Justin Warren – file photo courtesy of Anthony Powter Master of the Amateurs
New South Wales golfer, Justin Warren, and West Australian Jason Scrivener are the only Australasians to have successfully negotiated their way through Stage Two qualifying for the Korn Ferry Tour and in finishing 8th at their respective venues in California and Florida they will graduate to the Final Stage beginning on November 4th in Georgia to determine if he will earn the right to play the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022.
Warren was one of some dozen or so Australasians at five venues across the USA from which the leading 19 of 70 or so players at each venue would their way to the Final Stage, further highlighting the demands of just getting to the Korn Ferry Tour which is in turn the feeder tour for the 2023 PGA Tour.
“I can’t describe the feeling when I walked off 18 and pulled out my phone to check the leaderboard and saw that -10 was safe,” a relieved Warren told David Tease of Golf NSW
“I don’t think there are words to describe the roller coaster of emotions that q school provides especially when you’re around the number.”
Warren, from Picton in southwest Sydney, turned professional in mid-2019 after an amateur career which included time in the US at the South Mountain Community College in Arizona before switching to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2017.
Warren closed his final season in Little Rock taking his place as one of the top golfers in program history. He finished the 2018-19 season with a 71.41 scoring average – the lowest ever by a Trojan and ranking fourth in the Sun Belt Conference.
Warren returned to Australia in mid-2019 and took advantage of the status he had secured on the PGA Tour of Australasia while still an amateur late in 2018, so the demands of tour qualifying were not new to him this week.
Highlighting the progress his game had made while in the collegiate system in the USA, Warren produced several top tens in PGA Tour of Australasian Tour events in the last eighteen months including a runner-up finish at the Moonah links event earlier this year.
A member of the Australian Golf Club and coached there by highly regarded Gary Barter, the 26-year-old still has a big task in two weeks time where those successful this week will be joined by unsuccessful players from the 2021 PGA and Korn Ferry Tours as they attempt to gain full access to the Korn Ferry Tour. He continues to impress in everything he does however and he might yet prove to be a real ‘Smokey’ amongst Australia’s emerging players.
Scrivener has, of course, built a successful career in Europe over the last five years where he has recorded eight top five finishes including a runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
Less than 48 hours before the start of this week’s qualifying in Plantation in California, Jason had made all four rounds at the Andalucia Masters in Spain making his effort all the more impressive.
Scrivener’s only victory as a professional came when winning the 2017 NSW Open but he has built an impressive level of consistency in Europe and appears ready to take his game to the PGA Tour if he is able to graduate through the Korn Ferry Tour next season while no doubt keeping his European Tour status if possible.
Scrivener led after the opening round at his venue with a round of 65 on Tuesday which, given he had travelled from his tie for 58th in Spain on Sunday, set up the chance to progress to the final stage.
Earlier this year the South African born but Perth raised Scrivener crept inside the top 100 in the world and currently sits in 114th in the world ranking. He is also in 15th position on the Race to Dubai so he has already established a successful professional career with no doubt a lot more to come for the 32 year old.
Jason Scrivener – file photo
Others amongst the large Australasian contingent did not fare so well with John Lyras, Brett Coletta, Steve Allan, Ryan Ruffels, James Nitties, Mathew Goggin, Grant Booth, Travis Smyth and New Zealanders Denzel Ieremia failing to graduate to the final stage.