Dayton Valley Golf Course offers chance at Korn Ferry Tour | NevadaAppeal.com

Dayton Valley Golf Course offers chance at Korn Ferry Tour

Carter Eckl
ceckl@nevadaappeal.com

MOVING ON

1. Fredrik Nilehn, (Lubbock, Texas) -16-under 272; 2. Derek Bayley, (Rathdrum, Idaho) -14-under 274; 3. Robert Bell, (Pierz, Minnesota) -13-under 275; 4. Skyler Finnell, (Carmel, California) -9-under 279; t5. Patrick Grimes, (Menlo Park, California) -8-under 280; t5. Jason Thresher, (West Suffield, Conneticut) -8-under 280; t5. Toni Hakula, (Austin, Texas) -8-under 280; t8. Michael Weaver, (Fresno, California) -7-under 281; t8. Richie Schembechler, (Memphis, Tennessee) -7-under 281; t8. Connor Blick, (Alamo, California) -7-under 281; t8. Rafael Becker, (Dallas, Texas) -7-under 281; t12. Max Marsico, (Las Vegas, Nevada) -6-under 282; t12. Gregor Main, (Danville, California) -6-under 282; 14. Edward Olson, (Aptos, California) -5-under 283; t15. Raul Pereda, (St. Augustine, Florida) -4-under 284; t15. Neil Johnson, (River Falls, Wisconsin) -4-under 284; t17. Mitchell Meissner, (San Antonio, Texas) -3-under 285; t17. Kaz Hoffman, (San Rafael, California) -3-under 285; t17. Ryan Cole, (Mount Airy, Maryland) -3-under 285; t17. Trent Virden, (Reno, Nevada) -3-under 285; t17. Ben Polland, (Jacksonville, Florida) -3-under 285.

The First Stage Korn Ferry Tour qualifying tournament held at Dayton Valley Golf Course this past week is one of 12 chances in 2019 for golfers from all over the world to advance one step closer to making it to the PGA Tour.

In the field at Dayton were players that hailed from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France and nearly every corner of the United States.

The tournament itself isn’t a social call.

Golfers have one chance to breakthrough the first round of qualifying, if not players will head back to a national tour of their choosing in Asia, Europe, Canada or Latin America.

The top 20 golfers – including ties – advance to the second round of Korn Ferry Tour qualifying where they will have to compete in one of five tournaments to move on to the final stage of qualifying in the middle of December.

The five second stage tournaments run from Oct. 29 through Nov. 8 with four of the five events running from Nov. 5 to Nov. 8.

Week-long grind

Some golfers are able to enter the clubhouse with a smile, but plenty are feeling the pressure of a $5,000-plus entry fee, knowing it could be the only chance they have all year to make the advance.

Players choose Dayton – which is currently the longest running Q-school qualifying tournament in the nation at 25 years this season – and some have returned to the course that they think best suits their play style or is the most fair course to challenge their way up the ranks.

“I think that it’s usually easier to get through a course with higher scores,” said Kyle Slattery, who is a year removed from breaking the school scoring record at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. “It’s a great layout. A lot of demanding shots, but it’s very fair.”

Slattery, who was playing in his first Q-school qualifying tournament, said it was his first time playing in Northern Nevada, but he had enjoyed the course.

Charlie Hillier, an amateur from Te Puke, New Zealand, came to Dayton after finishing up his college career at the University of Kansas.

Hillier encompassed the true grind of the qualifying circuit, coming to Dayton after playing in the Asian-Pacific Amateur Championship in Shanghai, China at the end of September.

After finishing tied for 50th in Shanghai, Hillier hopped on a plane and joined a collegiate teammate in Dayton.

“I had four days to kind of get ready for here,” said Hillier after noting he had flown approximately 30 hours round trip the weekend prior to the tournament.

Cold weather and wind played a factor in every round at the tournament this week and it forced Hillier to adapt to essentially a new course each day.

“It’s been a grind out there. It’s cold,” said Hillier. “(The wind) coming from all directions all three rounds, so it’s pretty interesting to see how the course is played. The first and second round was two completely different courses.”

However, for Reno native Trent Virden coming back to Q-school at Dayton for the third time isn’t a lesson in adjusting to a new course.

“It’s nice being able to sleep in my own bed. I get a little extra sleep in time,” said Virden. “It’s awesome. Having this in my backyard is definitely an advantage.”

Virden was one stroke off of a qualifying mark last year at Dayton and as of Thursday evening sat at 3-under par through three rounds, tying him for 12th.

Having experienced the course and the pressure of the tournament before, Virden said he was confident heading into his final round.

“I know I can shoot a score out here and it’s not going to take anything deep to get through,” said Virden Thursday afternoon after his third round. “I just got to play solid.”

Former Wolf Pack golfer Kaleb Gorbahn, who shot 8-under par at last year’s tournament in Dayton, sat tied for 57th after three rounds with a score of 15-over 231. As of Thursday night, the qualifying score was 1-under 215.

For final qualifying results from Dayton see http://www.nevadaappeal.com/sports