Alex Weiss competing in Chile in 2019 (PGA Tour photo)
Alex Weiss has been toiling on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica for the last two years, earning just over $13,000. But the 25-year-old from Ohio has continued to improve since turning pro in 2018 after graduating from Marshall University.
During a two-year period made more difficult due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Weiss took advantage of opportunities in the U.S. -- winning the Ohio State Open in 2020 and the Colorado Open in 2021.
Weiss credits the Korn Ferry Tour Stage II victory at Southern Hills in Brooksville, Florida to improved confidence and a new driver. After cracking his old model last winter, the new driver he ordered in February didn't show up until July. To bridge the gap, he was using a driver donated by two members at The Country Club of Winter Haven in Florida. The shaft belonged to one member and the driver head to another.
Once his new driver arrived in July, he started to see an upswing in results. A solid late summer with three top 20 finishes in the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, including an event in Mexico where everyone "got their teeth kicked in" set him up for his Colorado Open triumph. It was a win that snuck up on him. "I walked off the green expecting someone to be 20-under, and was shocked that I was leading by a shot."
After watching the final group miss birdie chances, Weiss' score of 19-under had secured the $100,000 paycheck, the biggest of his career by far.
While Weiss tends to carry his own bag in Latinoamerica events, his former college teammate at Marshall, Cole Moore, has been instrumental in Weiss' preparation and execution recently. "We make a solid game plan around the courses. He keeps me confident - hitting good mid-irons and putts. He keeps me away from risky situations."
Competing against the likes of Jonathan Byrd, a five-time PGA Tour winner, down the stretch of his Korn Ferry Stage II victory didn't seem to rattle Weiss. "It's always nice to start seeing your name around great and accomplished players like that," he said. "It's just more confirmation that when I play like that I can compete at any level."
Weiss will have a dose of real-life before heading to Savannah for Korn Ferry Finals. He just moved houses, but he's looking forward to getting to the gym and also finding some one-day money games in the Orlando area to keep him sharp. In addition, he'll spend time practicing. "There's no better place to hone your game than Country Club of Winter Haven," he said.
When reflecting on the last few months, Weiss said, "Something has to happen. You have to come back to Earth at some point." He's hoping his ride continues for a little bit longer.
STAGE II QUALIFYING RESULTS
Southern Hills Plantation -- Brooksville, FL
UNM Championship Course -- Albuquerque, NM
Tom Lovelady shot 66-69-65-69 to win by five shots. The Alabama grad played on the PGA Tour in 2018, 2019, and 2020. His best finish was a T-2 in the 2019 Barbasol Championship.
Scott Harrington and Dylan Naidoo both shot 66 in their fourth rounds. Harrington, the 40-year-old journeyman, jumped 25 spots to finish T-14. Naidoo’s 66 helped him reach 2-under par. His birdie on the final hole pushed him above the cut line.
RTJ Highlands/Marshwood -- Dothan, AL
Chandler Phillips capped up his final round with three straight birdies to beat 2019 US Amateur champion, Andy Ogletree, by one shot. Phillips, 24, competed in 15 events on the Korn Ferry Tour last year.
Zack Fischer’s 64 moved him from 49th place to 12th place. Matt Organisak and Keller Harper both fired 67 to move up 20 spots and qualify on the number. Organisak, the 2020 Massachusetts Amateur Champion, birdied the last two holes and didn’t know his score was good enough until he drove back to Atlanta.
Bear Creek Golf Club -- Murrieta, CA
38-year-old Matt Picanso shot 66-69-70-66 to beat Cody Blick by three shots. Picanso’s journey is a long and winding one. He started playing golf during his senior year of high school, stopped playing after college, and then began caddying for PGA Tour player Mark Hubbard before picking the game back up at age 26. Twelve years later, he’s a Stage II winner and playing in the Finals.
Rafael Becker fired a fourth round 64 to leap 29 spots up the leaderboard. He closed with a 31 on his back nine. Skylar Finnell also jumped 29 shots with a 66, qualifying on the number with a 9-under score for the tournament. Scott Feagles started his final round sitting at 4-under par, but his 66 got him to 10-under and earned a spot in the Finals.
Plantation Preserve GC -- Plantation, FL
Costa Rican Luis Gagne birdied the final hole to beat Albin Choi and Piri Borja by one shot. Gagne played in five Latinoamerica events last year after graduating from LSU in 2019.
Carson Young, Marselo Rozo, and Chandler Blanchet all shot 64 in the final round to reach Final Qualifying. In dramatic fashion, Justin Doeden birdied his last two holes to make The Finals on the number.
Finals - Savannah, GA
The Landings Club - Marsh ·
Savannah, GAView results for Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying - Second Stage