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Korn Ferry Finals: Zack Fischer wins in dramatic last round
09 Nov 2021
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying - Final Stage, The Landings Club

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- Korn Ferry Tour photo

Zack Fischer stepped into the history books at the Korn Ferry Finals at The Landings Club in Savannah, Georgia. It’s a milestone he probably hoped he’d never reach eight years ago, as no golfer wishes to be back in Korn Ferry Finals battling for exemptions, but on Monday he became the first golfer to win solo medalist honors twice in Korn Ferry Finals, which started in 2013. It likely won’t bother him too much, as he won full status on the Korn Ferry Tour for the 2022 season. A 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole helped him reach 14 under and separate himself from three other players at 13 under: Jonathan Brightwell, Vincent Norrman, and Andrew Kozan.

The Korn Ferry Finals aren’t just about the guy at the top of the leaderboard, though. The top 10 are guaranteed 12 starts and the top 40 have eight slots promised to them during the year.

The field has a cornucopia of players at all different stages of their careers: a life-long grinder like Scott Harrington, a European Tour player like Jason Scrivener, and Air Force grad Kyle Westmoreland. There are also the young guys, those who left the amateur ranks recently in hopes of reaching the ultimate goal of the PGA Tour.

One of those players is Jonathan Brightwell, the Oklahoma grad finished one shot behind Zack Fischer. His closing round 65 was the best closing round of anyone in the top 10.

Not to be outdone, the recent Auburn grad Andrew Kozan bounced back after an opening round 73 and shot 63-66 in his final two rounds to finish in a tie for second place. Kozan knew his opening round at the Magnolia was going to be tough, as it was the harder of the two courses the field played. "The Magnolia course greens were slower but way firmer since the course is new. The Marshwood course was faster and softer." Kozan wrote in a text exchange with me. "So it was always a tough mindset to be able to adapt as quickly as possible at the beginning of each round." His third round was also at the Magnolia, but he bettered his opening score by seven shots. "I knew the 3rd round was Magnolia and the harder course so I just wanted to go out there and post a decent number. Got off to a good start and was hitting my wedges really solid and just kept giving myself good birdie looks. So it was good to be able to take advantage of that." After watching Fischer sink his birdie putt on the final hole, Kozan had a chance to answer, but his putt slid by, leaving him in second place.

Justin Suh's journey to Korn Ferry Finals has been long and winding. Suh’s name used to share space with Collin Morikawa in college and amateur golf headlines. During Monday’s final round, the situation for the decorated amateur player looked dire; with eight holes remaining, Suh sat at 3 over par, a long way from any sort of guaranteed starts. However, Suh put together a fabulous stretch of golf, climbing back to one under with an eagle and two birdies. The T39 finish will guarantee Suh eight starts this year.

Most US Amateur finalists are tied together for the rest of their careers. At the Landings Club, the duo that dueled at Pinehurst in 2019 were both in the field. John Augenstein's final round 69 was enough to sneak in at one under, locking up eight Korn Ferry events this year. However, Andy Ogletree, the 2019 US Amateur champion couldn’t recover from a second round 80 and will have take advantage of his conditional status to try to build momentum. Golf can be a cruel game where timing can mean so much. Ogletree looked primed a year ago to make some noise on the pro circuit. He was low amateur at The Masters in Novemebr 2020, finishing T34. Unfortunately, hip surgery in April sidelined him and slowed his momentum.

Georgia Southern grad Steven Fisk finished with one of the strongest rounds on Monday, his 64, including a birdie-birdie finish, vaulted him up the leaderboard 67 spots to 3 under and a tie for 19th.

In the end, 49 players secured exemptions into Korn Ferry events. The top 10 will have 12 guaranteed starts and the top 40 and ties will have eight starts to plan for during the 2022 season. The opening event will be The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas from January 16-19.

View results for Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying - Final Stage
ABOUT THE Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying - Final Stage

72-hole stroke play tournament for professionals and for amateurs who have advanced through the second stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying. The Top 40 finishers will gain Korn Ferry Tour status for the following year.

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