High Stakes

With at least 5 PGA Tour cards on the line, Sam Saunders, Kyle Westmoreland and Jeremy Paul among locals set to tee it up at Q-school final stage

By Gary Baines – 12/12/2023

The culmination of three months of PGA Tour Q-school — one with a big carrot at the finish line — will take place this week, with a handful of local players among those with plenty at stake.

The final stage of Q-school — which follows pre-qualifying, first and second stage — will take place Thursday through Sunday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

A total of 165 players are scheduled to tee it up, and for the first time since 2012 some PGA Tour cards will be up for grabs at the final stage. Specifically, after four rounds the top five finishers and ties will land PGA Tour status in 2024.

“Even if there was one card, you’d come because it’s such a cool opportunity,” said Fort Collins resident Sam Saunders, who already has Korn Ferry Tour status secured for next year.

Beyond those who earn PGA Tour cards, the next 40 and ties will be guaranteed starts on the Korn Ferry Tour. The next 20 and ties will get status on PGA Tour Americas. All starters this week at least will earn conditional status on the KFT and PGA Tour Americas.

Q-school this week will be a 72-hole, no-cut affair in which competitors will play two rounds each at two different courses.

Five golfers in the field at TPC Sawgrass have strong connections to Colorado or Cheyenne. Here’s the rundown:

— Fort Collins resident Sam Saunders: Saunders has played in 158 PGA Tour events in his career — with a best showing of runner-up — but in recent years Arnold Palmer’s grandson has been a regular on the Korn Ferry Tour. In 2023, he posted three top-10 finishes on the KFT, including second place in a playoff at the Panama Championship. The 36-year-old placed 60th on the 2023 KFT points list.

— Former Air Force Academy golfer Kyle Westmoreland: Westmoreland recently completed his rookie season on the PGA Tour, but he lost his card after missing 22 cuts in 32 tournaments and finishing 196th in FedExCup points (192nd in the FedExCup Fall). His best showing of the season was a 27th place in the Cadence Book Houston Open. (He placed fifth in the Korn Ferry Tour’s UNC Health Championship.) Westmoreland is the first former AFA golfer to earn a PGA Tour card. The 32-year-old has also competed in 36 KFT events overall.

— Former CU golfer Jeremy Paul: Paul, twin brother of DP World Tour golfer Yannik Paul, has played full time on the Korn Ferry Tour the last two years, with his best showing (third place) coming at The Ascendant presented by Blue in Berthoud in 2022. This year, Paul placed 56th on the KFT points list. He has yet to make a start on the PGA Tour. 

— Cheyenne native and former CU golfer Josh Creel: Creel, who was on the CU roster for two years before transferring to Central Oklahoma, played full time on the PGA Tour in the 2021-22 season, when he made four cuts. This year, he returned to the Korn Ferry Tour, where his best showing was an 18th place. He won the KFT Utah Championship in 2020.) Creel finished 126th on the 2023 KFT point standings, then advanced through the second stage of Q-school.

— Former CU golfer Michael Feuerstein: Feuerstein spent one season with the Buffs (2002-03), with a best finish of 33rd place in four tournaments. Most recently regarding PGA Tour-affiliated events, the now-40-year-old competed on PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2022, with a best finish of 21st place.

In addition, also in the Q-school final-stage field is William Mouw, winner of the 2022 Trans-Miss at Denver Country Club.

The medalist at Q-school will receive $50,000. For the prize breakdown, CLICK HERE.

For Thursday’s Q-school tee times, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates