Twenty-five players earn 2019-20 PGA TOUR membership at WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz
Bo Hoag claims first title at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club
Harrington, the 54-hole leader, entered the day needing at least a solo-third finish to earn his first PGA TOUR card. A closing birdie at the 18th allowed the hometown hero to secure solo-second and ascension to the TOUR. The win in a familiar place was even more for Harrington with his wife, Jenn, in attendance. Jenn has twice battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is now cancer-free. She flew in on Saturday night and watched Harrington earn his card.
“A lot of focus gets put on us, and what we’ve been through, but what she’s been through has been hell,” said Harrington. “It was rough for me, but it pales in comparison to what she’s actually had to go through. To see her so happy on 18, it’s just everything. Family is everything, family trumps golf. To be able to do it for her and have her in attendance makes it that much more meaningful.”
Vincent Whaley, a rookie from Atlanta, earned the 25th and final PGA TOUR card despite missing the weekend. The Georgia Tech alum waited for 48 hours to see if his 761 points would ultimately be enough.
“Honestly, I probably had the worst two days of my life trying to figure it out, doing the math and being a complete psychopath,” said Whaley. “It was a horrible two days, but it worked out…I’m just really happy right now. This is a dream since I started playing golf, to make it onto the PGA TOUR.”
Chris Baker, who also missed the cut this week, finished as the odd man out at 26th in the points standings. Baker, along with the rest of the top 75 players in the standings, will advance to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals where he will attempt to earn one of 25 additional TOUR cards. Two out of the past three players to finish 26th in the standings have gone on to earn their cards in the Finals. Those players (Keith Mitchell and Xander Schauffele) have already combined for five PGA TOUR victories.
China’s Xinjun Zhang, who finished T43 this week, retained the top spot in The 25, though Robby Shelton, No. 2 in the standings, gained ground with a T11 finish. The top points-earner after the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will earn fully exempt status and an exemption into the 2020 PLAYERS Championship.
The top 25 who secured their 2019-20 PGA TOUR membership are:
1. Xinjun Zhang - Guangdong, China
2. Robby Shelton - Birmingham, Ala.
3. Scottie Scheffler* - Dallas, Tx.
4. Kristoffer Ventura* - Oslo, Norway
5. Harry Higgs* - Dallas, Tx.
6. Lanto Griffin - Blacksburg, Va.
7. Bo Hoag* - Columbus, Ohio
8. Nelson Ledesma* - Tucuman, Argentina
9. Mark Hubbard - Denver, Colo.
10. Rhein Gibson - Edmond, Okla.
11. Henrik Norlander - Stockholm, Sweden
12. Zac Blair - Saint George, Utah
13. Ryan Brehm - Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
14. Mark Anderson - Beaufort, S.C.
15. Chase Seiffert* - Panama City, Fla.
16. Sebastian Cappelen* - Odense, Denmark
17. Michael Gligic* - Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
18. Rafael Campos* - Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
19. Scott Harrington* - Portland, Ore.
20. Vince Covello* - Atlantic Beach, Fla.
21. Michael Gellerman* - Edmond, Okla.
22. Tyler McCumber* - Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
23. Maverick McNealy* - Stanford, Calif.
24. Tim Wilkinson - Palmerston North, New Zealand
25. Vincent Whaley* - Atlanta, Ga.
*=PGA TOUR rookie in 2019-20
The top 75 in the Korn Ferry Tour standings will be joined at the Finals by those PGA TOUR players who finished 126-200 in the FedExCup standings, plus non-members who earned enough equivalent FedExCup points to finish within the 126-200 range as well as players competing on PGA TOUR medical extensions.
The 50 graduates will join the PGA TOUR for the 2019-20 season, which opens the week of September 9-15 with the A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Fifteen of Sunday’s 25 card earners will be rookies on the PGA TOUR in 2019-20.
Following a second-round 63 at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, Eugene, Oregon native Scott Harrington made seven birdies against a lone bogey to post a third-round 65.
