PGA DFS: Korn Ferry Tour Rankings & Preview
Officially, the 2018-2019 PGA Tour season is in the books, and a new year is upon us! DraftKings surprises us with 100K to first for this week’s fall swing event!
With that will bring FIFTY new golfers to the PGA Tour, including Viktor Hovland, via the Korn Ferry Tour! Twenty-five of them came from the regular season which a 21 tournament schedule. From those 21 events the top 25 earned their PGA Tour Card, and the next 25 earned it through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals, a set of three tournaments at the end of the season, concluding with the Tour Championship.
Korn Ferry Tour Opening Remarks:
The PGA Tour, at least in my opinion, has the minor league ranks down pat. Each year they graduate 50 players from the Korn Ferry Tour, which makes up about 1/3 of every field. Now, of course, that’s not set in stone that all 50 will actually get to play, it provides us new faces and new games to break down each and every year. Last year the Korn Ferry Tour graduates had the following stats:
- Three Wins (Champ, Long, Homa)
- Two Tour Championship appearances (Im & Glover)
- 17 golfers made the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
- Among those 17 golfers: over 35 top 10’s. On average of about one per tournament.
Power Ranking Criteria
Everybody has their own ranking systems and who they are ranking where and Why. So, for MY power ranking here is the criteria I’m using:
- An algorithmic model that provides me a ranking system based on the set of statistics supplied by the Korn Ferry Tour.
- Finishes & Cuts Made
- *True Strokes Gained*- this is already part of the model, but holds a bit more relevance the overall picture of how good each individual is.
- Potential as determined by outside factors, like course fit, unrealized potential, gut feelings, etc.
Stat used in the model include: (Abbreviations used in the article are in parenthesis)
- Driving Distance (DD)
- Driving Accuracy (DA)
- Greens in regulation (GIR)
- Ball Striking (BS)
- SCrambling (ARG)
- Good Drive %
- True Strokes Gained
2019 Korn Ferry Graduate Rankings
Bio & Season Outlook: The gloveless wonder does it again, going back to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to earn back his PGA Tour card. It seems like eons ago that Streb was top 15 in the FedEx Cup standings, but still another full year on the PGA Tour awaits. Also, I wrote all the guys and was missing one, and he was it, so he gets put here. He’s likely more in the middle of the pack, but that seemed like a lot of numbers to change for Streb.
2019 Performance: Streb got his card back in quick fashion, finishing in a T5 at the first KFT finals event.
Statistical Preview: Robert had a tough year statistically, losing strokes in three of four measured categories, only gaining around the green, and unless your Jordan Spieth that’s not a recipe for success on the PGA Tour.
Model Rank: NA
Bio & SEason Outlook: A 36-year-old from Pennsylvania, Vince has been a pro golfer since 2004, and it took him 15 years to get to the big leagues. That’s some darn good persistence!
20199 Performance: A win early in the season, and four other top 25’s is what earned him his first-ever trip to the PGA Tour.
Statistical Preview: Vince’s best stat was 29th in GIR last year while struggling around the green and off the tee.
Model Rank: 25
#48- Mark Anderson
Bio & Season Outlook: A 33-year-old hailing from Annapolis Maryland will be making his first trip back to the PGA Tour, full time, since 2017 where he finished 194th and made 188K. Back in 2012 he made over 400K by making 23 cuts in 25 tries but finished 164th, not good enough to retain his card. His best finish on the PGA Tour is the 9th place finish back in 2012 at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic where he finished 9th.
2019 Performance: Anderson got his card in large part due to his first-place finish at the Country Club de Bogota Championship & 2nd place finish at the Knoxville Open. He hasn’t finished better than 28th since June and doesn’t have a top 10 since that second-place finish in Knoxville.
Statistical Preview: His best statistical category on the Korn Ferry Tour last year was scrambling where he ranked fourth. He didn’t make in the top 100 of any of the other stat’s we followed. His true strokes gained was .63 on average per round.
Model Rank: 27
#47- Sebastian Cappelen
Bio & Season Outlook: After six years of battling on the Korn Ferry Tour, the 29-year-old from Denmark has finally punched his ticket to the PGA Tour. He’s only made two starts on the PGA Tour in his professional career, making the cut at the Sanderson Farms, while missing the cut at the U.S. Open, both back in 2015.
2019 Performance: Cappelen had a very rough start to the season, and it was looking like he was bound for yet another disappointment. However, after only making three of the first ten cuts, he came t14 at the Evans Scholar Invitational, which spurred him onto victory the next week at the Rex Hospital Open. A second-place two weeks after that at the Wichita Open which all but secured his first-ever PGA Tour card.
Statistical Preview: 17th in Driving distance is quite impressive while losing everything in the accuracy department. He also ranks inside the top 65 of all the other measured categories. Not a bad overall player, just needs to find the fairway a bit more on the PGA Tour if he wants to make more than 50% of his cuts. His true strokes gained was .61 on average per round.
Model Rank: 35
#46- Michael Gellerman
Bio & Season Outlook: Making his way up the ranks, after an abysmal 2017 on the Korn Ferry tour, Gellerman finished 5th in 2018 on the Mackenzie tour, giving him a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour qualifying, which he made it through, giving him status on The Korn Ferry Tour. He has yet to compete in a PGA Tour event, since turning pro back in 2015, the 27-year-old from Tuscon will look to ride this dream wave of golf over the last 18 months.
2019 Performance: Similar to the golfers above, Gellerman had a win and another top 3, to all but sewed up his card. The win came at the KC Golf classic, while the third came about two months later at the Colorado Championship.
Statistical Preview: Michael actually grades out well statistically, but really struggles around the green, ranking 135th on the year in scrambling. An average driver, both in distance and accuracy, and a relatively strong iron player, ranking 24th in GIR on the year, Gellerman will have to up his play around the green if he expects to make any waves on the PGA Tour. His true strokes gained was .3 on average per round.
Model Rank: 29
Bio & Season Outlook: Campos burst on the PGA Tour scene in 2017, after securing a top 10 at the Puerto Rico Open, his home event. He then parlayed that into a top 10 at the Shell Houston Open, followed by a T32 at the RBC Heritage, earning him over 300K. Rafel wasn’t able to get enough FedEx cup points however to reach full-time status so back to the KF Tour he went. Campos endured an ok season on the KF Tour that year, ranking 62nd. Finally, the breakthrough came early in the 2018-19 season.
2019 Performance: A win very early on in the season, at a place that very well may not be there on today’s writing 9/2/2019, as Hurricane Dorian has decimated the Bahamas, and specifically the island of Abaco, where he won The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic. His next top 10 came almost six months later at the Price Cutter Charity Championship which secured his card for this year.
Statistical Preview: Rafel isn’t going to blow you away statistically, but he isn’t going to get in a lot of trouble either. His worst ranking is 99th in GIR, while his best is 25th in scrambling. His true strokes gained was .35 on average per round this year.
Model Rank: 32
Bio & Season Outlook: Having earned status on the Korn Ferry Tour back in 2018, Ledesma couldn’t quite get over the hump, ranking 42nd for his rookie campaign on the tour. This year though, the 29-year-old from Argentina was able to finally break through after years of playing in the minor league tours. He’s only played in one event on the PGA Tour back in 2012 where he missed the cut.
2019 Performance: As goes with hot putters, his results are staggered quite a bit, with top 10’s mixed in with multiple missed cuts in a row, and then a highlight win in Colorado. Four other top 10’s accompany the win, but so does ten missed cuts in 21 tries.
Statistical Preview: Nelson thrived on a hot putter this year ranking 5th in the category, but didn’t manage to break the top 70 in any of the other ones, ranking 70th in Driving Distance. With how good of a putter he is, he could be suitable for a showdown target if we see good ball-striking numbers in tourney. His true strokes gained was .51 for the year.
Model Rank: 23
Bio & Season Outlook: Tim, a forty-one-year-old from New Zealand, has been around professional golf since 2003 and brings his smooth lefty swing back to the Tour. His most recent stint on the PGA Tour was back in 2017 where he ranked 156th, making over 400K in earnings. That led him down the path of the Korn Ferry Tour where he finished 103 in the standings. A bounce-back year this year moving him back up to the big leagues.
2019 Performance: The first of our golfers on the list to not have a win last year, Wilkinson had 5 top 10’s including two top 5’s.
Statistical Preview: The smooth swing we talked about before gave him the 24th best driving accuracy on the Korn Ferry Tour this year. He was also one of the best scramblers on tour, ranking 9th in the category. His true strokes gained was .62 for the year. These stats should add up a couple of times to help your PGA DFS lineups this year.
Model Rank: 20
Bio & Season Outlook: Capturing his first professional win last year, the 29-year-old from Canada finally earned his PGA Tour card. Battling mini-tours since 2008 Gligic earned a promotion to the Korn Ferry Tour this year via the Mackenzie tour in Canada.
2019 Performance: Gligic’s win in Panama and 14 other made cuts helped him to earn his 17th ranking in the regular season top 25.
Statistical Preview: A nice combination of distance off the tee, ranking 56th, and sturdy iron play ranking 13th in GIR is what brought him his success this year. But, he really struggles with the flat stick, ranking 124th on the season. His true strokes gained was .62 for the year.
Model Rank: 23
Bio & Season Outlook: Finally someone under the age of 25, as the 24-year-old out of Georgia Tech has broken through! He turned pro at the end of the 2017 season and received status on the KFT in 2019. Originally from Kentucky, Whaley will join a few others on tour from the Bluegrass state including Justin Thomas.
2019 Performance: Three top 10 finishes along with a 78% made cut % for the regular season are the two reasons Whaley will be a rookie on the PGA Tour this year.
Statistical Preview: Nothing worse than the 97th ranking for Whaley on the year, but also nothing above 36th, which was driving distance. That simply means he’s average at best in most statistical categories, which is likely what led to the huge made cut % we just alluded to.
Model Rank: 20