PGA Tour veterans Spencer Levin, Grayson Murray in Korn Ferry qualifier

by | Nov 2, 2022 | PGA

The final version of the Korn Ferry Tour national qualifying tournament will begin on Friday at The Landings Golf and Athletic Club in Savannah. 

Next year, the process will bring PGA Tour cards back into the mix – not as many as before, but it’s still one final chance. 

The final stage will be four rounds but as soon as a player tees off, he will know he has at least conditional Korn Ferry Tour status for next season. 

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The medalist and anyone tied for first will receive full exempt status on the Korn Ferry Tour next season, Nos. 2-10 (plus ties) will be guaranteed starts through the first 12 events, and finishers 11-40 (plus ties) earn guaranteed starts through the first eight events of the season.

Everyone else who finished will get conditional status.

In the field are past PGA Tour members Grayson Murray, Spencer Levin, Wesley Bryan and Ryan Blaum, former University of Florida players Brett Stegmaier and Alejandro Tosti, all-time leading APGA winner Willie Mack III and First Coast residents Cody Black, Ben Kohles, Patrick Newcomb, Alan Wagner, Danny Walker and Thomas Walsh.

For the second year in a row, the final round will be streamed live on and on the NBC Sports App from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with two feature holes and a “bubble group.” 

The process began with pre-qualifying, plus first and second stages. 

Play-by-play host Steve Burkowski will be joined in the booth by analysts James Nitties and Justin Hueber, both of whom previously competed on the Korn Ferry Tour. They’ll be accompanied by on-course reporter Gary Christian and Hagan Parkman, who will handle the post-round interviews. 

The qualifying process undergoes changes next season. The top-five in the tournament will earn Tour cards, part of the changes made to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup and the Korn Ferry Finals. 

The top-70 on the FedEx Cup standings will advance to the three-tournament FedEx Cup Playoffs. After that, players who finished below No. 70 will have the fall events to climb back into the top-125 and keep their cards. 

PGA Tour players will no longer drop down into the Korn Ferry Finals and cards will be awarded to the top-30 players after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship. 

Teenage dreams 

Atthaya Thitikul, a 19-year-old from Thailand, became the second-youngest player to ascend to No. 1 in the women’s world ranking this week since it began in 2006. 

Thitikul got to the top without hitting a shot. She replaced Jin Young Ko of South Korea on a week in which the LPGA was off. Thitikul is in the limited-field Toto Japan Classic this week. 

Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul has become the second-youngest player to reach the top of the women's world ranking.

“It is very special to get to the top but it is much harder to retain,” Thitikul told the Associated Press. 

Her first full year on the LPGA Tour has been more consistent than superb. Thitikul has won twice — in California a week before the first major and in Arkansas — to go along with 12 other finishes in the top 10. 

She ended last year at No. 19 in the world after a two-win season on the Ladies European Tour and took advantage of strong play and injuries at the top. 

Nelly Korda, who started the year at No. 1, had surgery for a blood clot in her left arm and wound up missing four months. 

Ko began her season by winning the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore and had been No. 1 since the end of January. But she is dealing with an injury in her left wrist that kept her out for two months, and then she withdrew in her return at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea. 

That cleared the way for Thitikul, who has finished in the top 10 her last five starts. 

Thitikul is the fourth player to reach No. 1 without having won a major, joining Lydia Ko in 2015, Ai Miyazato in 2010 and Lorena Ochoa. 

Lydia Ko remains the youngest to be No. 1, getting there for the first time at age 17. 

Players tickets to go on sale 

Advance sales for past ticket-holders to the 2023 Players Championship will begin online Nov. 14, with a two-week window to purchase up to eight tickets per account. 

The Players will begin with practice rounds on March 7-8. The competitive rounds are March 9-12 at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. 

Fans flock around the 17th hole of the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass last year for completion of the first round on Saturday.

The early-access window opens at 10 a.m. on Nov. 14 and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 28. All tickets will be mobile. Previous ticket-holders will get email notifications on Nov. 14 at around 9:45 a.m. with an access code and a link to the purchasing site. 

Parking passes are sold separately and can be purchased during the early access window. Parking will not be sold on-site and all parking passes will be mobile-only. 

Up to two youths 15 years and younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult. The Players will offer complimentary and reduced-price tickets for active duty, retired, reserve, National Guard members and veterans, with information coming at a later date. 

Military Appreciation Day and a concert at the 17th hole of the Stadium Course will be on March 7. Details on the artist are coming later. 

Volunteer registration open 

The Players Championship opened applications for volunteer positions at the tournament this week at 

More than 2,000 volunteers are needed to help run the PGA Tour’s flagship event. 

“Running an event of this magnitude relies heavily on the support of great partners and dedicated volunteers,” said Houston Bowles, 2023 tournament chairman. “Northeast Florida has proven its solid track record of support in these areas through previous events, and we’re looking for that same great energy for this year’s tournament in March.” 

Volunteers at The Players are placed into committees, with jobs ranging from on-course duties like serving as a marshal or walking scorer to support roles that involve assisting players and fans, such as admissions and player/caddie services.  

Volunteers receive a Players branded golf shirt, jacket, hat and pin included with the $99 registration fee and early access to purchase Stadium Passes for the tournament. 

Those who work 36 or more hours will be eligible for discounted rates to play at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course. 


Event: Worldwide Technology Championship, Thursday-Sunday, El Camaleon Golf Course, Mayakoba, Mexico. 

At stake: $8.2 million purse ($1,476,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner). 

Defending champion: Viktor Hovland. 

TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Saturday, 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, 2-5 p.m.). 

Area players entered: Harris English, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Patton Kizzire, Philip Knowles, Russell Knox, David Lingmerth, Keith Mitchell, J.T. Poston, Sam Ryder, Greyson Sigg. 

Notable: Hovland had a 62 in the third round and went on to beat Carlos Ortiz by four shots. … Also playing are Collin Morikawa, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Jason Day and Cameron Champ. … The Tour moves to Houston next week and then to the Sea Island Club for the RSM Classic Nov. 17-20 to close out the Tour’s fall schedule. 


Event: TOTO Japan Classic, Wednesday-Saturday, Seta Golf Course, Shiga, Japan. 

At stake: $2 million purse ($300,000 to the winner). 

Defending champion: Ai Suzuki. 

TV: Golf Channel (Wednesday-Thursday, 11 p.m.-2 a.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.). 

Area players entered: Chella Choi. 

Notable: Suzuki’s 67 in the final round gave her a three-shot victory over Hyo Joo Kim. 


Event: TimberTech Championship, Friday-Sunday, Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club, Boca Raton. 

At stake: $2.2 million purse ($350,000 to the winner).  

Defending champion: Stephen Alker. 

TV: Golf Channel (Friday-Saturday, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 6-9 p.m.). 

Area players entered: Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh. 

Notable: This is the final event to qualify for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup. The field of 72 will be cut to the top-36 on the points list, who will advance to the Schwab Cup Championship Nov. 10-13 at the Phoenix Country Club. … Alker won the first of his five career titles on the PGA Tour Champions by beating Furyk and Miguel Angel Jimenez by two shots. … Alker has a lead of nearly $550,000 in the Schwab Cup. 

Contact Garry Smits at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @GSmitter

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