Four other PGA TOUR Canada players move to 2023 Korn Ferry Tour
KITCHENER, Ontario — Wil Bateman didn’t necessarily need to win the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship in order to secure the Fortinet Cup title and Player of the Year honors. That’s exactly what he did, though, shooting a final-round 1-under 69 Sunday at Deer Ridge Golf Club to defeat Jeffrey Kang by two strokes. In the process, Bateman won the Fortinet Cup, finishing with 1,654 points and vaulting past Jake Knapp, who entered the week with the standings lead. It was quite the double dip.
With the victory, Bateman locked up his 2023 Korn Ferry Tour playing privileges, making him eligible to play in every open tournament on that Tour’s schedule. He is also the second Canadian—along with Mackenzie Hughes in 2013—to win PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year honors. He pocketed a $25,000 bonus from Fortinet for winning the inaugural Fortinet Cup, and next summer Bateman is invited to play in the PGA TOUR’s RBC Canadian Open. By finishing second, Knapp will be conditionally exempt on next season’s Korn Ferry Tour. He tied for 34th at the closing tournament of the year.
After Bateman and Knapp, the third-, fourth- and fifth-place Fortinet Cup finishers were Americans Noah Goodwin, Scott Stevens and Ryan Gerard, respectively. The players received their membership cards during a ceremony following the end of play Sunday at Deer Ridge Golf Club.
Bateman, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, played in his 59th career PGA TOUR Canada event with this appearance—this season easily his best. Before this year, Bateman had never recorded a top-three finish and only had one career top-10.
Exempt when the season began by virtue of his 21st-place finish on the 2021 Forme Tour Points List, Bateman was three strokes off the lead through 54 holes in the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist. A final-round, 3-over 73 derailed his chances, but he put everybody on notice two weeks later when he chipped in to end the playoff and record an extremely popular win at his hometown ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton. He put an exclamation mark on his season with his resounding victory Sunday, allowing him to join Noah Goodwin as the only two-time champions this season.
“I think setting some solid goals for myself and knowing that I can attain them was big. Coming into this week, I think I put more pressure on myself, more than the pressure I felt when I was out [on the course] just because I wanted to achieve some of my goals,” Bateman said. “I knocked off a few of those goals, so it was a lot of fun.
“I still have bigger goals and dreams that I want to accomplish,” Bateman continued, “but this is a really good start. Just knowing where I was four to five years ago, if someone would have told me that I would be here I would say they were insane.”
“What a fun season it was, and to come down to the Fortinet Cup Championship, our final event of the year, with so many players with still so much to play for has been incredible to watch,” said PGA TOUR Canada Executive Director Scott Pritchard. “Wil proved from start to finish that he was our best player against formidable competition, and his performance under pressure this week to win the tournament and the Fortinet Cup was impressive. He will always have the Fortinet Cup on his mantel to remind him of what a special season 2022 was. Congratulations to Wil on what is an outstanding accomplishment. I can’t wait to see what he can do next season the Korn Ferry Tour.”
The players who finished in the sixth-through-10th positions on the Fortinet Cup standings are exempt into the finals of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament in Savannah, Georgia. That 72-hole tournament is November 4-7. The five PGA TOUR Canada players exempt into the Qualifying Tournament, hoping to secure Korn Ferry Tour status via that route, are Thomas Walsh (No. 6), Jeffrey Kang (No. 7), Danny Walker (No. 8), Joe Highsmith (No. 9) and Ian Holt (No. 10).
The 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season, the 34th in its history, starts in mid-January, the full schedule still to be announced.
Beginning in 2013, the Korn Ferry Tour became The Path to the PGA TOUR by awarding all 50 membership cards to Korn Ferry Tour players for the following PGA TOUR season. Players can initially qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour through the Qualifying Tournament and by securing a top-five Fortinet Cup finish on PGA TOUR Canada or a top-five Totalplay Cup performance. PGA TOUR Canada sent its first five players to the Korn Ferry Tour following its inaugural season in 2013. They were Mackenzie Hughes (Canada), Riley Wheeldon (Canada), Mark Hubbard (U.S.), Hugo Leon (Chile) and Wil Collins (U.S.). This is the eighth group of PGA TOUR Canada players to move on to the Korn Ferry after the Tour did not contest tournaments in 2020 and 2021 due to the global pandemic.
