Former Georgia Bulldog Brendon Todd earned a return to the PGA Tour for the 2019-20 season by placing seventh on the money list of the KF Finals, which concluded on Labor Day in Evansville.
Also regaining his PGA Tour status was ex-Georgia Tech golfer Richy Werenski, but his situation is only minimally improved over what it would been had he not tie for 24thin the KF Finals.
Former Augusta State standout Henrik Norlander and recent Georgia Tech golfer Vince Whaley had already earned their PGA Tour cards for the upcoming season by placing in the top 25 of the KF regular season, and both improved their positions on the priority list for the 50 KF qualifiers.
The other 12 golfers with Georgia ties who competed in the KF Finals finished outside the top 25, with four 2018-19 PGA Tour members having to return to the KF Tour in 2020, including a trio of recent members of the Georgia Tech golf team.
Three PGA Tour veterans who fell short of a top-25 finish will still have some status on the 2019-20 PGA Tour, while all five Georgians who finished between 26 and 75 on the 2019 KF money list will be exempt on that tour next season.
Todd, who has lived in Georgia since his four years as a Bulldog, has exempt status on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 2016 season. He has played limited schedules the past three seasons as a former PGA Tour winner after losing his status following a dismal showing in 2015-16.
This will be the start of a second career comeback for Todd, who won as a Nationwide Tour rookie in 2008 and got off to a respectable start as a PGA Tour rookie in ’09 before going almost two years without making a cut on either tour.
Todd earned his return to the PGA Tour by finishing first in the finals of Q-school late in 2011, and remained on the tour for the next five seasons, winning the Byron Nelson Classic in 2014 and qualifying for the Tour Championship.
But he made only four of 29 cuts in 2016 and again lost his exempt status, and made just one of 15 cuts in 2017 and ’18 before showing some signs of improvement this past season. Top-20 finishes at Quail Hollow in his native state of North Carolina and in the John Deere Classic got him into the top 200 on the FedExCup points list, and earned him a spot in the KF Finals.
Todd ensured his return to the PGA Tour with a tie for second in the KF Finals opener in Columbus, Ohio, and followed with a T20 in Boise. He finished T7 on the Finals points list and begins the 2019-20 PGA Tour 14thof 50 on the priority list for players who qualified via the KF Tour and Finals.
Norlander is 17 of 50, moving up from 11thto ninth among the top 25 from the regular season in the Finals. He won for the second time in his five years on theWeb.com/ KF Tour this season and had two other finishes of fourth or better. He closed out the season with a tie for seventh in Evansville and will be back on the PGA Tour for a third season after playing there in 2013 and ’16. Norlander, a native of Sweden, helped lead Augusta State to consecutive NCAA Championships in 2010 and ’11 and has since settled in Augusta.
Whaley got the 25thand final spot from the KF regular season points list to qualify for the PGA Tour as a 2019 rookie, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the early season event played at the Abaco Club in the Bahamas, which just got hit by Hurricane Dorian. He followed with a pair of top-25 finishes in the Finals and has a little momentum going into his rookie season on the PGA Tour, which begins next week at the Greenbrier. Whaley, who is living in the Atlanta area, moved up from 25 to 19 in the Finals and is rankled 37thof 50 to start the season.
Werenski begins the season ranked 50thof 50 after tying for 24th in the KF Finals following a T7 Monday in Evansville. He finished 126ththis season on the PGA Tour, and would have been the first player on the priority list after the 50 KF qualifiers, improving his status exactly one spot. However, by finishing in the top 25 at Finals, Werenski will be part of a regular re-shuffling of the KF qualifiers, and if he plays well this Fall, can significantly improve his status, which will get him into more events in 2020.
This was Werenski’s third season on the PGA Tour, and he has placed 108, 101 and 126 in the FedExCup, struggling in 2019 after a strong start last Fall that included a third place finish behind fellow former Yellow Jacket Matt Kuchar in Mayakoba. Werenski shot 66 in Greensboro in the final round of the 2018-19 regular season, but finished two points behind Pet Perez for the final fully exempt spot from the FedExCup.
Among those losing their status for the 2019-20 PGA Tour season were three more recent Georgia Tech golfers, all from metro Atlanta. Ollie Schniederjans, Anders Albertson andSeth Reeves all finished well outside the top 125 on the PGA Tour and failed to finish in the top 25 of the KF Finals. All three will be back on the KF Tour in 2020.
