December 11, 2019

Numerous alums ready for Korn Ferry Tour Q-School

WINTER GARDEN, Fla.—The final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament kicks off this week from December 12-15 at Orange County National, with 25 PGA TOUR Series-China alums eager to compete for guaranteed Korn Ferry Tour starts in 2020. In 2018, five alums managed to finish inside the top 40 to secure guaranteed starts on the “Path to the PGA TOUR.” China’s Yechun Yuan had the most-remarkable Q-School journey in 2018, passing through second-stage qualifying, advancing to the finals as one of the last players to qualifying and then doing the same at the finals, among the last player to secure Korn Ferry Tour starts.

 

This year, 2018 Order of Merit winner Callum Tarren will be in the field, while veterans Mark Baldwin and Yikeun Chang are also looking to make a full return to the Korn Ferry Tour. In addition, finishers 2-10 from this year’s PGA TOUR Series-China’s Order of Merit will also be competing for a chance to improve their status and hopefully follow in the footsteps of China’s Xinjun Zhang, who will play his second full season on the PGA TOUR in 2020.

 

Here is a full overview of the 25 PGA TOUR Series-China alums in the field this week:

 

Joey Lane

Year(s) in China: 2019

In his lone season, Lane played in all 13 events, winning once, at the Dongguan Open, and posting one additional top-10. He finished 10th on the final Order of Merit.

 

Cyril Bouniol

Year(s) in China: 2019

He made history by becoming the first European player to win on the PGA TOUR Series-China after winning the Suzhou Open. Entered the season-ending event ranked fifth on the Order of Merit and finished solo fourth at the Macau Championship to bump ahead of Luke Kwon and move into the fourth position. The Frenchman earned 2020 Korn Ferry Tour membership with a solid four top-10s in addition to his victory in his first season in China.

 

Ryan Siegler

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

Siegler finished 39th on the Order of Merit in 2018 and advanced to the finals via early Qualifying Tournament stage play. Appeared nine events in 2019, recording one top-10, at the Haikou Classic, and finished 65th on the final Order of Merit.

 

Joel Thelen

Year(s) in China: 2019

In his sole year in China, played in eight events and finished 101st on the final Order of Merit. He had a solid, two-week stretch late in the season, following a tie for 26th in Guangzhou with a tie for 25th in Dongguan for his best results of the season.

 

Callum Tarren

Year(s) in China: 2016, 2018, 2019

Tarren finished eighth on the Order of Merit in his first year in China in 2016 and then had a breakthrough year in 2018, winning the Order of Merit in dramatic fashion. The Englishman made a strong comeback at the final tournament of the year, Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay Open, finishing solo second at the event to supplant Charlie Saxon to capture the money title and Player of the Year honors. Despite not winning, he was the picture of consistency, playing in all 14 tournaments without missing a cut. He had four second-place finishes and nine overall top-10s to earn fully-exempt Korn Ferry Tour membership in 2019. After a disappointing 2019 Korn Ferry Tour season, he returned to China to play the final three events of the season.

 

Richard Jung

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

Improved on an 11th-place finish on the Order of Merit in 2018 to finish sixth in 2019 after playing in only seven events. He won his first Series title, at the 2018 Suzhou Open, and won again in 2019 at the Beijing Championship. The Canadian headed into the final event of 2019 ranked 11th on the Order of Merit, but a solo third finish at the Macau Championship helped him finish sixth on the money list and a spot into the Korn Ferry Qualifying Tournament final stage.

 

Yuwa Kosaihira

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

Kosaihira finished fourth on the Order of Merit in 2018 to become the first player from Japan to earn Korn Ferry Tour membership via the PGA TOUR Series-China. Then in 2019, he finished eighth on the money list after recording three top-10s. Despite not winning an event, Kosaihira recorded two solo seconds in 2019, including a narrow playoff loss at the Haikou Championship.  

 

Zhengkai Bai

Year(s) in China: 2019

While balancing schoolwork at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and professional golf for the entire season, Bai managed to finish seventh on the Order of Merit after recording two top-10s and a victory in only eight appearances. He won his first professional tournament in only his third Series start and also recorded a solo second and a tie for ninth.

 

Kevin Techakanokboon

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

Finished 19th on the Order of Merit in 2018 after winning the Zhuhai Championship late in the season. In 2019, he played in all 13 events and finished ninth on the final Order of Merit to earn 2020 Korn Ferry Tour membership for the first time. He recorded four top-10s, including a dramatic playoff victory, for his second career title in Nantong in May.

 

Matt Gilchrest

Year(s) in China: 2019

In his only season in China, the University of Auburn alum played in 12 events, made nine cuts and recorded three top-10s to finish 21st on the Order of Merit. His best finish was a runner-up performance early in the season.

 

John Young Kim

Year(s) in China: 2015, 2016, 2019 

Played in 28 events in three seasons, finishing 25th on the Order of Merit in his first season in 2015 and competing in just three events in 2016. In 2019, Kim missed only one cut in 13 events and recorded four top-10s to finish 23rd on the Order of Merit.

