There will be no Irish representation in the Final Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School as all three of Paul McBride, Tom McKibbin and Conor Purcell failed to progress from their Second Stage qualifiers. McKibbin came closest, although he still finished four shots off the top-20 cut mark in Dothan, Alabama, while Purcell was seven shots off the required six-under score needed to progress at the same event.
In Florida, McBride was always a long shot to make it through after struggling in rounds two and three and, although he managed to pull himself slightly up the leaderboard on day four, he finished a long way off the mark, too. It ends a dismal week for the Irish players and all three will now have to go back to the drawing board ahead of next season and assess their playing options.
McKibbin will take the most confidence having closed with a one-under 71 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, his third consecutive round of that score, but he will be frustrated he could not kick on a little more and put himself in contention. Having breezed through the First Stage qualifier, he found the going a bit tougher in Dothan as he couldn’t snap a run of one-under-par rounds and ended his tournament with a round consisting of three birdies and two bogeys, which left him tied-40th for his efforts.
Indeed, what will perhaps hurt him most is the realisation that if he had shaved one stroke off each round then he would have made it through, however the 18-year-old is still early in his career and will likely head back to Europe next year to work his way through the minor Tours. Purcell, meanwhile, will rue a third round 75 that took him out of serious contention, with his level-par 72 in his final round – featuring just two birdies and two bogeys – only good enough to leave him one-over for the week, in a share of 49th.
Notable names making it through to the Final Stage from Alabama, where Chandler Phillips was the winner at 17-under, include 2019 US Amateur champion Andy Ogletree and runner-up John Augenstein, as well as Chase Parker. As for McBride, having started the day 17 shots off the pace, it was always going to need something spectacular from the Dubliner to make it through and, realistically, he was only going to be playing for pride at Plantation Preserve.
But it was a final day where the Dubliner mixed some excellent golf with plenty of errors, carding four birdies alongside a bogey, two double-bogeys and a triple-bogey in a four-over 75 to close that left him 72nd at 13-over for the week. Progressing from Plantation, along with winner Luis Gagne who finished at 17-under, include Jason Scrivener, Marcelo Rozo, Steve Marino and Scotland’s Ryan Lumsden.