It may have taken him a little longer than some of his standout classmates, but Viktor Hovland has officially secured a PGA Tour card for the 2019-20 season.
The former U.S. Amateur champ has been a frequent contender since turning pro in June, but he could only watch as fellow nascent pros Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa won tournaments this summer to quickly secure status. Hovland came close, finishing fourth at the regular season-ending Wyndham Championship, but he didn't earn enough non-member FedExCup points to clinch membership for next season.
Instead, Hovland went to the three-event Korn Ferry Finals, where he tied for 11th last week and removed all doubt this week with a T-2 finish behind Matthew NeSmith at the Albertsons Boise Open. While Hovland couldn't convert a 54-hole lead for his first win as a pro, the result moved him up to third in the Finals points list and ensured that he'll receive one of 25 PGA Tour cards that will be handed out at next week's finale in Evansville, Indiana.
While Wolff and Morikawa are fully exempt via their respective wins, Hovland's Tour card will likely make him subject to periodic reshuffles next season that will determine which events he can enter. It also means that, while his status is now secure, every birdie he makes next week in Indiana could help improve his priority ranking for the fall season that kicks off in three weeks at The Greenbrier.
Should Hovland win the three-event points race, where NeSmith now holds the advantage, he would become fully exempt and earn a spot in The Players in March.
NeSmith's victory means he's heading to the PGA Tour next year, as is former Tour member Brandon Hagy who tied for second alongside Hovland. Anirban Lahiri, who played on the Presidents Cup two years ago, has also retained his PGA Tour card after consecutive top-10 finishes.
Among those who have work to do to crack the top 25 in points and earn a PGA Tour card at the last Finals event are veterans Johnson Wagner (T-26), Harris English (T-26), Billy Hurley III (30th), Cody Gribble (47th), Peter Uihlein (T-53), Ollie Schniederjans (58th), Stewart Cink (T-82), Erik Compton (T-82) and Ben Crane (T-82).