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Kevin Dougherty unleashing his potential early in 2023

3 Min Read


Veteran Korn Ferry Tour pro stands No. 6 on season-long standings as he eyes first TOUR card

    By Justin Evans, PGATOUR.COM

    The goal of every Korn Ferry Tour pro is straightforward: earning one of the 30 available PGA TOUR cards via the season-long standings. It’s easier said than done. Every season comes with ups and downs, and it can be a streak of newfound success that catapults a pro to the next level.

    Kevin Dougherty, currently No. 6 on the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Points List, intends to cultivate that streak for the entire season.

    In his last tournament, the Astara Golf Championship presented by Mastercard, Dougherty carded 63-68-72-68 for a second-place finish at 12-under 271. After assuming the 36-hole lead, the Oklahoma State product rebounded from an uneven Saturday with a steady Sunday, culminating with an eagle on the 72nd hole.

    With the scintillating finish in Bogota, Dougherty improved 29 spots from No. 35 to No. 6 on the season-long standings. The wily veteran – he has played the Korn Ferry Tour full-time since 2018 – credits improved ball-striking for his recent uptick, as he pursues sustained success and his first PGA TOUR card.

    “My ball-striking the last two weeks, Panama and here, has just been kind of, ‘Wherever we're looking is where we hit it.’ Then definitely made some putts the first two days, which is something I worked on … between Panama and here,” said Dougherty in Bogota. "And Martin Flores helped me out a little bit. It's paying off."

    It marks Dougherty’s fourth runner-up finish in 114 career Korn Ferry Tour starts. He has now recorded a top-three finish in each of his five seasons as a Korn Ferry Tour member.

    “I’ve really been focused on each shot and locking in on my routine instead of having a mindset based solely on the outcomes each week,” said Dougherty. “I stuck with that in the first four events, and it’s been working so I’m going to try to keep that going.”

    Dougherty turned pro in 2014 out of Oklahoma State University, then played the 2015 season on PGA TOUR Canada and competed on various mini-tours prior to earning a Korn Ferry Tour schedule via 2017 Q-School. At the time, the top 45 and ties at Final Stage of Q-School earned guaranteed starts to begin the following season. Dougherty closed birdie-birdie for a T42 finish, cementing guaranteed starts on the number.

    He has maintained full status ever since, with four consecutive finishes inside the top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List: No. 26 in 2018, No. 33 in 2019, No. 74 in 2020-21, No. 42 in 2022. (At the time, the top 25 on the Regular Season Points List earned TOUR cards. Moving forward, top-30 is the benchmark.)

    Now he aims to take the next step and earn his spot against the world’s best.

    “I feel good about where I’m at right now and it makes it less stressful than if I missed four cuts to start the season,” said Dougherty. “But at the same time, you can never get comfortable out here because the talent level out here seems to only increase each season.”

    Dougherty will return to Korn Ferry Tour action at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club later this month, eyeing a continued ascent in the season-long standings. If all goes to plan, he’ll pose for photos at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance in October with the circuit’s ultimate prize – a PGA TOUR card.

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