The PGA Tour’s developmental circuit has gone by various names – Ben Hogan, Nationwide, Nike, Web.com — over its 32-year history, but the just-concluded Evans Scholars Invitational on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour was an event like no other.
Chicago has hosted various events over the years, but local players never made the impact that they did last week at The Glen Club, in Glenview.
Patrick Flavin and Nick Hardy tied for fifth. David Lipsky and Vince India tied for 12th. Luke Guthrie tied for 18th after enduring a string of 23 missed cuts. Brad Hopfinger, Brian Campbell and Andy Pope also made the cut and went away with paychecks.
Flavin, from Highwood, was the happiest because the strong showing meant he could keep playing on the circuit, at least for one more week. He’s not a Korn Ferry member and hopes the points he made will enable him to play beyond the REX Hospital Championship, which tees off on Thursday in Raleigh, N.C. He earned a spot in Raleigh because he was in the top 25 at The Glen.
“It felt incredible to get a sponsor’s exemption and then capitalize,’’ said Flavin. “It definitely got my juices flowing. I was bogey-free on the weekend, and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I’m hoping to make enough points to play the rest of the year.’’
Flavin has gotten into only six Korn Ferry events and, prior to the ESI, had made the cut in only one. The Glen, though, had been good to him in the past. He won the 2017 Illinois Open there to complete a sweep of that year’s Open and Illinois State Amateur titles. Only David Ogrin, 37 years earlier, won those two titles in the same year.
Hardy, from Northbrook, wasn’t as ecstatic as Flavin. He hovered near the top of the leaderboard for three rounds and played in the last group with eventual champion Cameron Young on Sunday. In the end two double bogeys on the par-3 ninth hole led to Hardy’s undoing, but he still notched his third top-five finish and fourth top-10 in his last six starts.
“I learned a lot about handling my emotions,’’ said Hardy. “I’m getting closer to winning out here. I know it’s going to come.’’
Hardy maintained his No. 14 spot in the Korn Ferry standings. The top 25 get PGA Tour cards at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season in August. With nine tournaments remaining that comfortable spot in the standings has led to Hardy skipping the Raleigh stop and return to action on June 7 in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Springfield, Ohio.
ILLINI FEAGLES IS FOURTH: Illinois’ Michael Feagles, a fifth-year senior, finished fourth in the individual portion of the NCAA men’s Division I tournament played in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz. Clemson’s Turk Pettit was the individual champion but that paled in comparison to what’s on the line Wednesday.
The top eight teams following the wrapup of the individual competition on Monday advanced to the match play portion. Illinois was fifth, trailing Arizona, Oklahoma State. Pepperdine and Oklahoma. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches were played on Tuesday with the national champion to be determined on Wednesday (TODAY).
HERE AND THERE: Doug Ghim tied for 14th and Kevin Streelman tied for 20th in the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas on Sunday. Both are in the field for this week’s Memorial tournament in Ohio and Streelman has learned that he can bypass next week’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying because his status on the Official World Golf Rankings (No. 57) gives him an automatic berth among the 156 starters in the Open finals at Torrey Pines, in California, later this month….Brian Tulk has departed Royal Fox, in St. Charles, and is now general manager at Klein Creek, in Winfield….Foxford Hills, in Cary, will hold a two-person scramble event on Saturday.