Cheyenne native Josh Creel, who started his college golf career at CU, advances to final stage of PGA Tour Q-school; several other locals will have their shots starting later this month
By Gary Baines – 11/17/2023
There are good reasons the second stage of PGA Tour/Korn Ferry Tour Q-school is known as one of the most stressful tournaments in professional golf.
After all, competitors who successfully negotiate stage 2 and advance to the Q-school finals are guaranteed at least conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Americas. But those who fail to advance to the finals — and don’t have status based on previous accomplishments — will be left without PGA Tour or KFT spots in 2024. In other worlds, many will be back in pro golf’s minor leagues — on mini tours and/or playing in state and regional opens.
Adding even more gravitas to the Q-school process this year is that — for the first time in more than a decade — the top five finishers and ties in the Q-school finals will receive 2024 PGA Tour cards.
With that as background, three second-stage of Q-school tournaments concluded on Friday. And one player with significant local ties — Josh Creel, who grew up in Cheyenne, won a FCWT junior tournament at The Ridge at Castle Pines North and started his college golf career at the University of Colorado before transferring to Central Oklahoma — will advance to the final stage.
Creel, a 33-year-old veteran of 23 PGA Tour events and 95 tournaments on the Korn Ferry Tour (with one KFT win), made it on the number at a second-stage tournament in Savannah, Ga. At a site where the top 15 finishers and ties advanced, Creel tied for 12th out of 78 players. He went 70-70-68-72 for an 8-under-par total, which left him seven strokes behind medalist Bryson Nimmer of Okatie, S.C. For the week, Creel made 18 birdies, eight bogeys and a double bogey.
Next up for Creel, a former NCAA Division II individual champ who now lives Edmond, Okla., is the final stage of Q-school, set for TPC Sawgrass and Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Dec. 14-17. There, besides the top five finishers and ties earning PGA Tour cards, the next 40 and ties will land some exempt status on the Korn Ferry Tour. The next 20 and ties will be exempt for the Latin America Swing of the 2024 PGA Tour Americas season, while also earning conditional Korn Ferry Tour status. All the rest of the final-stage finishers will have conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Americas.
Among those failing to advance to the final stage on Friday were former PGA Tour player Jim Knous of Littleton (36th in Savannah), 2023 Sinclair Rocky Mountain Open champion Jackson Solem of Longmont (39th place in Dothan, Ala.) and AJ Ott of Fort Collins (64th in Dothan).
Two more sites will host second stage Q-school events Nov. 28-Dec. 1, and several players with strong Colorado ties are involved: Davis Bryant of Aurora, Chris Korte of Littleton, former Air Force Academy golfer Kyle Westmoreland and former Colorado School of Mines player George Markham (all playing at Valencia, Calif.). Despite a 66 on Friday, Westmoreland concluded his rookie season on the PGA Tour with a missed cut at the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga. He lost his Tour card as he ended up 194th in the season-long FedExCup points standings.
SECOND STAGE OF PGA TOUR Q-SCHOOL PRESENTED BY KORN FERRY
Nov. 14-17 in Savannah, Ga. (Top 15 and Ties Advance to Final Stage)
Advances to Final Stage
12. Former CU golfer Josh Creel, Cheyenne, Wyo., native 70-70-68-72—280
Failed to Advance
36. Jim Knous, Littleton 71-75-69-70—285
Nov. 14-17 in Dothan, Ala. (Top 15 and Ties Advance to Final Stage)
Failed to Advance
39. Jackson Solem, Longmont 72-74-70-72—288
64. AJ Ott, Fort Collins 76-75-71-73–295
Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in Valencia, Calif.
Davis Bryant, Aurora
Chris Korte, Littleton
Former Air Force Academy golfer Kyle Westmoreland
Former Colorado School of Mines golfer George Markham
For all the results from Q-school, 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