- USGA photo
got a taste of the anguish that comes every year at Tour School, as aspiring professionals walk the razor's edge of attaining job security and going back to the drawing board.
Fortunately for him, he has a safety net.
The Duke University senior was among 12 players whose fate was determined by a single putt on Sunday. The group finished four rounds of Korn Ferry Final Stage Tour Qualifying at 11 under par after four rounds at Orange County National in Florida.
Eaton shot a final-round 5-under 67 -- his best round of the four -- to give himself a chance. He then sat and watched as the remaining players finished their rounds, hoping that he would stay inside the top 40 and earn Korn Ferry status for 2020.
Professional Zach Zaback was also at 11 under and on the cut line, tied for 40th, but when he birdied the final hole, he effectively took the cut line with him to 12 under, and just like that Eaton and 11 others were left to ponder their options for next year.
Eaton had already planned to finish his degree at Duke regardless of his finish Sunday, so he will return to Durham for one more run with the Blue Devils, armed with the experience gained at Tour School.
“It’s a weird type of pressure,” he said of his first Tour School experience. “I definitely feel like I’m a more mature player than I realized. I feel like I can hang with these guys.”
Eaton was one of two amateurs in the field, along with Andy Spencer of Kansas, who finished tied for 92nd at 5 under. Spencer struggled Saturday but rebounded with a 64 on Sunday.
A third amateur, former Michigan State player Donnie Trosper, made it into the Final Stage but turned pro after the Second Stage tournament. He finished tied for 134th at 1 over par.
Braden Thornberry, the 2018 Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Amateur Player of the Year, was the co-medalist along with Curtis Thompson at 21 under.
Other players missing out on Korn Ferry status included former NCAA champion Broc Everett, Spencer Levin, Chase Koepka (whose brother Brooks is World No. 1), and Brandon Wu, whose 2019 included an NCAA Championship at Stanford, followed by becoming the first player in 52 years to open qualify for both the U.S. and British Opens.
ABOUT THE PGA TOUR Q-School
72-hole stroke play tournament for professionals and
for amateurs who have advanced through the second
stage of PGA TOUR Q-School. The top five finishers and
ties at Final Stage will earn PGA TOUR cards, while
other finishers will receive various levels of membership
status on the Korn Ferry Tour.
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