At 18-under 195, Harrington will take a one-stroke lead into the final round over Kristoffer Ventura at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Witch Hollow Course.
“This is home,” Harrington said. “This place made me, and this is where I grew up. It’s very special to hear my name announced from Portland and it’s special to have the big crowd around the first tee and watching me the whole day. It was awesome. I love this place and I love everyone coming out in full force.”
Harrington takes at least a share of the 54-hole lead for the second time on the Korn Ferry Tour. At the 2012 Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper, he finished second after holding a share of the lead through three rounds.
Harrington, a three-time runner up on the Korn Ferry Tour, remains in search of his first career victory in his 193rd start this week. In five previous starts at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, a T30 finish in 2017 remains his best showing.
“I just don’t think it’s important to look at the leaderboard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Harrington said. “I figured guys were going to keep moving forward, so I kept the pedal to the medal. All week I’ve been seeing the lines really well. I just feel great with the putter, overall a good day. To shoot 6-under in the last group, I’ll take that any day of the week.”
Harrington credits his ability to see the intricacies of the greens for his solid play this week. But, on Sunday, his sights will be on something much larger than the game of golf.
Harrington’s wife, Jenn, is in remission following a battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which included over a year of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Having been following her husband’s progress each week from home, Jenn is traveling to Portland to be in the gallery for Sunday’s final round.
“I’m actually heading to the airport now,” Harrington said. “My wife is flying in…I think she’s actually calling me from the airport as we speak. I’m going to go pick her up and grab something quick to eat and rest up for a big day tomorrow.”
Harrington, who entered the week at No. 38 in The 25 after last week’s T11 finish at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, is currently projected to move to No. 9 in The 25.
“The first thing I thought of when they started this event six years ago was how cool it would be to get my PGA TOUR card here surrounded by friends and family,” Harrington said. “That hasn’t changed. I’m going to go out tomorrow and give them hell.”
A day after putting himself in position with an 8-under 63 of his own, Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura eagled the par-5 fifth for a second straight day en route to a 6-under 65. A bogey at the par-5 18th dropped him from a share of the lead.
At 17-under 196, Ventura will begin Sunday’s final round a stroke off the lead.
“My game feels really good, but it was unfortunate to end the day with a bogey on a par-5,” Ventura said. “But, there’s always tomorrow. We practice to put ourselves in this position and so I feel like I’m right there.”
Via sudden death, Ventura won the Utah Championship in June. In his most recent start before this week, he won the Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha, Nebraska. With his PGA TOUR card locked up for the 2019-20 season, he is projected to move to No. 3 in The 25.
“A win tomorrow would be awesome, just like it was the second time and first time,” Ventura said. ”To be able to beat everyone in the field is a pretty cool feeling. As far as tomorrow goes, who knows what will happen. As long as I give it my best, I’ll be happy no matter what happens.”
Making his first start at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, Ventura is competing for just the ninth time on the Korn Ferry Tour.
On the strength of the low round of the day, an 8-under 63, Ohio’s Bo Hoag made seven birdies and an eagle against one bogey to move to 16-under 197 and into a share of third place with 36-hole leader, Vince India.
The final round will feature twosomes off No. 1 tee from 8:40 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If history serves as any indicator, Vince India likely didn’t arrive at this week’s WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz with champagne on ice.
Making his sixth tournament start, India comes off three missed cuts and a withdraw. His lone berth to the weekend at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Witch Hollow course resulted in a T25 in 2016.
In 21 Korn Ferry Tour starts this season before this week, India has missed nine cuts and earned no top-15 finishes.
But, following a 7-under 64 in Thursday’s first round, the 30-year-old Illinois native made six birdies and an unlikely eagle in the second round to post a 65 and claim a one-stroke lead at 13-under 129.
In his bid to earn a PGA TOUR card for next season, India is currently poised to move from No. 116 to 20th with a win.
