Michael Gligic leads Korn Ferry Tour Championship; Chris Gotterup’s 78 capped with wild triple
With 17 PGA Tour cards on the line at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, it’s imperative to open on the right foot.
Many are feeling good about their chances of notching 2022-23 Tour status after Thursday’s round at Victoria National Golf Course in Newburgh, Indiana, while some will need to go low on Friday just to extend their Tour hopes for another two days.
With an opening 64, Canadian Michael Gligic holds a two-stroke lead at 8 under. The 32-year-old secured his Tour card last week at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the second of three KFT Finals events.
A six-player tie for second includes Brent Grant (No. 31 on the points list), Justin Suh, Carl Yuan, Tano Goya, Will Gordon and Eric Cole (No. 47). Yuan and Suh already clinched cards by finishing in the top 25 of the KFT regular-season points list. Gordon secured his last week and currently holds the Finals 25’s No. 1 spot.
Eight players have already notched a spot inside the Finals 25. The player who finishes No. 1 in the season-long points race will be fully exempt for the 2022-23 Tour season and claim a spot in The Players and U.S. Open.
Players who came into this week inside the top 25 such as Kyle Westmoreland, Nicholas Lindheim, Sean O’Hair, Brice Garnett, Hurly Long and Nick Hardy all shot under par Thursday. On the flip side of the coin, Ben Martin, Norman Xiong, Satoshi Kodaira, Thomas Detry and Scott Harrington shot over par. The projected cut line is 1 under.
Patrick Fishburn, who sits No. 26 on the Finals points list, is making a push into the top 25 with an opening 67.
Chris Gotterup sits two spots out of the Finals 25. However, his hopes of moving up took a big hit Thursday.
The reigning Haskins and Nicklaus awards winner is T-131 after an opening 78, which was capped by a bizarre sequence on No. 18 that led to a triple bogey.
Shortly after a double on No. 16, Gotterup hit from the drop zone twice on No. 18. His first shot found the water, and the second almost did the same. However, his ball traveled just far enough and landed on the rocks adjacent to the green. Rather than take a third drop, he decided to chip out. The New Jersey native then impressively plopped his shot on the green and converted his putt for a triple.
It will take a complete turnaround for Gotterup — and many others — on Friday to move inside the cut line and keep his 2022-23 PGA Tour dreams alive.