 

Samuel Del Val

Year(s) in China: 2019

In his first year in China after several years on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, Del Val made 10 of 11 cuts and recorded three top 10s to finish 28th on the Order of Merit.

 

Stuart Macdonald

Year(s) in China: 2019

The Canadian made 11 of 13 cuts in his first year in China and finished 32nd on the Order of Merit. He ended inside the top 25 on eight occasions but recorded just one top-10.

 

Frederick Wedel

Year(s) in China: 2019

Wedel was solid in his first year in China, making 11 of 12 cuts. He also recorded a pair of top 10s and finished 34th on the final Order of Merit.

 

Peter Creighton

Year(s) in China: 2019

In his first season in China, Creighton made seven of 11 cuts, posted two top-25s and finished 85th on the final Order of Merit.

 

David Kocher

Year(s) in China: 2019

Starting his first season in China with only conditional status, the University of Maryland alum Monday-qualified into the season-opening event in Chongqing, finishing third and went on to earn Korn Ferry Tour status by finishing third on the Order of Merit. He had a breakthrough win in Haikou to earn full PGA TOUR Series-China status for the remainder of the season. Kocher recorded three additional top-10s, including a runner-up finish, to round out his rookie season.

 

Trevor Sluman

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

Played in all 27 events from 2018-2019. Made all 14 cuts in 2018 and went on to finish ninth on the Order of Merit. Building on a great season in 2018, the University of Louisville alum finished No. 2 on the money list in 2019, with one victory, two runner-up finishes and two additional top-10s to garner 2020 Korn Ferry Tour membership. The start to his season was a signal of the kind of year he would have, recording two-top 10s and a victory in the first three events.

 

Luke Kwon

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

After playing in only three PGA TOUR Series-China events in 2018, the 27-year-old decided to play a full season alongside good friend and former University of Oklahoma teammate Max McGreevy, who won the 2019 Order of Merit. Kwon started the season with a top-10 in Chongqing before getting his breakthrough victory at the Qinhuangdao Championship midway through the year. He recorded four additional top-10s late in the season, which was enough for him to finish fifth on the Order of Merit to also join McGreevy on the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour.

 

Stephen Lewton

Year(s) in China: 2018, 2019

The Englishman had remarkably similar seasons in both 2018 and 2019. He played in 13 events each year and recorded four top-10s and a playoff loss both years. Lewton finished 14th on the Order of Merit in 2018 and 13th in 2019.

 

Nick Voke

Year(s) in China: 2018

In only five starts in 2018, he turned in one of the finest seasons in PGA TOUR Series-China history. The New Zealander didn’t miss a cut, he won three times and added an additional top-five to finish third on the Order of Merit and earn 2019 Korn Ferry Tour membership. In 20 rounds in China, he was under-par in 16 of them and was a combined 54-under in those tournaments, becoming only the fourth player in Series’ history to record three wins during a season.

 

Mark Baldwin

Year(s) in China: 2016

In 2016, he played in 10 tournaments and finished 19th on the Order of Merit. He had a runner-up finish and one other top-10 effort on his way to RMB 217,188 in earnings. His strong conclusion to his season helped him move to inside the top 20 on the Order of Merit, into 19th place.

 

Yi Keun Chang

Year(s) in China: 2014, 2015, 2016

He made 23 of 24 cuts between 2014 and 2016. In his first season in China, the former USC Trojan recorded three top-10s late in the season to finish 22nd on the Order of Merit. He made all 10 cuts in 2015, including four top-10s, to finish ninth on the Order of Merit. Chang returned in 2016 but played a greatly reduced schedule, also playing on the Asian Tour. In only five appearances, he finished 35th on the Order of Merit, a third-place effort his best.

 

Brett Drewitt

Year(s) in China: 2014

He had a remarkable first season in China that included one victory and five additional top-10s. Drewitt became the first Australian to win on the PGA TOUR Series-China after he defeated prominent Chinese golfers Haotong Li and Xinjun Zhang in a playoff to win in Wuhan. In addition, the Australian made all 12 cuts and finished inside the top 25 on 10 occasions to end third on the Order of Merit to earn 2015 Korn Ferry Tour membership.

 

Alex Kang

Year(s) in China: 2015, 2016, 2019

The American had a solid first season playing in China, making seven out of eight cuts including a pair of top-20s to finish 55th on the Order of Merit. His breakthrough year came in 2016, when he recorded one victory and had five top-10s to finish third on the Order of Merit to earn 2016 Korn Ferry Tour membership. This season, he played an additional two events.

 

Daniel Nisbet

Year(s) in China: 2014, 2016

He earned his breakthrough victory by overcoming a final round, five-shot deficit to defeat Alex Kang in a playoff at the 2016 Clearwater Bay Open. Had one additional top-10 in nine starts to finish 15th on the Order of Merit. In 2014, the Australian played just five events, and recorded a pair of top-25 finishes.