Ben Martin has been there and now he is going back.
Carson Young has never been there, but now will have his chance.
Both Clemson grads picked up their PGA Tour cards after the Korn-Ferry Tour Championship completed the third end-of-the-season qualifying tournament for the last 25 PGA Tour cards available this year.
Martin, as a former Tour winner, had limited PGA Tour status during the year and was playing to regain full time status.
Young had played on the PGA Canada Tour and some mini-tour events, but as far as the Korn-Ferry Tour status was concerned, Young was a rookie.
While the Pendleton High School grad earned his PGA Tour card in his first year on the Korn-Ferry Tour, there were plenty of lean years since graduating from Clemson in 2017.
“After Canada, if I didn’t make it through Q School, Korn-Ferry, I was going to quit golf,” said Young. “So to make it through that and then in one year make it to the PGA Tour, I don’t even know. It is unreal, I can’t even think to believe that what is going to happen after a year ago today,” he said.
Young put together a golfing resume that looked like the foundation of a PGA Tour professional.
High School championships, a pair of SCGA Amateur titles, a college win and All-ACC recognition set the stage for a spot on the PGA Tour accomplished with his tie for 12th in the final Korn-Ferry event of the year.
Martin, from Greenwood, came very close to earning back his full-time PGA Tour status last March when he finished second at the Corales Puntacana Championship.
A win would have moved him out of the PGA Tour’s status for former champions and allowed him to play a full schedule.
While the Past Champions exempt status kept Martin in the game, between Past Champions status and some exemptions, the former Clemson golfer was only able to play in 14 PGA Tour events and a handful of Korn Ferry tournaments.
Martin would be able to play a similar schedule to last year, next year, but he was playing in the Korn-Ferry tournaments to improve his status.
Martin turned in rounds of 63 or better in each of the three events, the only golfer to do so.
His 62 at the Boise Open helped him take a 10th place finish.
At the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Martin shot a third-round 62 to move up the leaderboard and eventually finish in a tie for 15th place.
At the Korn-Ferry Tour Championship, Martin shot a second-round 63 to move him well above the cut line to just about assure he was back on the PGA Tour.
Martin missed the better part of the last five years because of health issues.
Back in good health, Martin hoped to regain full Tour status during the year, but with the limited opportunities, he was only able to be ranked 197th leaving him well outside the automatic qualifying spots.
Now with his card in his pocket, Martin can pretty much set his schedule for the early part of the year, which begins in just a couple of weeks.
Golfers coming off a successful Korn-Ferry Championship have had some good performances and wins in the early season events when PGA Tour players are not out in full force.
Martin won his PGA Tour event at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open which was played in October of 2014. with Martin just being a full-time tour member for a little over a year.
Now he and Young can lay out their plans for the start of the season, no time to rest. The first event, the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, starts on September 26th.
Young finished in the 16th spot in the Tour championship series.
He won his first Korn-Ferry Tour event when he captured the Panama Championship early in the year.
Young played in 25 events and made 11 cuts. In addition to the win, the pro from Pendleton had a top-10 finish, but earned his card with consistent top 30 finishes in the events he completed.
Young finished tied for 18th at the Boise Open but missed the cut at the Nationwide Children’s event, so getting a good finish in the Korn-Ferry Championship was very important.
Young shot a 15-under par total in the final event to finish in a tie for 12th place.
While Martin has been around the block a few times (on the PGA Tour for 9 years) Young has played in just 25 events since becoming a member of the Korn-Ferry Tour.
During the Covid years, Young, like so many other aspiring pros did not have as many opportunities as normal to play their way into a PGA Tour card, so Young played on a couple of mini-tours, the Forme Tour and the Local IQ Series Tour.
On the Local IQ Series, Young won a tournament in Jacksonville and finished second to fellow Clemson grad Bryson Nimmer in the season-long points race.
The two newest PGA Tour card holders will blend in with the other 23 who earned PGA Tour status in the qualifying tournaments and the 25 who got cards with their performance in the previous season.
Area golfers who were not able to improve on their PGA Tour status included former Tour Champions, Bill Haas, Wesley Bryan, William McGirt, Kyle Stanley, Scott Brown and Jonathan Byrd, along with veterans Mark Anderson and Tommy Gainey.
Korn-Ferry Tour championship scores https://www.pgatour.com/korn-ferry-tour/leaderboard.html
Categories: Clemson golf