Making the Korn Ferry Tour is an incredible accomplishment in itself. It’s the stepping stone to the ultimate level of golf. For Little Silver’s Chris Gotterup and Middletown’s Ryan McCormick, the two Shore Conference products were able to take that step and earn PGA Tour cards for the 2024 season along with Short Hills native Max Greyserman who played his high school golf at Peddie.
The Korn Ferry Tour Championship was the season ending event where the top 30 in overall points accumulated throughout the year would earn full time status on the PGA Tour. Gotterup finished in a tie for 20th shooting -2 under par to finish 23rd in the overall standings. McCormick began the final weekend in 22nd overall and shot +3 over par to slide down to 27th, still good enough to secure his card in 2024.
The Two River Times spoke to both new members of the PGA Tour when the Korn Ferry Tour stopped in Jackson five weeks ago. Both golfers finished -8 under par at the Magnit Championship at Metedeconk National Golf Club. At the time, Gotterup was 35th on the points list with McCormick in 20th.
“It’s a grind. Every week someone is shooting some ridiculous number,” Gotterup said. “I’m just trying to eliminate as many bogeys as possible and keep grinding it out.”
Gotterup did just that as he finished in a tie for 5th at the Simmons Bank Open in Tennessee at the start of the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs to vault from 33rd to 24th in overall points. He was able to stay steady in the final two events to stay out of danger of dropping below the 30th spot. In his final round at the Korn Ferry Tour championship, Gotterup double bogeyed the 17th hole which briefly put him in the 26th slot but he solidified his future by sinking a birdie putt on 18 and got the chance to embrace his family off the green in an emotional moment.
Gotterup who shined at CBA and went on to four stellar years at Rutgers and a fifth year at Oklahoma that saw him win national college golfer of the year got his tour card in just one year. He’s considered a potential superstar on the PGA Tour with long drives and a great touch around the green. His college accomplishments gave him a taste of the PGA Tour in 2022 where he won over $500,000 in prize money highlighted by a top five finish at the John Deere Classic. Now he will get the opportunity to tee it up with the world’s best throughout the 2024 calendar.
“This is what I’m grinding for the chance to showcase my stuff on the best level.” Gotterup said.
“I had a taste of it which makes it even more meaningful for me.”
McCormick’s path is very different. A 2012 graduate of Mater Dei Prep, Ryan went on to win a Big East Championship at St. John’s University. He started his pro golf career on the Canadian PGA Tour and the Asian Tour before earning full-time status on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020. In 2022, he was one weekend away from reaching PGA Tour status before he slid to 28th overall. This year, PGA expanded Korn Ferry graduates from 25 to 30. At one point during Sunday’s final round he double bogeyed 18 (his 9th hole) followed by a bogey at No. 1 which had him perilously close to falling out of the top 30 until he settled down and shot the final eight holes in -1 under par to lock in his spot.
“It’s definitely been a challenge the last couple of years ending the way that it has,” McCormick said. “That’s why we all play out here. That’s why I work so hard out here to get that opportunity.”
McCormick has played in two PGA Tour events in his career missing the cut in both. He’ll now get his opportunity to take a huge step in his pro career. As he struggled with the mounting expenses of playing professional golf for years, his solid play over the last two years has upped his career earnings to over $700,000. He is also one of the last athletes from Mater Dei Prep that is still competing and representing the now defunct school.
“It holds a special place in my heart,” McCormick said. “It’s probably the best four years of my schooling and athletic life. A lot of great memories there. I’m happy to keep the Mater Dei name alive.”
The pressure of playing for a year’s worth of potential earnings makes the Korn Ferry Tour championship one of the biggest pressure cookers in all of sports. Gotterup and McCormick survived the gauntlet and are now PGA Tour pros. Passionate golf fans in our area will no doubt enjoy watching the leaderboard every weekend from their favorite events to see where they land in their first full year on tour.
Watch our JSZ-TV feature on the newest PGA Tour members!