“My low point over the past couple of years was probably when I tried to change swing instructors and tried to start from scratch instead of just figuring out what made me the golfer I was,” India said. “I went back to what I was good at. I honestly think most pros go through this, but I went back to really trying not to overthink things.”
At the par-5 11th hole, India put himself in position to where those counter-productive wheels in his head could have derailed him. But, staying true to the mental form he was after paid off.
“I hit a pretty average tee shot on No. 11, and it actually ended up on the back tee box on No. 10,” India said. “It actually wasn’t that far off from where I was aiming because it opens up the entire green. Then, I hit a 4-iron that skipped through the bunker and rolled to about 10 feet. I made it for eagle. That felt like a shot that probably shouldn’t have happened, but it did.”
Though his finishes haven’t been reflective of the good place in which he finds his game to be, India feels it trending in the right direction.
“I think my game comes together when I start playing a lot of golf, and over the last month I’ve played a lot of golf in a row,” he said. “You start to pick up on little tweaks and feel better about where the ball is going. Something has clicked recently to the point where I feel like I can make it from almost anywhere on the green. That frees me up and takes some pressure off of my iron play.”
Highlighted by five consecutive birdies on Nos. 4-8, Eugene, Oregon native Scott Harrington posted a bogey-free 8-under 63 to move to 12-under 130 and within one stroke of the lead.
“On 12, I made about the fastest putt you can find on this course,” Harrington said. “It was about 30 feet, downhill, and it just trickled in the edge. I’ll remember that one for a while. I told my caddie after that putt that it was the best putt I’ve hit all year. I could have hit it 10 feet past the hole or I could have left it five feet short. So, to make that was a huge bonus.”
Harrington, who entered the week at No. 38 in The 25 after last week’s T11 finish at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, is currently projected to move to No. 17.
A stronger game has certainly been pivotal to better numbers on his scorecards of late, but to Harrington, the real game-changer is a healthier wife.
Harrington’s wife, Jenn, is in remission following a grueling battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which included over a year of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
“We’ve really been through a lot and I don’t anything for granted anymore,” Harrington said. “We all have bad days and get in ruts, but life came at us fast and it’s really special to be here. To be playing well is also really special. I know Jenn is at home, probably following the scoring, so I’m excited to go in and get to talk to her.”
Robby Shelton, who led after 18 holes with a 10-under 61, posted a 1-under 70 in the second round and is two strokes back at 11-under 131. Shelton is currently second in The 25, 232 points behind leader Xinjun Zhang.
A year after missing the cut in his tournament debut, Robby Shelton tied the tournament record with a 10-under 61 in the first round of the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz.
“I don’t really think about a number out here,” said Shelton. “I just think about birdies, knowing these other guys are going to go low. Everybody here wants to win, so that’s the main goal this week, but there are still three rounds left.”
Shelton is no stranger to the top of the leaderboard. The 23-year-old has won twice on Tour this year, led the points standings for four weeks earlier in the year and locked up his PGA TOUR card in early May. He is currently second in The 25, 232 points behind leader Xinjun Zhang.
“Hitting that No. 1 spot is definitely the goal for me,” said Shelton of the coveted top spot and fully exempt status that comes with it. “I think it’s going to help anyone who wins it, as far as taking a lot of pressure off and not having too much to worry about your schedule throughout the year…And getting into THE PLAYERS would be amazing.”
After three pars to begin his round, Shelton went on a tear, birdieing eight of his next 10 holes before tacking on two more at the 16th and 18th to reach 10-under. The 61 ties a tournament record originally set by Ted Potter, Jr. in 2016 and again by Derek Ernst in 2018. Shelton’s previous low round on Tour was a 63 (twice).
While he was already 4-under entering the hole, he credited the ninth hole as a confidence booster midway through the round.
