Michael Gligic holds KFT Championship lead; who missed cut, made moves in PGA Tour card bid?
While vying for one of 17 PGA Tour cards at stake in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, it’s crucial to at least make the cut. It helps, though, to do even more.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat lost his Tour card after failing to record a top-25 for most of the past season. He got a new caddie at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and then the next week at the Wyndham Championship, the Tour’s regular-season finale, the 33-year-old Thai finished T-13 to crack the FedExCup’s top 200 and earn a spot in the KFT Finals.
“I needed a Thai caddie on the bag … I needed to speak some Thai,” Aphibarnrat told PGATour.com after Round 2 of the KFT Championship. “I was not enjoying my work at all in the last year … when you’re playing well, you’re not celebrating with anyone. When you’re playing bad, you can’t explain anything to anyone. It wasn’t a good time for me, the whole year.”
Coming into the KFT Championship 72nd in the KFT Finals points list, he needed a big week to have any chance at securing another Tour card. And after shooting 67-65, the four-time DP World Tour winner is T-2 at 12 under with Byeong Hun An and Will Gordon. An and Gordon already earned Tour status for 2022-23.
First-round leader Michael Gligic still sits on top of the leaderboard after 36 holes at 14 under. The Canadian already clinched his Tour card, however, the player who finishes first on the Finals’ points list will earn full Tour status and a spot in The Players and U.S. Open.
Camilo Villegas shot a second-round 10-under 62 — a course record at Victoria National. The 40-year-old Columbian jumped 52 spots on the leaderboard to T-5 at 11 under and has a strong chance of locking up a Tour card this weekend. Ben Martin also shot a 62 on Friday. After starting with a 75, Martin, who came into this week inside the Finals 25, moved 89 spots up the leaderboard to T-20 at 7 under.
Joining Villegas for a share of fifth place is Austin Eckroat, who like Villegas and Aphibarnrat needs to move almost 50 spots on the points list. Eckroat, a member of Oklahoma State’s 2018 national championship team, has played on the Korn Ferry Tour since turning professional in 2021.
Entering this week, Patrick Fishburn was the No. 26 in the Finals 25, but he’s slated to move up as he sits T-7, four shots back of the lead. Other bubble players such as Grayson Murray, Aaron Baddeley, Sean O’Hair and Hurly Long squeezed inside the cut line, while Carson Young and Brent Grant are T-10 at 9 under.
After the first round, Fishburn, Young and Grant, along with Tano Goya (T-10) and Eric Cole (T-7) moved into the projected top 25, while Long moved out with a first-round 71. Kelly Kraft, who came into this event 32nd on the points list and moved inside Thursday after an opening 68, withdrew before Round 2.
Scott Harington was 18th on the points list and needed a par on the final hole Friday to make the cut. However, his par putt from several feet burned the edge of the cup. He still has a chance to stay in the Finals 25, but will need an abundance of dominoes to fall this weekend.
A few who were trunk-slamming Friday and likely know their fate for next season two days early are Chris Gotterup, Norman Xiong, Seung-Yul Noh, Satoshi Kodaira, William McGirt and Min Woo Lee.
With another two rounds left in Indiana, a player moving up or down on the leaderboard can be a career-changer.