Schniederjans, who was 38thas a PGA Tour rookie in 2017 and 87ththe next year, plummeted to 180 this past season, with a tie for 16thin the Players Championship his only top-25 finish. Schniederjans, who made only 11 of 28 cuts, made all three cuts in the KF Finals, but finished around 50thin the first two tournaments and was dead last among those who made the cut in Evansville. He was seventh in his only season on the Web.com Tour in 2016, winning once.
Albertson spent three seasons on the Web.com Tour, finishing third on the money list in 2018 with a victory and a runner-up finish. He was 50thin the FedExCup standings after the Fall of the 2018-19 season, but struggled for all of 2019 and finished 172 on the points list. He made two of three cuts on the KF Finals, but his best finish was a tie for 43rd.
Reeves also got off to a solid start last Fall, but like Albertson, enjoyed no success at all in 2020 and wound up 188thon the points list. He played well for three rounds in the first two KF Finals events, but wound up tied for 37thin both after poor final rounds before missing the cut in Evansville. Reeves was 60 and 66 in his two seasons on the Web.com Tour, qualifying for the PGA Tour with a strong showing in the 2018 Finals.
Also returning to the KF Tour in 2020 is recent Georgia Bulldog Joey Garber. After a tie for 11thin Boise, Garber was 22ndon the points list coming into the third of three events, but could no better than a tie for 60thin Evansville and fell to 37thin points. Garber was 170thas a PGA Tour rookie, with his lone strong showing in a non-opposite field event a tie for seventh in Minnesota. Garber, a St. Simons Island resident, was a tournament winner in his only Web.com season in 2018 and finished among the top 25.
Stewart Cink, Harris English and Jonathan Byrd will have varying degrees of status for 2019-20 after falling short of top-25 finishes in the KF Finals.
Cink, who played in two of the three events, was 179thon the PGA Tour this season, but after missing two months with a bad back, should be eligible for a limited medical extension. Cink, who played at Georgia Tech and lives in Duluth, also can use his top-50 status on the career money list, but with several years left before he turns 50, he may want to save the one-year exemption. Cink made only 16 starts this past season, with his best showing a T20 in the British Open. He should not have any trouble getting sponsor exemptions if he bypasses the career money list exemption.
English, a former Georgia Bulldog and St. Simons resident, will have limited status after finishing just inside the top 150 in the FedExCup at 149. It was his third straight disappointing season in a row after five successful seasons to start his PGA Tour career that included two tournament titles and two top-20 regular season finishes. But he needed a final round 64 at Greensboro to crack the top 150 this year. He tied for 14thin the KF Finals opener in Columbus and was just inside the top 25 in points on the back nine in Evansville, but offset three birdies on the final nine with five bogeys to finish 26thin the tournament and 29thon the final points list.
Byrd tied for 20thin Boise and was 31stin points coming into the Evansville event, but missed the cut and dropped to 48th. He narrowly missed the top 150 in the FedExCup, finishing 151stafter missing the cut in Greensboro. Byrd, a St. Simons resident, has not been fully exempt since 2013 and has not been the same player since undergoing wrist surgery early that year. Prior to that, he won five times in his first 11 seasons on the PGA Tour.
Jamie Arnold, Wade Binfield, Erik Compton, Drew Weaver andBilly Kennerly will all be back on the KF Tour next year after finishing outside the top 25 in the Finals.
Arnold, an Australian native who lives in Atlanta, tied for 11thin Columbus and was 18thin points coming into Evansville, but missed the cut and dropped to 36th.
Binfield, a Fayetteville resident and former Clayton State golfer, made the first two cuts, placing T45 and T51, but missed the third. He was 55thin the regular season.
Compton, a veteran of both the PGA and KF Tours, only made the cut in Columbus, and the former Georgia Bulldog will be back on the KF Tour next year at the age of 40.
Weaver, an Atlanta resident, made two of three cuts, but did not finish in the top 50 in either tournament, and returns to the KF Tour after placing 36thin his first full season,
Alpharetta’s Kennerly has placed 45th, 58thand 50thin his three seasons on the tour, but has never played well enough in the Finals to move up. He missed the first two cuts this year and was outside the top 50 in Evansville.