“My shot of the day was at the ninth today,” said Shelton, referring to the third-toughest hole on the course on Thursday. “I hit a 5-iron in after having 206 yards to the hole. That’s one of the toughest holes out there and I hit it four or five feet right of the hole and made that.”
Shelton is a former All-American at the University of Alabama and claimed the 2014 Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman. He was also the top-ranked junior in the country entering college. He finished second in the Order of Merit on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada in 2017 and competed full-time on the Korn Ferry Tour each of the past two years.
Jimmy Stanger sits two shot back with a first-round 8-under 63. The 63 sets a new low round on Tour for Stanger and was especially meaningful coming back to Pumpkin Ridge.
“I still remember leaving this place in tears last year,” said Stanger, who finished 78th on the money list to just miss out on fully exempt status in 2019. “Just to finish bogey-par to lose your card by one stroke was really tough. I definitely have some déjà vu standing here right now knowing last year I had to finish one stroke better, so it helps that this year I already have a job for next year.”
Stanger entered the week 41st on the points list with a spot in the Finals already locked up, along with full status next season on Tour. While projections vary throughout the week, the University of Virginia alum would likely need a runner-up finish or better to finish inside The 25 and earn his PGA TOUR card.
Four players are T3 at 7-under 64 after the first round: David Lingmerth, Greg Yates, Tyson Alexander and Vince India.
The second round will run in two waves on Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:26 p.m. off of the first and 10th tees.
The sixth annual WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz kicked off tournament week Monday evening with the Official Pro-Am Dinner at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. In front of an audience of more than 700 sponsors, members and media partners, executives from WinCo Foods and Lagardere Sports announced that this year’s tournament raised a record breaking $1.475 Million for charity. This breaks the tournaments previous record from 2018 and brings the total charitable contributions to over $7 MILLION in just six years.
“Thanks to the continued and amazing support of WinCo Foods, our supporting sponsors and our fans, we are thrilled to announce this huge contribution to deserving charities,” said Jeff Sanders, President of Lagardere Sports Golf Events, management company of the WinCo Foods Portland Open. “Our goal has always been to make a positive impact in the Portland community and we look forward to continuing to further the important work that these benefitting charities do to help those in need.”
This week marks the finale of the 24-event Korn Ferry Tour regular season where 25 professionals will earn their PGA TOUR cards on Sunday.
“This is a very special week in many regards,” said WinCo Foods President and CEO, Grant Haag. “Twenty-five of the world’s best golfers will realize their dreams of earning their TOUR cards, but more importantly, more than 100 Greater Portland charities will benefit from the money this event raises, supporting thousands of people in the community. We could not be prouder of the more than $7 MILLION this event has raised in just six years.
Through the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program, 100% of tournament ticket sales are given directly to Portland area charities.
This week the spotlight will be on Portland as 156 of the world’s best golfers compete on the famed Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge. Players who have earned their PGA TOUR cards here in past years include 2018 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Aaron Wise, 2017 PGA TOUR Player of the Year Justin Thomas, 2017 TOUR Championship winner Xander Schauffele and many more. In total, Portland Open alums have accounted for 55 wins on the PGA TOUR in just the past 5 years.
Golf Channel will broadcast this week’s tournament internationally to more than 800 Million viewers worldwide.
The tournament offers many special events and amenities for fans to enjoy at no additional charge including Family Day presented by Kindercare Education, held Saturday from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM and the Under Armour Junior Golf Clinic from 2:00 – 3:00 PM on Saturday afternoon.
Located on the 12th hole and open Thursday – Sunday, The Grove will feature 27 different wineries and breweries for fans to enjoy including complimentary tastings. The 12th hole will also feature the new BMW Fan Deck presented by NBC Sports Northwest which is open to all spectators.
On Sunday, all fans will be treated to a free breakfast between 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.
Daily tickets to the tournament are $15, weekly tickets are just $25 and kids 17 and under get in free all week. To purchase tickets supporting Portland area charities and for more information, visit WinCoGolf.com.