After bogey-free last 2 rounds, former CU golfer Jeremy Paul notches first Korn Ferry Tour victory; former Air Force player Kyle Westmoreland matches his best KFT finish
By Gary Baines – 1/17/2024
We’re only 17 days into 2024, but so far the new year has been very good to the Paul twins, former college golf standouts at the University of Colorado.
On Sunday, Yannik Paul was in contention for the title at the DP World Tour’s Dubai Invitational, where Tommy Fleetwood edged Rory McIlroy for the title. Despite a final-hole double bogey, Paul finished in eighth place. Paul has one DP World Tour win to his credit.
Then on Wednesday, his twin Jeremy Paul scored his first victory on the Korn Ferry Tour by prevailing in the season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. Paul’s previous best showing on the KFT was a third place at TPC Colorado in the 2022 Ascendant presented by Blue.
“It’s unbelievable,” Jeremy Paul said of his feeling following Wednesday’s victory. “It was just starting to kick in when I called my family. You know, so much hard work (goes into this). At some point everybody has doubts and stuff, so it’s nice to start the season off like this with a win.
“I’m super happy that I was able to pull it off. It’s never easy to play with a lead. … I’m just super thrilled right now with all the work that I’ve put in for so many years and all the people who believed in me along the way that I can give back a little bit with this win.”
(Photo: @KornFerryTour on X)
The Pauls, born on March 5, 1994 in Frankfurt, Germany, have long had a dream of playing together on the PGA Tour. And they’re now making significant progress toward that goal as the top season-long performers on both the Korn Ferry (30) and DP World (10) Tours earn PGA Tour cards.
After visiting his family in Germany around Christmastime, Jeremy Paul returned to Arizona and played considerably with Yannik before the latter departed for the DP World’s Middle East swing. As it turned out, practicing together reinforced to Jeremy that he was on the right track with his game.
“He always told me my game is in a really good spot and I should just keep doing what I’m doing,” Jeremy said, referring to Yannik. “We’re trying to help each other, you know.
“I knew my brother was doing good and our games are very similar, so I knew that if he was able to have the success that he’s having in Europe, there’s no reason why I can’t have success over here as well. That almost calmed me down a little bit. I knew sometimes you’ve got to keep believing and sometimes the route’s a little longer, but with him playing so well and us being able to practice together all the time, that really helped me because I feel like my game’s there. (I thought), Now I’ve just got to stay patient and wait when it’s my time.’”
On Wednesday, Jeremy Paul birdied his first three holes and held the outright lead for much of the final day. The 29-year-old played his final 36 holes bogey-free. Overall, he went 70-67-67-67 to finish with a 17-under-par total in often-windy conditions, which was good for a one-shot victory over American Kevin Roy, who birdied the last three holes for a 68.
KFT win No. 1 — worth $180,000 — came in Paul’s 64th start on the circuit. Wednesday marked his fifth top-10 Korn Ferry showing.
The top 30 finishers on the Korn Ferry Tour points list after the Tour Championship in early October will earn 2025 PGA Tour cards. Locally speaking regarding KFT schedule, the 2024 Ascendant at TPC Colorado in Berthoud will be held July 11-14.
This win “gives me a lot of confidence going forward,” Paul said. “It’s obviously a long season, so it’s always great to start with a win. Being my first one on this tour, it feels extra special.
“Out here the points are so top-heavy that I feel if you want to get a PGA Tour card, you really have to get inside the top three at the events to collect a lot of points. So a win sets you up really well to obviously fulfill a dream of mine to become a PGA Tour member at the end of the season.”
Meanwhile, Paul wasn’t the only player with major Colorado ties to have a strong showing in the Korn Ferry Tour opener. Former Air Force Academy golfer Kyle Westmoreland, who played on the PGA Tour last season, placed fifth on Wednesday in the Bahamas. That matches his best performance on the KFT as he also placed fifth last June at the UNC Health Championship.
This week, Westmoreland carded scores of 71-67-70-68 to check in at 12 under par, five back of Paul.
For all the scores from the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, 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 ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com