Final 2022 Fortinet Cup Standings
|1.||Wil Bateman (Canada)||1,654|
|2.||Jake Knapp (U.S.)||1,117|
|3.||Noah Goodwin (U.S.)||1,063|
|4.||Scott Stevens (U.S.)||1,055|
|5.||Ryan Gerard (U.S.)||899|
|6.||Thomas Walsh (U.S.)||849|
|7.||Jeffrey Kang (U.S.)||832|
|8.||Danny Walker (U.S.)||762|
|9.||Joe Highsmith (U.S.)||746|
|10.||Ian Holt (U.S.)||729|
Wil Bateman 2022 Season in Review
|Royal Beach Victoria Open presented by Times Colonist||67-65-68-73—273||T26|
|ATB Classic presented by Volvo Edmonton||65-67-68-65—265||Won|
|Prince Edward Island Open||73-69-74-69—285||T55|
|Osprey Valley Open presented by Votorantim Cimentos -CBM Aggregates||68-68-69-69—274||T13|
|Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open||72-71-73-68—284||T55|
|CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open||67-69-70-68—274||T14|
|CRMC Championship presented by Gertens||63-65-66-62—256||2|
|Fortinet Cup Championship||70-65-68-69—272||Won|
Fortinet Cup Final Ranking: 1
Tournaments Played: 10
Cuts Made: 10
Best Finishes: Won (Fortinet Cup Championship and ATB Classic presented by Edmonton; Fortinet Cup Championship)
Runner Up: CRMC Championship presented by Gertens
Total Rounds: 40
Rounds Under-Par: 33
Rounds Par-or-Better: 35
Rounds in the 60s: 28
2023 Korn Ferry Tour Members Via PGA TOUR Canada
Wil Bateman this Season
Bateman was the only player this season to play in all 10 tournaments and make the cut in each one. He broke through in a big way, winning his first PGA TOUR Canada tournament in dramatic fashion, capturing the ATB Classic in a playoff when he holed a chip to secure the title in his hometown of Edmonton. He then added win No. 2 at the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship. Bateman, who won on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica earlier in his career, in Chile in 2015, closed this season by recording 21 consecutive under-par rounds. Particularly impressive was his final-round scoring average. In addition to his victories, he was the runner-up at the CRMC Championship in Minnesota, and he added a tie for seventh at the Quebec Open. Bateman closed the year leading five statistical categories (Fortinet Cup Points, Total Birdies, Money List, Par-4 Performance and Consecutive Cuts Made).
Jake Knapp this Season
Knapp once again earned Korn Ferry Tour playing privileges by virtue of his PGA TOUR Canada play. Three years after he finished third on the PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit, the former UCLA Bruin closed the year second on the Fortinet Cup standings. In a stellar season, Knapp won his third career PGA TOUR Canada title, this one coming at the CRMC Championship, 11 weeks after he fell in a playoff at the Royal Beach Victoria Open. Knapp has made himself right at home in Canada in his career. Besides his three victories, he has twice finished runner-up, and he’s also posted two third-place performances.
Noah Goodwin this Season
After a remarkable college career at Southern Methodist University, Goodwin earned PGA TOUR Canada membership via the Qualifying Tournament and then was a little slow out of the gates, missing three of his first four cuts. When his game was on, though, he was hard to beat as he was one of only two multiple-tournament winners this season (joining Wil Bateman). He first captured the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada Ontario Open in late-July followed by a win two weeks ago at the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Scott Stevens this Season
It was a quick start to Stevens’ season as he prevailed in the season-opening Royal Beach Victoria Open in June. Needing a birdie to force a playoff, he came through then proceeded to birdie the next three playoff holes to earn his first PGA TOUR Canada title. He did some of his best work in British Columbia, finishing second at the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna in early September. Prior to his tie for eighth in the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship, the former South Carolina Gamecock added one additional top-10 in Winnipeg, a tie for eighth at the CentrePort Canada Rail Park Manitoba Open. He also enjoyed a 10-round stretch beginning at his final round in Winnipeg all the way to the first round of the Fortinet Cup Championship where he shot either 65 (three times) or 66.
Ryan Gerard this Season
Despite only playing eight of the 10 tournaments, Gerard capitalized in a big way, especially during a stretch as the season drew to a close. He broke through with his first title, at the Quebec Open. Three weeks later, he was again in contention, this time settling for a tie for third at Minnesota’s CRMC Championship. The following week, four rounds in the 60s at the GolfBC Championship in Kelowna, British Columbia, led to a tie for fourth. He began the final tournament of the season in fifth place in the Fortinet Cup standings, and that’s where he finished after tying for 17th in the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship.