Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga and USC finished fourth on the Korn Ferry Tour points list and is one of seven players with California connections who earned their PGA Tour cards for next season by doing so.
The 28-year-old Hoey (pictured) won the Visit Knoxville Open on the Korn Ferry circuit this season for his second professional victory among seven top-10 finishes, and also tied for second in the Advent Health Championship in addition to tying for third in the Astara Chile Classic and the Veritex Bank Championship, where he closed with a 63.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Hoey, who also won the 2017 Freedom 55 Financial Championship on PGA Tour Canada. “This is what we all work for. And I’m really enjoying it. I’m really happy to be out here and to have a chance to play on the PGA Tour. I’m just really excited.
“I’m just ecstatic. There was a lot of hard work. Everyone works hard. And I have battled through things for myself, and I’m just really happy to get it done. And I never thought the day would come, but a lot of people told me it would.
“It’s just amazing to be going to the PGA Tour next season.”
Jake Knapp of Costa Mesa and UCLA didn’t win a tournament this season, but finished 13th on the Korn Ferry Tour points list by recording 11 results in the top 10 and 15 in the top 25, including fifth in the Nationwide Children’s Championship, the Pinnacle Bank Championship and the Lecom Suncoast Classic.
Norman Xiong of San Diego, who played college golf at Oregon, finished 16th on the points list after claiming his second victory on the circuit in the 2023 Nationwide Children’s Hospital and also winning the 2022 Wichita Open Benefitting KU Wichita Pediatrics Championship.
Nicolas Lindheim of Mission Viejo, who won the 2023 Ascendant for his third career victory on the Korn Ferry Tour, came in 17th in the final standings with five top-10 results, including third in the Compliance Solutions Championship in addition to his victory.
Joe Highsmith of Pepperdine, who grew up in Lakewood, Wash., wound up 18th on the Korn Ferry Tour points list after finishing in the top 10 four times, including a tie for second in the Nationwide Children’s Championship, a tie for third in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship and a tie for fourth in the Panama Championship.
Tom Whitney of South Lake Tahoe and La Jolla, who played golf at the U.S. Air Force Academy, finished 21st in the point standings after recording six top-five finishes this season, including a tie for second in the Club Car Championship, a tie for third in the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic and solo third in the Memorial Health Championship.
Kevin Daugherty of Murrieta, where he grew up playing golf with Rickie Fowler of the PGA Tour and before playing college golf at Oklahoma State, wound up 22nd in the Korn Ferry Tour standings by placing in the top 10 on five occasions, including second in the Astara Golf Championship and a tie for third in the Utah Golf Championship.
Ben Kohles of Dallas finished atop the Korn Ferry Tour standings with eight top-10 finishes this season, including victories in the Astara Chile Championship in a playoff and the Hometown Lenders Championship in another playoff.
Paul Barjon of France captured the Korn Ferry Tour Championship by three strokes on Sunday and wound up eighth in the final standings to earn his PGA Tour card for next season.
For the final 2023 Korn Ferry Tour points list, visit www.pgatour.com/korn-ferry-tour/pointslist
Gabriela Ruffels of Australia and USC captured the Epson Tour’s Race for the Card and led 10 players on the circuit who earned their LPGA Tour cards for next season.
The 23-year-old Ruffels was selected the Epson Tour’s 2023 Player of the Year after winning the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic, the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes and the Four Winds Invitational, in addition to posting three other finishes in the top 10 this season.
Ruffels led the Epson Tour money list, which determines which 10 players earn their PGA Tour cards, with $159, 926.
“I’m so excited to officially say that I will be on the LPGA Tour next year,” said Ruffels, who became the first Australian to capture the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in 2019. “It has been my goal since I turned pro at the start of 2021, and I’m so proud to have earned it through the Epson Tour.
Ruffels also won 21 International Tennis Federation junior doubles events in Europe before deciding to concentrate on golf.
Natasha Andrea Oon, 22, of Malaysia and San Jose State, the Epson Tour’s 2023 Rookie of the Year, finished second on the money list with $149,670 after winning the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout among seven finishes in the top 10.
“It’s so surreal, but it’s sunken in for sure,” said Oon, who was the 2021-22 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and was selected winner of the 2022 Juli Inkster Award as a senior at San Jose State.
Jenny Coleman, 31, of Rolling Hills Estates, who played college golf at Colorado, wound up seventh in the Race for the Card with $106,137 after claiming her first career Epson Tour victory at the 2023 IOA Golf Classic presented by LPT Realty and had three additional top-10 results this season.
Coleman is returning to the LPGA Tour after having full membership on the circuit in 2017 and partial membership in three other seasons.
“I’m so excited to have done it, and it’s there and I will be ready to go after it next season,” said Coleman, who has three career top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour, including solo third in the 2021 LPGA Drive On Championship.
The others who earned their 2024 LPGA Tour cards on the Epson Tour include Austin Kim of St. Augustine, Fla., and Vanderbilt; Jiwon Jeon of South Korea and Alabama; Minji Kang of South Korea and Arizona State; Agathe Laisne of France and Texas; Roberta Liti of Italy and Arizona State; Isabella Fierro of Mexico and Oklahoma State, and Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, and Alabama.
For complete information about the 10 players who earned their 2024 LPGA Tour card, visit www.epsontour.com/news/2023/meet-the-2023-epson-tour-graduates