining his card on the Web.com in 2017, played sparingly in ’18 and has had mixed results this season, missing 13 of 20 cuts. Tied for 12th in Savannah and for sixth in Chicago, but will need a big finish to move into the top 75.
J.T. Griffin, 110 (Georgia Tech/Marietta): A fifth place finish early this season in Florida has enabled him to play in most of the tournaments on the schedule, but he has made only four of 13 cuts since. Playing in his second season after making nine starts last year, his best recent showing was a T24 in Greenville, S.C.
Michael Hebert, 122 (Atlanta): After placing between 77 and 100 in his first four seasons on the tour, has dropped out of the top 100 this year. The former Auburn golfer has made 11 of 19 cuts, but his best finish is a tie for 19th early in the season in Panama.
David Skinns, 141 (Suwanee): Was 41st and 58th on the money list the last two years, relying almost entirely on one big week both seasons – a victory in 2017 and a late runner-up finish last year. He’s missed 14 of 17 cuts this year, with his best finish a tie for 10th in Kansas City. Skinns, a native of England who played his college golf at Tennessee, had a successful run on the defunct Hooters Tour, and is in his fifth season on the KF Tour.
Lee McCoy, 142 (UGA): Made a splash while he was a member of the Georgia golf team, tying for fourth in his home town PGA Tour event in Tampa in 2016 on the course he grew up playing. Turned pro after graduating in 2017 and immediately won on the Canadian Tour, ending the year by earning medalist honors in Web.com qualifying. But after a so-so first season on the tour, has struggled in 2019, with only a pair of finishes around 25th as his best showings.
Jimmy Beck, 174 (Columbus/Kennesaw State): Has gotten into about half the tournaments on the schedule, making five of 11 cuts with a T24 in Greenville his top finish. Former Georgia Amateur champion and Georgia Open runner-up played on the LatinoAmerica Tour in 2016 and ’17 before earning limited Web.com status for 2018.
Cordele native Spence Fulford, who played in college at Georgia Southern, and Dawsonville’s Blake Palmer have made five starts each, with Fulford making three cuts and Palmer one. Augusta’s Emmanuel Kountakis, who played two seasons at Mercer before transferring to Augusta, has gotten into seven events, but has yet to make a cut.